about kosher
the word “kosher” is hebrew for “fit” or “proper”. when applied to food, kosher means the food is acceptable to eat by the biblical standard set in the torah — the law, or first five books of the bible — specifically, Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. the animals listed in these chapters are often generalized as clean (animals that are kosher to eat), and the unclean (animals prohibited). today, a kosher rating assures a food product has not been made with any unclean animal products, and that kosher meats have been prepared properly (killed and bled correctly). religious jews are not the only ones concerned with eating kosher meats. there are many health benefits to eating kosher, and a kosher rating often means a product does not even contain animal products, a requirement for vegetarians and vegans.

possibly non-kosher ingredients
this is a list of ingredients that we are aware of that can be non-kosher. note that this is not a complete list. if there is no kosher symbol, your best bet is to call the company and ask if there are any animal derived ingredients. You can also ask about these ingredients specifically.

  • all forms of pork (bacon, lard, ham, etc.)
  • crustaceans (lobster, crabs, shrimp, oysters, etc.)
  • artificial color/flavor (for example, in red products, carmine may have been used)
  • gelatin (made from animal bones, hooves, skin)
  • mono- and di- glycerides (most companies are moving toward vegetable sources)
  • enzymes (most companies are moving toward non-animal, microbial sources)
  • rennet (enzyme usually from the stomach of calves)
  • pepsin (another enzyme)
  • carmine (most companies use RED 40 which is artifical, and less expensive)
  • whey (a byproduct of milk or cheese making process)
  • glycerine
  • sterates (Calcium Stearate, Magnesium Sterate, Stearic Acid, etc.)
  • gum base

you can also do a google search to find other (perhaps more complete) lists of animal-derived ingredients

kosher symbols
this is by no means a complete list of kosher symbols, but just the most commons ones. you may see these on many of the food products you buy. they are usually right on the front of the packaging, or by the ingredient listing.

other things you might see beside the symbols above:

D or Dairy – Product contains dairy products
P or Parvae – Product does not contain dairy products

acceptable products
here are a few links to other sites that contain ingredient information. a lot of sites like these are run by vegans, vegetarians, and also muslims, who have a lot of the same concerns as those trying to eat kosher.

  • What is in it? product information for many companies and restuarants.
  • Vegetarian Cheese List large list of vegetarian cheeses by type, or by brand.
  • Eat-Halal Muslim-run canadian site with lots of Q&A, and some ingredient info.

below is a list of products that may not have kosher symbols on them. We have contacted the companies, and are providing the results. to be completely sure a product is acceptable you should double check with the company because product ingredients can change frequently. also, just because a product is biblically acceptable doesn’t mean it can be certified kosher. if you are concerned about certification, you should always call the company. they usually know right away whether their product carries a kosher certification or not.

  • Aveeno Products (Johnson and Johnson’s skin care company) On 12/3/2004, we recieved an e-mail from AVEENO indicating that most of their products were animal free, EXCEPT for the following:

    Thank you for your recent e-mail concerning AVEENO products. In response to your question, the following AVEENO® products are the only ones that contain animal ingredients: Positively Radiant Moisturizer Positively Radiant Moisturizer with SPF15 Creamy Moisturizing Oil Daily Moisturizing Lotion Positively Smooth Moisturizing Lotion Daily Moisturizing Bath for Dry Skin Therapeutic Shave Gel Baby Wash & Shampoo Daily Baby Lotion Soothing Baby Bath Treatment Should you require further information, please don’t hesitate to e-mail us again or call the Information Centre toll free at 1 800 361-8068.

