Fact sheetDiet specifications

Published: November 2011. Next review: 2024.

General diet - kosher

This document is part of the ACI Diet Specifications for Adult Inpatients. It is not to be used for patient education.


To provide a diet that conforms to Jewish dietary laws.


There is a wide spectrum of observance. Some Jewish people will not eat pork but will disregard other laws. Others will only eat kosher meat but will eat food cooked with non-kosher utensils. During essential medical treatment, necessary non-kosher foods may be used and patients may be given dispensation from observance while in hospital. In strict observance all meat must be killed and prepared in a special way (available from Kosher butchers). No foods containing non-kosher meat can be eaten; this includes many commercially processed foods containing fats. There can be no contact between meat and milk products. Kosher food cannot be eaten unless it is prepared using utensils and facilities exclusively reserved for kosher use. Food cooked in an ordinary hospital kitchen would be rendered non-kosher.


Available on request to patients of the Jewish faith. Kosher meals may be acceptable to people of the Islamic faith.

Nutritional adequacy

Nutritionally adequate.


Deciding whether products have been prepared in a manner that complies with Jewish law is complex and is done by a Rabbinic organisation that publishes the Australian Kosher Food Bulletin. A strict observer of kosher laws will only eat products listed in the Bulletin. Most hospitals purchase specially prepared meal packs from an external kosher food supplier. Meals are kept frozen, then re-thermed and sent sealed to the patient who breaks the seal before eating. Note that different meal packs are used for Passover. The only suitable mid-meals are fresh fruit. The sodium content of kosher meals may prevent their use on restricted sodium diets.


Suitable for use in paediatrics when combined with an age-appropriate diet.

Specific menu planning guidelines

Allowed Not allowed
Hot main dishesKosher meal packsAll others
Sauces, graviesNone -
Starchy vegetables / pasta / riceNone -
Salads, dressingsKosher meal packsAll others
Breads, cerealsNone -
Hot breakfast choicesNone -
FruitFresh fruits-
DessertsKosher meal packsAll others
Milk and cheeseMilk portions for cereal, tea and coffee -
BeveragesTea, coffeeAll others

Kosher cutlery packs

Nutritional supplements certified as kosher



  1. Kashrut Authority. Kosher Product Directory.
  2. Kosher Australia Pty Ltd. The Kosher Food Bulletin. Available by subscription.
  3. Dietitians Association of Australia. Nutrition manual. 8th ed. Canberra: DAA; 2009.
  4. Regenstein JM, Chaudry MM, Regenstein CE. The Kosher and Halal food laws. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf 2003;2:111-7
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