- Meat and Poultry
- Bread and Rolls
- Fruit and Vegetables
- Produce of Israel
- Wine and Grape Products
- Laws of Meat and Milk
- Contamination of Utensils
Meat and Poultry
For meat / poultry to be kosher it must fulfil the following conditions:
- It must come from a permitted species
- The animal must be slaughtered according to Jewish law
- The slaughtered animal must be expertly checked to ensure that it had no disqualifying factors which would render it unfit for kosher use (for example, animals that had a life-threatening injury or illness are unfit to be eaten)
- The meat must be treibered / porged of forbidden veins and fats
- The blood must be removed
Removing the blood
In Leviticus (17: 10 - 14) and Deuteronomy, (12:16, 23 - 25) the Torah prohibits the eating of blood because it is the life force of an animal / poultry. After the meat has been treibered it is then soaked in a bath in room-temperature water for a half hour. The soaked meat is then placed on special salting tables where it is salted with kosher (coarse) salt on both sides for one hour. The salt draws out the blood. These tables are designed to allow the blood to drain off properly. After the meat has been salted for an hour it is then rinsed well three times.
Kosher slaughtered meat has to be kashered within 72 hours of slaughtering.
Because the liver contains a large amount of blood, the kashering cannot be done in the normal method described above. It is kashered by grilling the liver over an open fire that draws out the blood until the liver is dry on both sides and is fit to be eaten.
All the equipment e.g. wire-grater, bowls, knives and utensils etc. must be kept for the purpose of kashering liver ONLY. A separate braai grid for your existing braai should be used for the kashering of liver.
Method of kashering liver:
- The liver must be rinsed thoroughly.
- Slits in the shape of a cross must be made in the liver.
- Place the rinsed liver on the wire grid.
- Place the grid on the fire.
- Sprinkle salt (not too coarse, and not too thin) lightly over the liver.
- Braai until all parts are fit to be eaten and until the surface of the liver has become dry.
- The liver must be rinsed off thoroughly again.
- The liver is now ready to be eaten.
- All equipment that was used for the liver must be washed separately (NOT in a kosher sink).
Sealing Meat and Poultry
All meat and poultry products whether raw, cooked or processed must have a double sign with the appropriate Kosher SA sticker/tape/clip etc. before leaving the abattoir or butchery.
Mehadrin Commission and Mehadrin
All meat and chicken slaughtered under our certification is Mehadrin which means that it adheres to a very high level.
Mehadrin Commission is run as a separate entity under our supervision with only Lubavitch shochtim (ritual slaughterers) and bodkim (checkers)
Meat / Poultry Derivatives
Many foods and beverages may contain products or ingredients that have components in them from animal origin that would render the food and beverages non-kosher unless it has a reputable hechsher
The Torah in Leviticus (11: 1-8) and Deuteronomy (14: 3-5) tells us that a kosher animal must have two identifying signs. It must chew the cud and it must have cloven hooves. Only one of these two signs is insufficient and renders the animal not kosher. Cows, sheep, lamb, goats, veal, certain venison etc. are amongst the species of animals that are kosher.
The Torah lists 24 bird species which are not kosher, indicating that all the other bird species arekosher. However, the halacha is that we only eat birds that we know are kosher through an established tradition.
Shechita / Ritual slaughter
The shochet (ritual slaughterer) is a Rabbi who is specially trained in the laws of ritual slaughter as laid down by Torah.
There are two main important areas of study:
- Learning the anatomy of the animal and becoming au fait with diseases and other problems that may occur in an animal that would render it treif (non-kosher).
- The second area of study is to learn how to sharpen a Chalef (ritual slaughtering knife). This special slaughtering knife is approximately 40 centimetres (16 inches) long for larger animals and smaller for veal and poultry and is honed on sharpening stones to ensure that it exceeds razor sharpness. The shochet checks the sharpness of his Chalef by running a finger nail up and down the blade to make sure that there are no nicks or imperfections on the knife. Slaughtering with an imperfect knife would render the slaughtered animal non-kosher. As the Torah prohibits causing any pain to animals, the slaughtering has to be effected in such a way that death occurs instantaneously. The shochet cuts the neck of the animal with one swift forward and back motion severing the oesophagus, trachea and the two main blood vessels serving the brain.