  • Breyer’s yogurt
    As of October 2006 we received this e-mail from the Coolbrands Dairy consumer affairs
    Thank you for contacting us regarding Breyer’s yogurt. All our products contain beef gelatin only.If we can be of further assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us again.CoolBrands Dairy Consumer Affairs
  • Cabot cheese According to Cabots FAQ, their cheeses are certified Kosher and approved by The American Vegetarian Society.
  • Colgate Toothpastes We recieved this via e-mail from colgate: “If you are concerned for religious reasons, we recommend the following toothpastes which only use synthetic glycerin: Colgate Junior Toothpastes, Colgate Winter Fresh Gel, Colgate Great Regular Flavor (2.7oz only), Colgate 2-in-1, Colgate Fresh Confidence with Whitening Toothpaste, Colgate Herbal White Fresh Mint Toothpaste, Colgate Sparkling White Cinnamon Spice Gel and Colgate MaxFresh Toothpaste.” Colgate also has an online Product Guide for Vegetarians (lists many acceptable products)
  • Brusters Ice Cream As of 8/2004, they claim their ice cream to be kosher.
  • Dannon Yogurt
    The gelatin in Dannon yogurt is derived from beef see FAQs at www.dannon.com (search for gelatin)
  • Frito Lay A lot of Frito Lay’s snacks are made with non-Pork enzymes.  Click here for the list from frito-lay of snacks that do not contain pork-derived enzymes. Frito Lay even has two other lists which include items that are certified Kosher: Frito Lay Kosher List 1 (orthodox union cert), Frito Lay Kosher List 2 (triangle K cert).
  • Kellogg’s According to their FAQ (http://www.kelloggs.com/en_US/FAQ.html?q=gelatin), the following items are made with Beef Gelatin: All varieties of Kellogg’s® Frosted Pop-Tarts®, Kellogg’s® Frosted Mini-Wheats® cereal, and Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies Treats® cereal.
    These items contain gelatin made from Pork: Kellogg cereal products with marshmallow additives (i.e., Kellogg’s® Marshmallow Froot Loops cereal and Kellogg’s Smorz® cereal) and all varieties of Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies Treats® Squares and Special K® Protein Snack bars.
    Regarding all of their fruit snacks, Kelloggs says the gelatin “could be from either beef or pork. They are used interchangeably and information regarding which one is used in each snack is not available.”
  • Land O’Lakes
    see FAQs at www.landolakes.com
    What enzymes does Land O’Lakes use when producing cheese?
    The enzymes used for producing our natural cheeses come from a microbial (non-animal) source. Processed cheeses could be made with microbial and/or animal-derived flavor-producing enzymes.
  • Little Remedies – Little Noses
    As per a phone conversation, the glycerin is plant derived.
  • Nestle 1-800-358-1971
    As per a phone conversation, the calcium stearate in Nestle’s Wonka Candy is plant derived.
  • Papa John’s Papa John’s FAQ states their pizza dough, cheese, and sauce is not made with animal derived ingredients.
  • Pizza Hut As of 8/2004, After many discussions with the nutritionist (she did a lot of investigation), we found that all the cheese Pizza Hut contains no animal products (other than the dairy products used). The EXCEPTION is their romaine cheese, which has animal derived enzymes, and is used in the sweet spagetti sauce put on their stuffed-crust pizza’s. The nutritionist said we could just order the stuffed-crust with regular sauce, if we wanted to. She also told us, they were going to phase out the animal derived ingredients in about 6 months (most companies are trying to do this). We’ll try to call again then.the sauces on their other pizzas (not stuffed crust) do not have any objectionable ingredients. All of Pizza Hut’s Crusts are also ok.a word of warning – pizza hut serves non-kosher meats (pepperoni, bacon, etc.), so you should ask for clean pizza cutters to be used, or ask them to leave the pizza uncut. also note that is always a chance of contamination of acceptable food whereever non-acceptable food is served.
  • Ponds Skin Care products Here is the response we got from Ponds on 11/28/2005:

    Thanks for writing!Some Pond’s products contain ingredients that are derived from animal-by-products. Any Product Containing Glycerin and/or Stearic Acid contains animal by products, but no pork by-products: -Stearic acid from beef tallow -Glycerin may be either synthetic or natural glycerin, which is derived from beef tallow or coconut The actual ingredient used in the products is significantly different from the original animal-by-product. These types of ingredients are widely used in our industry, and they are safe and effective in our products. We hope this information is helpful! Your friends at Pond’s

  • Reach (character toothpaste for kids) 1-866-REACHTB
    As per a phone conversation the glycerin contained in this toothpaste is synthetic.
  • Rita’s Italian Ice according to their Nutrition FAQs, all Rita’s products are certified kosher. You can view the FAQs on their website at http://www.ritas.com/.
  • Rose Art From an e-mail they sent us: “None of our products contain animal derived ingredients. The crayons are made of paraffin wax and food grade dyes.”
  • Skittles
    As of April 2006 we received this e-mail

    In response to your email regarding SKITTLES BITE SIZE CANDIES.

    Thanks for your email.

    The gelatin used in our SKITTLES BITE SIZE CANDIES is derived from

    We hope this information is helpful.

    Have a great day!

    Your Friends at Masterfoods USA
    A Division of Mars, Incorporated

  • Smarties – made by CeDe Candy
    Spoke to customer relation, the calcium stearate in Smarties and all their products is plant derived.
  • Sorrento Cheese From their Questions about ingredients: Sorrento Lactalis, Inc. does not use enzymes from animal sources, except in Provolone and Parmesan cheese.
  • Suave From the FAQs at suave.com:
    Do your products contain animal by-products? Any Product Containing Glycerin and / or Stearic Acid contains animal by-products. Stearic acid comes from beef tallow and Glycerin may be either synthetic or natural which is derived from beef tallow or coconut.
  • Subway® according to their nutrition FAQ’s, their cheeses, breads, and cookies do not contain animal-derived ingredients. be careful when ordering (ask for sandwich artist to use clean gloves, etc.) because they serve non-kosher meats.
  • Tic Tacs As of 10/2004, Tic Tac’s contain no animal derived ingredients (specifically the magnesium stearate). Click here for the letter we received.
  • Tootsie Rolls
    Spoke to customer relations they state that the whey contained in their products is from microbial enzymes. In fact the only product they produce that would contain an animal derived ingredient that would be of concern are Junior Mints which contain gelatin that is from pork.
  • Wrigley Gum As of 7/2004, Most wrigley brands contains no animal derived ingredients. The exception is Extra Polar Ice which contains gelatin. Click here for the letter we recieved.

