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question on gelatin, vs. kosher gelatin? 
7th-Aug-2013 12:28 am
question on gelatin, vs. kosher gelatin?

I've never been a huge yogurt fan, but i am so surprised to learn that a food that's usually entirely vegetarian, even, has 'kosher' gelatin added to it. i've seen it in some baked goods too, and wanted to know, does kosher mean it could be plant-based, i mean, come from some other source and not animal? is gelatin always meant that it derives from an animal source?

thanks you guys =)

also - i don't really like the taste of soy, and i'm allergic to all tree nuts. so almond milk is out, but what other non-dairy milks do you guys prefer?

(xposted to veganpeople
Comments 
7th-Aug-2013 04:39 am (UTC)
As far as I am aware .... Kosher gelatin is usually made with agar agar because you cannot mix meat with dairy products and call it kosher and since a lot of dairy products have gelatin, it is usually made from agar and thus vegan.

However this may not always be the case because some kosher gelatin can be made with meat and still satisfy kosher guidelines. Though I could be wrong about that.

7th-Aug-2013 04:40 am (UTC)
Oh and I love oat milk! Have you tried that?
7th-Aug-2013 05:40 am (UTC)
And don't forget coconut; but do you consider coconuts tree nuts?
15th-Sep-2013 06:50 pm (UTC)
This is not the case - kosher gelatin can definitely be made with meat and satisfy kashrut (kosher law). And often is. The other comments on this thread get into it a little, but I'll break it down, since I see a lot of confusion in the thread.

Okay, so kosher is a product that a group of rabbis judge to meet kashrut. There are different interpretations of kashrut, which is why what qualifies as kosher may vary depending on what group certifies it.

Pig products can indeed be kosher (depending on the interpretation of kashrut) as has been pointed out - the part of the pig being used has been judged not to be food. This can apply to other animals sources, too. Fish is not the only source of kosher gelatin, even though pig is rarer (I don't think it's the most popular interpretation, though it is logically consistent in regards to categorizing pig-based gelatin as pareve vs other animal sources). I believe beef is the favored source.

Dairy and meat aren't categories (see below) placed on animal-based gelatin, so that's an irrelevant. Also, as has been pointed out, gelatin is pareve, "neutral", neither milk nor dairy. The kosher certification of gelatin relates to other aspects of what is kosher (yes, there is a fair bit more to it that the meat vs dairy thing), as has been pointed out - how the animal is killed being one. Fish and eggs are pareve , by the way, so never let that label fool be confused for even being vegetarian, much less vegan!

Another term that is related to this is 'milchik' - simply means dairy. "Fleshik' means meat. These don't conform exactly to how we would define meat or dairy as vegans.

So, to sum it up: gelatin is pareve (neither dairy nor meat), can be made with any animal depending on interpretation of kashrut, and any gelatin (unless explicitly stated to be vegan) should be assumed not to be vegan - and this extends to anything else that's labeled kosher or pareve (obviously if you check the ingredients list on and it IS all vegan, you're good to go, so don't necessarily avoid such products, either).
7th-Aug-2013 04:47 am (UTC)
Kosher gelatin is just gelatin made from kosher animals (eg not pigs) slaughtered according to kosher laws (eg cows that have their throats slit while being suspended upside down. Don't YouTube it, I made that mistake once after my bf's Jewish relatives insisted kosher slaughter was more humane).

Finding it acceptable to mix with dairy is no guarantee. Gelatin sourced from fish could be mixed with dairy and still considered kosher by many folks who care about such things.</p>

IMO it's much safer to stick with fruit pectin or agar agar or some other alternative that can be definitively identified as plant-based. Just like "gluten-free" or "organic," kosher is one of those food labels people associate with vegan/vegetarian even though they aren't really related.

7th-Aug-2013 05:00 am (UTC)
Foods that are "parve" are neither meat nor dairy. The catch, when looking at whether a food is vegan, is that when declaring something parve it has to meet a standard that's something to the effect of "if it was food, but it is now so much so not food that a dog would not eat it, then it's not food, but then if you make it food again it doesn't matter if it was or wasn't meat or dairy prior because by becoming not fit for a dog to eat it became parve."

I'm explaining this poorly.

There's a point in the chemical destruction of animal parts on their way to being gelatin where, by kosher rules/jewish law, it stopped being food worthy of being eaten by a dog, so it gets judged on a clean slate as neither meat nor dairy from that point on, because dropping skin and bones in a vat of acid won't be eaten by dogs.

I've seen agar agar on food labels. As I understand it, while there are plant products that gel, gelatin ONLY comes from animals. Calling it kosher just means it was certified in compliance with kosher rules.
7th-Aug-2013 05:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, does anyone remember the scandal a few years ago with Emes Kosher-Jel gelatin substitute and "vegan" marshmallows?

Vegetarians in Paradise reported here that although for years people had used Emes Kosher-Jel as a vegetarian substitute for gelatin, the product flunked the "gelatin test"—it was found to contain gelatin. This had many people up in arms, since they felt they had been lied to—and were.

However, your explanation, oxymoron02, makes it a little more clear to me why they were sticking to their lie, if—as I've heard—"parve" isn't a synonym for "vegan" anyway.

(Considering that most dogs will eat excrement, does that mean it's parve if it comes from a vegetarian animal?)

Edited at 2013-08-07 05:41 am (UTC)
7th-Aug-2013 08:24 am (UTC)
What went on with the Kosher-Jel stuff? I don't remember hearing about that.

Nevermind, I read the second link you posted. That's really annoying! Companies lying about shit like that? I can't say I'm surprised, but ticked off, for sure.

Edited at 2013-08-07 08:25 am (UTC)
7th-Aug-2013 06:08 am (UTC)
Kosher gelatin is, to my understanding, made from fish. Fish and eggs are both considered parave - neither containing 'meat' or dairy, therefore fish derived gelatin can be added to kosher yogurt.
7th-Aug-2013 03:11 pm (UTC)
That was my understanding, as well. You stole my comment from my head!

Though, to add on, here's a link for people questioning potential sanity:
http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/faq.htm#kosher
http://www.fitgelatins.com/ << A place selling kosher gelatin, stating it comes from fish.

Normally, if it's plant based, I don't see it called gelatin-- it's agaragar, or they use fruit pectin/some other hardcore jelly substance or binding agent-- but rather by it's own plant name (or they wind up placing vegetarian or vegan before the word gelatin if they really want to call it that).
7th-Aug-2013 03:13 pm (UTC)
As an addendum, I suppose there ARE vegetarian ones...I just have never seen one. I suppose to be sure, you could email the particular company in question!
7th-Aug-2013 05:45 pm (UTC)
A friend of mine buys me vegan 'gelatin' at a Halal market. The main label calls it gelatin, but when you read the ingredients, it is made from seaweed.
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