Checking the slaughtered animal / bird
A slit is made in the animal lengthwise and the shochet inserts his hand to feel the lungs. The lungs are the most important area in the animal requiring careful examination, for any serious problem with the lungs would render the animal non-kosher. The shochet feels the lungs andthe lobes to see if there are any lesions or adhesions between the lungs and the insides of the animal that would indicate a problem. When the lungs are removed from the animal a visual 3 check is made of the lungs that are then inflated with air to ensure that there are no minute holes in the lungs, which would render them non-kosher. When the shochet is satisfied that there are no problems he pronounces the animal kosher and a special stamp is placed on both sides of the animal to identify it as kosher. The tongue, liver and any other offal that is required is also clearly and specifically marked as kosher.
After the bird has been slaughtered, the lungs and the tendons in the legs are checked to ensure they are healthy and to make sure that they are not severed or diseased.
Treibering / Porging
Only the forequarter of a kosher slaughtered animal is considered kosher. The hindquarters are sold to the non-kosher market. This is because the Torah forbids the Jewish people from eating the part of a kosher animal that contains the sciatic nerve. See Genesis 32:25-33 for a more detailed explanation.
Every kosher butchery under our certification requires a full time mashgiach(kosher supervisor) who ensures kosher compliance at the butchery. The forequarters of beef, veal and lamb are cut up into manageable size pieces. The mashgiach and his team, treiber (porge) the carcass by removing certain forbidden fats and veins
Only dairy products that come from a kosher animal are considered kosher. Special attention to be given to two important ingredients, cultures and rennets, used in the making of dairy products. Therefore, dairy products such as white cheese, yellow cheese, yoghurt etc. need to be manufactured and produced under supervision in order to be kosher and require a reputable hechsher
Many food and beverages may contain products or ingredients that have components of dairy in them which would render the food either non-kosher or dairy unless it has an reputable hechsher.
Chalav Yisrael refers to milk that was supervised by a mashgiach from the time of milking to packaging
Dairy products require that all the dairy ingredients must be produced from Chalav Yisrael milk
The Hebrew word for foods and beverages that are neutral - neither meat nor milk is Parev. Parev foods e.g. all fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs, etc. can be consumed with either meat or milk. Most baked goods and confectionery are produced as Parev (neutral) so that they can be eaten with either a meat or milk meal. After eating meat / poultry or products containing meat / poultry one has to wait six hours before one may eat dairy again. After eating dairy products one just has to rinse one's mouth and then one can eat meat / poultry products. However, after eating yellow cheese that has aged for a minimum of six months, one has to wait six hours before eating meat / poultry.
Eggs have to be cracked open and checked for blood spots as blood is not kosher. Each egg must be checked in a clear glass to make sure that there are no blood spots in the eggs.
Multiple unfertilised eggs (this includes all commercially available eggs in South Africa) may be checked at one time as long as they are in a large clear bowl and you are able to see them all clearly. If you see a blood spot, even in the yolk, remove it and the rest of the egg may be eaten.
Any number of unfertilised eggs may be boiled together.
When cooking potentially fertilised eggs (from a private farm or garden where a rooster is present), cook an uneven number - but more than 1 (e.g. 3, 5, 7) in one pot. This is so that if some eggs are found to contain blood, the pot need not be kashered provided that the majority was kosher.
Eggs cooked in a milk pot cannot be used for meat use and vice versa.
Liquid Eggs bearing a reputable hechsher do not have to be checked.