12 responses

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Thank you for this information. It’s good that you are being extra-careful with cosmetic products, but as far as I know, kosher only applies to what is eaten, and further research is not necessary to complete on all household products.

I can understand why you would want to do it though.

December 8, 2011 9:16 pm

As I am allergic to pork this site has been invaluable in helping me to avoid products containing it. I use colgate toothpaste and suffer continuous swollen tonsils and wondered if the glycerol in it was pork derived. Thank you for your help.

January 19, 2012 6:35 am

Thank you so much, I have also become allergic to pork, chicken, lamb, mushrooms, tuna, & peanuts and have found your site robbed very helpful as well… Thank you!!!

May 2, 2012 8:39 pm

Darn auto correct really, not robbed.. sorry

May 6, 2012 11:31 pm

I just looked at the FAQ for Papa John’s Pizza and they made no mention of the cheese. Here is a copy of a letter I sent to several overseeing groups for kashrut inspection concerning using camels for cheese rennet.

Dear Rabbi/Mashgiach:

I have been researching rennet used for cheese making and have found it reported that 90% of cheese manufactured in the US use a genetically modified rennet called FPC.

This rennet is labeled as “vegetarian acceptable” or “vegetable rennet”.

Of greatest concern is a type of rennet made from camels, which is non-kosher. This also is labeled as “suitable for vegetarians” which would lead most people to believe it is plant-based.

The link to the article is below. I hope it is helpful.


“The newest addition to the Chy-Max® line of product is Chy-Max M®, developed using a camel gene. It is considered a second generation FPC, described by the company as coagulating milk five times faster than first generation FPCs and 25 times faster than microbial rennets developed fromR. Miehei. The company calls this FPC “suitable for vegetarians.”

“When we asked cheese companies and restaurants about their “microbial rennet” we were told in all cases that the source of the “microbial rennet” was non-animal. Given that 90% of all US cheese is made with FPC according to several industry sources, the writer must conclude that most companies and restaurants are not aware of the animal gene splicing involved in FPCmanufacture and/or consider FPC “vegetarian acceptable” as FPC product data sheets from the manufacturers state it is.”

October 20, 2012 3:20 pm

I want to Thank you for this information on Kosher. I still do not understand what the letter ‘R’ stand for. Please help. I am trying to healthier as much possible I can.

Is milk Kosher?
Is it bad for you?

January 30, 2013 10:18 pm


The following answers concern the U.S., I cannot answer for other countries.

The R symbol in the use is the Registered trademark symbol.

It is Kosher to drink Milk from Kosher animals, such as cows and goats. Whether or not milk it is healthy for you is questionable. Studies have shown various things, including the possibility that milk strips more good things from your bones than it gives calcium to protect.

Also, things such as hormones, rBST, uses in the cattle population, are horrible for you. I only use organic, whole milk, labelled “without rBST.” Even then, the REAL milk debate is out there, but real milk is illegal in my state. You can see http://www.realmilk.com/ for that.

You could also be asking about the use of meat and milk. This depends on your/your religious affiliation’s interpretation of Scripture concerning boiling a calf in it’s mother’s milk. I understand this to mean that you cannot eat a calf you cooked in the milk of it’s mother, but most branches of Judaism teach you cannot eat a cheeseburger.

You could also be asking about whether or not a Rabbi prayed over the production of the milk, “making it Kosher.” I have found nothing in Scripture to indicate a Rabbi must pray over my milk, or any other food, in order for it to be clean. This is an issue for you, God, and Scripture, and possibly your Rabbi or Pastor.


February 2, 2013 8:07 pm

Thanks very much. I grew up in a Christian home, I converted to Islam. However I quiet eating pork way before converting. It’s hard to know what I can and cannot eat on somethings simply because my family does eat pork and there are many confusing things. I found this site from looking up special k protein bars. I looked at the ingredients and saw it didn’t say Kosher or that it had Gelatin. However when I took a bite it’s texture was gooey.

September 29, 2013 11:04 pm

Junior mints are now kosher

June 17, 2014 12:57 pm

To be safe, there are great vegan alternatives in skincare, cosmetics and personal care products like those sold by Arbonne International. Absolutely no animal by products at all. If keeping kosher is a priority for what you eat, I would think this would also be a concern as to what you are absorbing into your bloodstream via skincare which only takes 26 seconds to be absorbed. Not to mention the health risks associated with using products containing animal by products. Unless it is vegan certified, most personal care products do contain animal by products – rendered from what’s left on the slaughterhouse floor, roadkill, euthanized pets and diseased farm animals. Contact me if you’d like to try some ultra premium, botanical Arbonne products.

July 21, 2014 9:02 pm

Milk is deemed kosher by a Jew watching the milking process to make sure that no non kosher milk is mixed in with it. There are some opinions that if a country ( The UK for example) has strict laws regarding only using vows’milk in milk production this I’d also deemed OK to use.

April 2, 2018 1:25 am

This was very helpful, Thank you.

October 26, 2020 2:17 pm

Comment now!