Monday, January 5, 2009
Kosher foods are foods that are permissible to Jews according to Jewish dietary law (kashrut). While halal and kosher food laws are similar in some ways, there are some important differences that we should make ourselves aware of so we can avoid trusting kosher when a food is not halal.
How is Cheese made kosher?
For a cheese to be kosher (kashrut), it must fit several criteria. Below we provide information about the guideliness for producing kosher cheese.
While many kosher cheeses use GM (Genetically Modified) or microbial rennet, animal rennet is considered to be neither meat nor dairy. Therefore, contrary to common knowledge, the use of animal rennet in cheesemaking does not go against the kashrut prohibition against eating meat and dairy together. [1, 2]
Some certification authorities allow rennet from animals that were not slaughtered according to kashrut to be used in cheesemaking. Others do not. If you avoid "normal" cheese because of doubts about how the animal was slaughtered, then this is an important factor for you to consider.
For any cheese to be kosher, whether or not it is made with GM, microbial or animal rennet, it must be "Jewish cheese" (gevinat Yisrael) – cheese produced by a Jew or by a Jewish owned company.
What varieties of Kosher cheese are there?
Kosher cheese can be found at every grocery store, but the variety of styles does vary. Cheeses that can be coagulated with acid such as vinegar are the most commonly available kosher cheeses and include national brands of mozzarella, ricotta and the Indian cheese paneer. Some supermarkets carry Monteray Jack, Havarti and other varieties of semi-soft kosher cheeses. These are normally found under a kosher brand name.
 Wikipedia: Kashruth : Vegetarianism. (Retrieved March 26, 2009) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashruth#Vegetarianism
 Gordimer, Rabbi A. "How is Cheese Made Kosher?" Reprinted by AskMoses.com from OUKosher.org. http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/555,2097191/How-is-cheese-made-kosher.html
 "Wikipedia: Kashruth : How Kashrut is viewed by contemporary Judaism. (Retrieved March 26, 2009) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashruth#How_kashrut_is_viewed_by_contemporary_Judaism