Wine and Grape Products
During Temple times, wine was often used by idolaters in their service of idol worship. Consequently our Sages stipulated that anything that comes from a grape whether it be alcoholic or non alcoholic, for colouring, flavouring etc. must be made under strict kosher supervision from the time of squeezing the grape. Therefore all wines, brandies, grape juices, soft drinks with grape flavouring or colouring, food and confectionery made with grape flavouring or colouring, must bear a reputable hechsher.
Grape Based Derivatives
There are many food and beverages that contain products or ingredients that have grape basedderivatives which would render them non-kosher.
Bread and Rolls
For further information on Bread and Rolls please click on one of the categories in the menu.
Flour is prone to infestation. Some of the insects that infest flour can be noticed as soon as the packet is opened, even before any of the flour has been sieved.
You may either find tiny brown insects in the folds at the top of the packet. These insects are tiny, brown creatures that are no more than 1mm long. Alternatively, you might find webbing and strands on the inner walls of the packet. This is the larva of one of the moths that infest flour.
In most cases, sifting is the only way to detect infestation.
Method of Sifting Flour
- Make sure the sieve (a 420 or less micron sieve) is in good condition. This means that:
- There is no damage (holes, tears, etc.).
- The mesh is not clogged. (It should be washed regularly and left out of use long enough to dry)
- The entire bag of flour must be sifted through the sieve.
- Make sure to sift until all the flour has passed through the sieve.
- Very carefully examine what remains in the sieve to try and detect signs of infestation.
- For brown flour only - Take whatever remains in the sieve and spread it finely over a white area (e.g. a large white plate). Carefully examine it looking out for any signs of infestation (e.g. weevils, webbing).
- If any sign of infestation is noticed, the entire bag cannot be used.
Storage of Flour
Before sifting, all flour should be stored in a cool and dry place.
- Flour must be used within 24 hours of sifting. If the 24 hours has lapsed, repeat the process before use
- Flour may be stored in a fridge for a period of up to 1 month after sifting without having to resift
- Flour may be stored indefinitely in a freezer without having to resift.
Taking Challah (separating the dough)
The Torah in Numbers (15:20-21) states that "The first portion of your kneading, you shall separate as a dough offering (challah)"
Challah is the small amount of dough that we separate and burn before baking any bread. In Temple times, this was baked and given to a Kohen (Priest) in the Temple as per the biblical commandment. Today, however, we burn the piece after it is separated and consecrated. The mitzvah of separating challah applies to every Jew, man or woman, however, this is one of the special mitzvahs entrusted to the Jewish woman
When making dough with a sufficient amount of flour (see below), we say a blessing on this mitzvah.
After the mixture is kneaded into a dough but before it is baked, a portion of dough is separated. The same applies for liquid dough.
If the amount of flour in the mixture is:
- Less than 1.250 kgs - do not take challah
- From 1.259 kgs to 1,670 kgs - take challah without a bracha
- From 1.670 kgs onwards - take challah with a bracha
The method for taking challah is as follows:
- Check if you have used the required quantity of dough to require a blessing.
- Dough is separated after the flour and liquid are well mixed together, while the dough is still whole, before it has been divided and shaped into loaves. If the dough has been kneaded in several batches, combine it all in a single bowl.
- Recite the blessing in Hebrew or English:
- בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱ‑לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַפְרִישׁ חַלָּה (מן העסה)
- Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to separate challah (from the dough).
- Separate a small piece of dough, approximately one ounce, and say: "This is challah."
- Burn the challah by wrapping it in a piece of silver foil and placing it in the broiler, or by any other method. (If burning it inside the oven, there should be no other food baking in the oven at the same time.) One may also wrap the dough and discard it.
Fruit and Vegetables
For further information on Fruit and Veg please click on one of the categories in the menu.
Ready Cut Fruit and Vegetables
Ready-cut fruit and vegetables may be bought from any reputable supplier, without kosher certification.When bought from Pick n Pay, Woolworths, Shoprite Checkers or Food Lovers Market, this includes "sharp" items such as onion and radish. When bought from suppliers other than those listed above, one should avoid "sharp" items. The above excludes leafy vegetables which require checking for infestation and crushed garlic (even without any additives), which requires kosher certification.
