Followers of Orthodox and conservative sects of Judaism eat a kosher diet, according to restrictions outlined in the Bible’s Old Testament. Practitioners of other religions and the non-religious may adopt variations of the kosher diet, depending on preferences, medical recommendations and experimentation with food. It is the job of to validate whether food meets the requirements outlined in the Old Testament. Much of the stipulations surround the preparation of meat and dairy, with some restrictions for the preparation and serving of wine.
In general, those who follow a kosher diet are unable to eat meat and dairy together at the same meal. Specific types of meat that come from animals, such as the pig, can not be consumed at all. Kosher restrictions regarding meat have to do with the animal source and whether the animal is “clean” or “unclean.” The kosher diet also restricts meat that comes from the camel, the hare and the hyrax. The diet permits the consumption of fish, but forbids the eating of birds that prey on other animals and bugs that crawl within the ground.
According to sources of kosher diet restrictions, eggs can be eaten under specific circumstances. The egg can not originate from an “unclean” animal and the egg cannot have blood in it. Some Jewish sects allow the eating of eggs as long as they remove the blood within the yolk. Likewise, some sects consider cheese to be acceptable while others will only consume cheese if it is not prepared with animal enzymes. Gelatin also presents a challenge, since it must come from non-animal sources. Substitutes for gelatin include food starch, pectin, vegetable gum and carrageenan.
While there are some variations to whether a food qualifies as kosher, many supermarkets and specialty grocers carry kosher food items. Of course, a food item doesn’t necessarily have to caryy the kosher label to qualify. Practitioners of Orthodox Judiasm are well aware of the stipulations regarding the diet and will prepare a variety of foods acccording to those stipulations. Kosher certification makes it easier to identify borderline items, such as dairy, meat, milk, eggs and foods that come from animal sources.