• Kosher and Halal food tips
As an event planner, you need to be understanding of your attendee’s dietary needs. As participants become more diverse, so will the catering menu for your events. While the terms kosher and halal are almost similar, they come from two different entities which have differences in their meaning and spirit.
Kosher is a Hebrew word meaning ‘proper or fit.’ By Jewish law, kosher foods are divided into three categories: meat, dairy, and pareve (anything not considered meat or dairy). Kosher meat must come from an animal that chews its cud and has split hooves (cows, sheep, and goats are kosher).
All foods derived from, or containing, milk are classified as dairy, including milk, butter, yogurt, and all cheese – hard, soft, and cream. Even a trace amount of dairy can cause a food to be considered dairy.
Dairy products must meet the following criteria in order to be certified kosher:
• They must come from a kosher animal.
• All ingredients must be kosher and free of meat derivatives. (Conventional rennet, gelatin, etc., are of animal origin and may not be used in kosher dairy.)
• They must be produced, processed, and packaged on kosher equipment.
Halal is Arabic for “permissible or allowed.” Islamic law defines halal foods as food that is:
• Free from any component which Muslims are prohibited from consuming according to Islamic law (Shariah).
• Processed, made, produced, manufactured and/or stored using utensils, equipment, and machinery which have been cleansed according to Islamic law.
To make meat halal, the animal has to be slaughtered in a ritual way, known as Zibah or Zabihah, which requires animals to be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter, along with other ritual requirements.
In general, every food is considered halal unless it is specifically prohibited by the Qur’an of the Hadith. Some foods and drinks which are not halal for Muslims to consume include alcohol, pork, and pork byproducts.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to kosher and halal foods. Work closely with your catering team for all of your dietary needs to make sure your attendees, their health, and their beliefs, are being treated with the utmost respect. Have you served a kosher or halal meal at an event? Let us know by sharing in the comments below.