The Torah in Leviticus, (11:23,31) states that all insects and crawling creatures are not kosher (with the exception of certain locusts). Consequently many vegetables, fruit and other products that are infested with such insects, must be checked and the insects removed. The method of checking and removing insects from vegetables, fruit and other products differs according to each species.
Produce of Israel
Grains, fruits, and vegetables (and their extracts) that grow in the halachic boundaries of Eretz Yisrael (Israel) are subject to many extra kosher laws due to the kedusha (holiness) of the land. These include:
- The requirement to separate terumah (the Priestly tithe)
- The requirement to separate the various forms of ma'aser (tithes for the Levites, the poor, and the portion that was to be eaten in Jerusalem in Temple times)
- Shmita (produce of the Sabbatical year)
- A stricter form of Orla (produce of a tree within its first 3 years).
Processed foods from Israel with a reputable hechsher guarantees that all these halachic issues have been taken care of.
We are aware of a number of seasonal fruits that are being imported from Israel and require Terumah and Ma'aser be separated.
Method to separate Terumah and the various forms of Ma'aser:
- Place all of the food that needs to be tithed in one place
- Put a bit more than 1% of the food aside (if separating for more than one food species at one time, then you must put aside a bit more than 1% of each food species and place it next to the group from which it was separated). Then say this declaration (without a bracha):
- "I hereby declare the excess of the one percent portion that was set aside to be the Priestly tithe and note that it is located on the northern side." [If separating for more than one food species, then add: "Each species for its own kind."].
- "The one percent remaining here, together with nine equal portions at the upper side of this produce, is declared to be the first [Levite] tithe." [If separating for more than one food species, then add: "Each species for its own kind."].
- "The one percent that I have made to be part of the first tithe is hereby declared to be the terumah portion of the tithe."
- "If the tithe of the poor is required to be separated - the Ma'aser Ani is to be on its southern side." [If separating for more than one food species, then add "Each species for its own kind"].
- "If the second tithe is required to be separated - the Ma'aser Sheni is to be on its southern side [If separating for more than one food species, then add: "Each species for its own kind"].
- It and its extra fifth are hereby redeemed onto one Perutah that the director of "the Fund for the redemption of Ma'aser Sheni and Revai" has designated for the Johannesburg Beth Din, for the purpose of such redemption."
- "If the produce is Revai (fourth-year fruit), then it and its extra fifth are hereby redeemed onto one Perutah that the director of "the Fund for the redemption of Ma'aser Sheni and Revai" has designated for the Johannesburg Beth Din, for the purpose of such redemption."
- If you have difficulty reciting the above text, you can say this abbreviated version:
- "I hereby set aside all the T'rumot and Ma'asrot and redeem all Ma'aser Sheni and Revai according to the halachah, as is written in the text for members of 'The Fund for the Redemption of Ma'aser Sheni and Revai' per the Johannesburg Beth Din."
- Securely wrap up the separated produce and discard
- The remaining food is now permitted to be eaten.
*Please note that "Israeli" tomatoes are usually locally grown as are "English" cucumbers. Check the label to verify the place of origin.
The Torah states in Leviticus, (11: 9-12) and Deuteronomy, (14: 10,11) that kosher fish must have both fins and scales. There are four types of scales of which only two are kosher. The scales that are kosher are not embedded in the fish and can easily come off when rubbing one's fingernail along the skin of the fish. The scales that are kosher are called Ctenoid and Cycloid. Ganoid and Placoid scales are not kosher. Kosher fish are ready to be eaten and nothing specific has to be done to them. Similarly the blood of fish is permissible to be eaten. Fish is considered Parev
Kosher consumers may purchase kosher frozen fish species (even without a hechsher) from one of the large companies e.g. I&J, Sea Harvest, Atlantic, even without skin on, however, this would not be considered mehadrin. All processed fish e.g. fried fish, chopped herring, snoek salad, smoked fish etc. bearing a reputable hechsher on the packet may be consumed as kosher.
