Meat from an animal certified as kosher requires that the animal have split hooves and chew its cud. This includes members of the bovine, goat, sheep and buffalo family. Pork, for example, would not be permitted because the pig does not chew its cud.
Kosher birds must have a crop, an extra finger, a gizzard that can be peeled, and must not be a bird of prey. Today Jews eat only birds that we know our ancestors ate such as chicken, certain duck and goose.
Kosher fish must have both scales and fins. Shellfish such as shrimp and lobster are prohibited as well as swordfish, sturgeon, catfish and eel, to name a few. Generally, kosher fish production requires a supervisor to be present to verify that the fish is a kosher species. Lastly, the packaging of all meat, poultry, and fish products must bear the proper kosher seal.
Meat and poultry from kosher animals that are slaughtered by humane methods as dictated by Jewish Law, and carried out by specially trained ritual slaughterers, are permissible. In addition, the meat and poultry must then be soaked, salted and de-veined. Only then is it fit for kosher consumption.
A variety of food products contain ingredients derived from animal sources. In order for the product to be certified kosher, the animal must be kosher. For example, stearates, a common additive in the production of confections and pharmaceutical tablets, may be derived from tallow. Fatty acids and mono and diglycerides used in salad oils, shortenings, and baking products, may be animal based. The list also includes gelatin, used in a variety of candies, desserts and medications, as well as glycerin, often used to flavor liquid medications.