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Why some foods are condemned by the Jewish Law

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Judaism requires that food is kosher, meaning the food must meet the standards of kashrut, the Jewish laws about food. Food must be suitable and pure.10 Kosher does not restrict foods from any particular food group.

However, according to the Torah (Jewish law), the only types of meats that are acceptable are cattle and game that have cloven hooves and chew cud. Sheep, cattle and goats may be eaten as they meet the requirement, whereas pigs cannot be eaten as, although they have cloven hooves, they do not chew cud.10 After slaughter, forbidden blood, veins and certain fats must be removed.

Chicken, turkey, goose and duck can be eaten, but other birds are forbidden.10 Eggs from kosher birds can be eaten as long as they do not contain blood. Slaughter must be carried out according to Shechita methods.11

Dairy products from kosher animals may be eaten, although meat and dairy cannot be eaten together and a period of time, dependent on an individual’s belief, is required between meat and milk dishes.10 The law requiring the separation of meat and dairy products is strict and includes the need for separate utensils. Bread should not contain dairy products.

Only fish with scales may be eaten and shellfish is forbidden. Fruit and vegetables may be eaten.10,11

Adherence to the rules of kashrut varies between individuals, depending on their level of observance – 36% of Jews observe kashrut outside of their homes and 52% observe it at home. The largest concentrations of Orthodox Jews are in Stamford Hill, north-west London, north Manchester and Gateshead.

There are Jews living in every local authority in England and Wales, although three out of five Jews live in greater London.

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