There are thousands of varieties of fish and it would be almost impossible to list them all. To assist the kosher consumer, we have listed the most popular species which are commonly found in South Africa.
Fresh and Frozen Fish
- Euthynnus Tuna
- Kingklip (see more detail below)
- Red Roman
- Seventy Four
- Skipjack Tuna
- Stock Fish
- Stump Nose
- Tongol Tuna
- Yellowfin Tuna
Smoked Fish - (Only with a reputable hechsher)
There are numerous foods and some beverages that contain products or ingredients that have non-kosher fish derivatives in them and would render the foods and beverages non-kosher.
Pas Yisrael refers to bread that was baked with specific Jewish involvement. This involvement is in one of three ways: 1. The bread is placed into the oven by a Jew 2. The oven is lit by a Jew, or 3. A Jew switches on the oven.
However, if a Jew was not involved in any of these steps in the baking of the bread, even if they prepared the dough this would not be considered Pas Yisrael.
Mezonot refers to the blessing made on foods such as biscuits, cakes, cupcakes and pies (which contain one of the five grains). Bread that is mezonot is made from dough that contains fruit juice and therefore (according to many halachic authorities), it is not considered "bread". Mezonot “bread” does not require wassing (ritual washing), the blessing recited is mezonot, and does not require the full bentching (grace after meals).
If the dough (including a liquid dough) is Mezonot, Challah is taken according to the measurements mentioned above, however, do not make a bracha even if the amount is more than 1.67 kgs.
Laws of Meat and Milk
The Torah in Exodus (23:19, 34:26) and Deuteronomy (14:21) prohibits us from mixing meat and milk with the following verse "do not cook a kid in its mother's milk". The Talmud explains that the reason for mentioning this verse three times is to tell us that there is:
- A prohibition of eating meat and milk together.
- A prohibition of cooking meat and milk together even if we don't eat it
- A prohibition of deriving any benefit from a meat and milk mixture and such a mixture must be discarded
Meat and Fish Mixtures
Jewish law prohibits the eating or cooking of meat and fish together, but they may be eaten one after the other by rinsing one's mouth between eating them and washing the vessels and utensils.
Contamination of Utensils
If one cooks non-kosher products or ingredients in a kosher vessel the vessel becomes non-kosher. If one cooks kosher products or ingredients in a non-kosher vessel, the food will become non-kosher. This principle applies to all areas of manufacturing and production of food and beverages.
Any vessels, utensils, equipment e.g. pipes, pumps, moulds, working surfaces, tanks, sinks etc. which were used for non-kosher products or ingredients would render them non-kosher and they could not be used for kosher production unless they were kashered (made kosher). See section on "Kashering"
As an example we are not permitted to mix meat and milk. Therefore, if a kosher vessel was used to cook dairy, the vessel itself becomes dairy and anything Parev (neutral) e.g. vegetables, fruit etc. cooked therein would now have the status of being dairy. One would be prohibited from eating such food together with meat.
There are many factories that produce both kosher and non-kosher in separate sections as well as kosher Dairy and kosher Parev (neutral) products. Due to this a kosher problems relating to steam arise. A factory may have one or more boilers which heat up water to produce steam and that steam is sent along pipes to heat up vessels containing products. If the vessel contains non-kosher products or kosher Dairy products the steam which then condensates into water and becomes non-kosher or kosher Dairy is returned to the boiler and re-heated back into steam and sent to the kosher section to heat up a kosher vessels, it would render the contents of the kosher vessel either non-kosher or kosher Dairy. If the factory produces kosher and non-kosher in separate sections or Parev (neutral) and dairy and there is condensation return to the boiler there are two possible solutions :
- Prevent any condensation return back to the boiler
- To place an agent, e.g. pine oil into the boiler that would render the water inedible but will not have any effect on the boiler or pipes.