Answered by: Maulana Mustafa Umar
Is Kosher gelatin halal?
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Kosher gelatin has different meanings according to different groups of Jews. If the gelatin comes from a properly slaughtered animal, a fish, or from vegetable sources, then it will be permissible. If it comes from improperly slaughtered animals according to Islamic guidelines] or from pork sources, then it will not be allowed.
Here is an excerpt to explain how different the standards are: “The VRG contacted four major kosher certifying agencies that certify kosher food products in the United States today—Star-K, OK, the Orthodox Union (OU), and KOF-K—to clarify the meaning of kosher gelatin. These four agencies are considered “normative mainstream” by J.M. Regenstein, a Jewish food technologist who has published extensively on kosher food laws.
Star-K said, ‘Kosher gelatin is derived from kosher animal sources… from kosher slaughtered and processed bovine sources or from kosher species of fish’… The OK kosher certifying agency said, ‘Kosher gelatin is made from kosher fish and/or agar.’…There are other kosher-certifying agencies that will certify as kosher food products containing pig-derived gelatin. Ko Kosher of Philadelphia is one such agency. They certify products from more than 200 companies, including General Mills, Hershey Foods, Jelly Belly, and GNC.
According to Rabbi Novoseller of Ko Kosher, gelatin is not a food. At one time during its processing, when the bones and hides of animals are treated with acid during the gelatin extraction process, gelatin was not food. In fact, it was “inedible even to a dog,” referring to a commonly known Jewish test of what is or is not a food. According to Jewish dietary laws, “If something is not a food, it cannot be non-kosher.” Therefore, according to Rabbi Novoseller, gelatin is kosher, regardless of animal species and slaughter method.” [https://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2008issue4/2008_issue4_koshergelatin.php]
Therefore, since there are no universal standards on what defines ‘kosher gelatin’, each certification must be looked into in detail.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Mustafa Umar
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham