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Old 08-31-2002, 02:55 PM
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Does kosher gelatin contain animal products?

In a recent conversation, a good friend of mine decried the loss of her favorite yogurt. She is a strict vegetarian who won't eat 'normal' gelatin, but was under the impression that kosher gelatin was acceptable. However, she subsequently read somewhere (no cite) that though it is not made with horse hooves or whatnot, it still contains animal products. This struck me as a bit odd, since it appeared that the yogurt was kosher. How could a dairy product that contains animal products be kosher? It was marked with a single "K" if that makes a difference.

So I am turning to the TM is kosher yogurt made with kosher gelatin kosher for a vegetarian? Thanks, her palette awaits!

Old 08-31-2002, 02:59 PM
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Rhythmdvl, Google is your friend!

From International Vegetarian Union FAQ :

What is kosher gelatine?

from the Vegetarian Resource Group:
Kosher gelatin can be made with fish bones, and/or beef or pork skins. Contrary to assumptions, it is also considered kosher to use it with dairy products. Kosher law is very complex and the bones and hides used in gelatin production are considered pareve. The general meaning of pareve refers to foods that are neither milk nor meat, and many people assume this means that the product is vegetarian. However, OU pareve certified ingredients can have animal products, such as fish, eggs, and gelatin, in them.
"Kosher Gelatin Marshmallows: Glatt Kosher and 'OU-Pareve'," an article that appeared in Kashrus Magazine, explains the distinctions. A quote from the article is as follows:
"...since the gelatin product is from hides or bones - not real flesh - and has undergone such significant changes, it is no longer considered 'fleishig' (meat) but 'pareve', and can be eaten with dairy products."

Huh... I still don't quite get it, but it pretty much answers the OP. Search a little harder next time before taking up bandwidth!!
Old 08-31-2002, 03:44 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
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kosher does NOT mean vegetarian. There are many kosher meat products.
I would like to point out though that contrary to the above posts claim PORK of any kind is never kosher.
Old 08-31-2002, 04:24 PM
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Sure, kosher certainly doesn't mean vegetarian. But many vegetarians rely on Kosher dairy products to be sure that they don't contain meat (the whole no mixing thing). This is why it struck me as odd that meat products could be used as ingredients of a dairy product and remain kosher.

Which does beg the next question. If kosher gelatin can contain animal products that are so attenuated from their animal self such that they can be mixed with dairy, why don't pork products fall into that same category?
Old 08-31-2002, 05:10 PM
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Could your friend eat a dairy free soya yoghurt, like "Provamel" instead?
Old 08-31-2002, 09:25 PM
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"Gelatine", if it's really gelatine, is animal protein. Can't get away from that. It's the clear rubbery stuff that forms on the top of your cold chicken soup.

If it's a plant-based thickener (agar, carrageen) then it's not called "gelatine."
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Old 08-31-2002, 09:26 PM
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I believe there is a vegetarian alternative to gelatin sourced from seaweed, which contains no meat product at all.
Old 08-31-2002, 09:30 PM
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Most kosher yoghurts don't contain kosher gelatin, as the stuff's pretty expensive and specialized. I think they use seaweed-based products instead. You mostly only see kosher gelatin in kosher marshmallows and jello, and you wouldn't find those products outside of special kosher shops.
BTW, anything can be marked with a single "k", since it's a letter of the alphabet that can't be trademarked. You can slap a K on a can of pork and beans, and it usually means that nobody outside of the company is monitoring that everything's kosher, just that the company itself thinks that the product's alright. Here is a list of kosher symbols, although I can't vouch for all of them as many are regional and I'm thus not familiar with them. This is an explanation of why supervision and certification are necessary for kosher products.
Old 08-31-2002, 11:04 PM
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Yep. I believe it's called carageenan. Same stuff the little mouthwash film Listerine's selling today is made of.
Old 09-01-2002, 11:39 AM
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What constitutes kosher gelatin is not a settled question. Different authorities give different answers. See Ask the Rabbi: Dry bones and Jell-O
But during the manufacturing of gelatin, the animal extract becomes totally inedible, such that even a dog will no longer eat it. Now, food which even a dog won't eat loses its status as food.

...some authorities permit gelatin from unkosher animals, since during the process the animal extract becomes unfit for even a dog. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, zatzal, rules otherwise. He writes that although the animal parts are inedible in the middle of the process, this inedible state is only temporary

Last edited by bibliophage; 09-01-2002 at 11:41 AM.
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