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Food Grade Lubricants: Kosher and Halal

The Muslim and Jewish religions further restrict the formulation of food-grade lubricants. There are about 14 million Jews and 1.3 billion Muslims around the world today. Both religions have rules covering aspects of food processing. Some aspects of Halal and Kosher are similar but these terms are not interchangeable.

Kosher is a term used to describe Jewish dietary laws. Kosher law is approved by several rabbinic orders. In the United States, the Orthodox Union and the Organized Kashrus Laboratories are major approval organizations active in the approval of food-grade lubricants. Kosher law outlaws the use of pork and pork by-products. It also prohibits any mixing of meat, dairy and eggs. Any equipment must be properly cleaned and left idle for 24 hours before and after making kosher foods.

Kosher means “suitable” in the context of foodstuffs prepared in accordance with the Jewish food laws. The main purpose of these laws is to differentiate us humans from animals. It suggests that humans are quire different from animals and that we have a special responsibility because of this. Humans can act a disciplined way towards something as holy as food, which cannot be said of animals.

Under Islamic law, Halal laws are imposed on their food products. In the United States, the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America issues Halal certificates. Similar to Kosher laws, Halal foods exclude the use of pork and pork by-products. Also, Halal excludes the use of alcohol in its products, which potentially limits some of the additives used in food-grade lubricants.

Halal is an Arabic expression meaning ‘permissible’. This is in contrast with “Haraam”, which means ‘forbidden’. Halal adheres to the philosophy that in order for food to be ‘permissible’, it must not contain a forbidden substance and any meat must have been slaughtered according to the traditional guidelines known as ‘Dhabiha’. Besides pork, other forbidden substances include blood, animals slaughtered in the name of anyone but God, carrion, carnivorous animals (with the exception of most fish and sea animals) and all intoxicants, especially alcohol.

These two religious laws subject the lubricants industry to a technical and religious certification process, which investigates the possibility of animal contaminants. Parallel to the technical study of the raw materials, a technical and religious investigation will be made at the manufacturing site. Here, the auditor will check that all the ingredients are, in fact, Kosher or Halal and that there is no possibility of cross-contamination by non-Kosher/Halal ingredients used in the same production equipment. After certification, renewal audits must be conducted on a yearly basis.

Observing religious laws in the production of food, drink or drugs products is very important. Manufacturers should make sure that the lubricants they use comply with every standard. The Industrial Lubricant Store’s food-grade lubricants are 100% OEM compatible and formulated specifically for each type of industrial equipment being used in the food services industry. Composed of the highest quality synthesized hydrocarbon fluids available, these special blends offer extended life and protect against wear, rust, and corrosion. Check out our product offerings at

About the Author
Randy Renick
Randy Renick has a Bachelor's degree from LSU. He is an STLE Certified Lubrication Specialist and has a 29 year work history in Industrial Lubrication. He is currently a Lubricant Consultant at The Industrial Lubricant Store.

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