Your canteen may need to cater for Muslim (Halaal meals) or Jewish (Kosher meals) customers and it’s important to know that catering for these religious preferences involves far more than simply creating a recipe using the right products.
Here are a few of the main points to bear in mind when considering preparing Halaal and Kosher meals in your kitchen.
HALAAL STORAGE AND PREPARATION
Look for the mark – only use ingredients which are certified Halaal. All Halaal ingredients must be stored, prepared and served separately to non-Halaal ingredients (this will involve separate storage areas, cooking and serving utensils and potentially tableware). All processed foods are Halaal if the ingredients used are Halaal.
However, they must not be made of, or contain any parts or products from animals, which are forbidden by Islamic Laws to be consumed by Muslims or not slaughtered according to Islamic Laws. They must not contain any products in ANY quantities which are considered as haram (forbidden) according to Islamic Laws – these include items such as pig oils, fats, or lards from carcass and any types of alcohol, among other items.
They must be prepared using equipment which is uncontaminated by haram foods – so you will need separate knives, boards, containers and other related equipment. During preparation, processing and storage, food must not come into contact or close proximity with any haram ingredients.
Hygiene and cleanliness are strongly emphasised in Islam and it includes every aspect of personal hygiene, dress, equipment and premises where food is processed or prepared. Several aspects, which are emphasised, include - premises for the manufacturing, preparation and sale of food and drinks must be clean and free from any element, which can cause infestation, such as flies, rats, cockroaches, lizards and other similar pests.
Kitchen workers must be healthy and must wear clean, protective clothing to prevent food from coming into contact with dirt and possible contaminants. All Standard Operating Procedures for maintaining food hygiene must be adhered to. Equipment used must be clean and washed frequently to ensure cleanliness. Rinsing with clean running water is the method to be used in conjunction with a suitable cleaning agent.
Source: GUIDELINES FOR THE PREPARATION OF HALAAL FOOD AND GOODS FOR THE MUSLIM CONSUMERS Prepared by Dr. Ahmad Robin Wahab AmalMerge (M) Sdn. Bhd.
KOSHER STORAGE AND PREPARATION
Look for the mark – only use ingredients which are certified Kosher. A critical part of Kosher food is the total separation of meat from dairy products at every stage of storage, preparation and serving. This means separate working areas for meat and dairy, separate sets of pots and dishes, blender and processor attachments, chopping boards and separate cooking surfaces, silverware, serving dishes, bread trays and salt-shakers are needed. These different sets should be kept in separate areas. Also necessary are separate sets of draining boards, draining racks, dish sponges, scouring pads, dish towels, and tablecloths.
One must be especially careful to mark utensils that look similar for both meat and dairy, such as knives, ladles or spoons. Distinguish between such utensils by having a different colour or design or paint a line on the handles according to the colour scheme. Plastic tape, colour-coordinated signs, or paint of the same colour may be used to mark other items.
- Washing - Separate sinks for washing dishes and preparing foods are recommended, one designated as meat and the other as dairy. If the two sinks are adjoining, there should be an effective separation between them so that no water or food splashes from one sink to the other.
- Surfaces and Appliances -The separation of meat and dairy must be maintained throughout the kitchen. Consult a Rabbi or Chabad representative as to how to clean Kosher surfaces or appliances that were non-kosher.
- Countertops - Designate separate countertops or work areas for meat and dairy. If one area must be used for both, separate coverings must be used.
- Tables - A table can be used at different times for meat and dairy if one uses different tablecloths or placemats. A new table or a table surface that was koshered can be used for one category and a tablecloth or placemats used for the other.
- Refrigerators and Freezers - Separate areas should be designated for meat and dairy foods to prevent leakage onto other foods. Sometimes a shelf or the door of the refrigerator or freezer is kept for dairy.
If dairy is kept on a shelf inside the refrigerator, one should cover the shelf with aluminum foil or a plastic liner. If dairy drips on the liner, the liner must be carefully removed and replaced. Similar care must be taken with meat products inside the refrigerator. One should avoid placing hot meat or hot dairy foods in the refrigerator.
- Cooking Surfaces - Where heat is involved, the Kosher laws concerning the accidental mixture of meat and dairy foods become much more complex. Therefore, strict precautions are taken concerning the use of the stove and oven for meat and dairy products. The ideal set-up in the Kosher kitchen is to have two separate stoves. Where one stove is used, separate burners designated for milk or meat use are preferable. If this is not possible, extra care must be taken to keep the burners very clean. It is best to avoid cooking both types of food at the same time since the steam or food in one pot might splatter or escape to another. If it becomes necessary to cook both meat and dairy foods in separate pots at the same time, utmost care should be taken that the lids are secured tightly at all times and that an upright sheet of tin or other metal separates the pots. Take care to avoid lifting lids of both meat and dairy pots at the same time. If the lids must be lifted to check the food or add any ingredients, raise the lid only slightly off the pots, tilted away from the opposite pots. It is best to have the meat and dairy pots well separated, to keep each pot’s steam or liquid from coming into contactwith the other pot’s contents and steam.
- The Oven and Broiler - Meat and dairy foods may never be baked or roiled in one oven at the same time, even in separate bake ware. Dairy foods should not be baked in a meaty oven, or vice versa.
- Dishwashers - It is preferable for dishwasher to be designated for the exclusive use of either meat or dairy.
If you have further questions, consult a Rabbi or Chabad representative, as there are many factors involved in ensuring a Kosher kitchen.