Do Jewish people eat pork?

In this brief guide, we’ll address the query: “Do Jewish people eat pork?.” Also, we’ll explore why Jewish people don’t eat pork, what meats are allowed to be eaten by Judaism, and what other religions don’t allow eating pork.

Do Jewish people eat pork? 

Conventionally, Jewish people do not partake in eating pork. Pork is not kosher and their religious texts strictly forbid its consumption.

However, not all members of the Jewish faith strictly adhere to this convention, and some may consume pork, despite it being discouraged in their holy texts. 

The word kosher alludes to food that is permissible for followers to consume, and within the bounds of Jewish law. 

Other animal products besides pork that the Jewish faith does not permit the consumption of include bushmeat, chevaline (horse meat), meat from scavenging and predatory birds, and some cuts of beef. 

Why don’t Jewish people eat pork? 

Pork consumption is forbidden by their holy texts. Specifically, in the Old Testament, it was written in the book of Deuteronomy, that pork is unclean, unbefitting meat because while it has split hooves, pigs do not chew the cud.

There are two requirements for an animal to be fit to eat, and these are that it has to have a split hoof, and it must chew the cud.

Chewing the cud is a characteristic of ruminating mammals, which are animals that are herbivores, and their digestion is characterized by them being able to regurgitate their food and chew it again.

The cud, especially, alludes to food stored in the first digestive chamber, that is fermented by microbial activity. This allows these animals to make the most out of the fibrous food they’ve grazed on. 

Pigs are monogastric animals. Their digestive system consists of one stomach compartment, whereas animals that chew the cud have four stomach chambers. Additionally, pigs, as monogastric animals, are less efficient in sourcing calories from cellulose (fiber) than ruminants.  

What meats are Jewish people allowed to eat? 

Ruminant meats that the tenets of Judaism allow consumption of include beef (not all cuts), mutton, venison, chevon, and others. 

Fowl can be eaten, when the poultry is sourced from chicken, turkey, geese, quail, and dove. Though it must be processed in accordance with Jewish law. 

Fish may be permissible, so long as the specimen had “fins and scales.” This includes bass, sturgeon, pollock, cod, herring, tuna, and other species. Therefore, shellfish (crustaceans), mollusks (cuttlefish, squid, octopus), and other invertebrates are not permitted.

Whale meat is also not permitted, as they’re marine mammals and by extension lack scales. 

What other religions don’t allow eating pork? 

Besides Judaism, Islam, and Seventh-day Adventists eschew the consumption of pork. 

There seems to be a historical precedent for having a prejudice against the consumption of pork in the near and middle East. Pork meat was forbidden in Syria and Phoenicia long before the advent of Abraham and religions.

Some orthodox churches do not allow congregants to indulge in pork meat, and some fundamentalist movements also prohibit its consumption. 

Anthropologists theorize that the prejudice against pork meat stemmed from the impracticality of raising pigs in the ancient Middle East.

Pigs require shade, an ample supply of water, and topsoil laden with seeds from woody species such as elms. Additionally, pigs are not strictly herbivores, they have scavenging tendencies and have been known to consume carrion. 

Christianity, while an Abrahamic religion, does not forbid the consumption of pork and most worshipers are not followers of this law written in the Old Testament.

It is therefore believed that in the Middle East, a land with scarce surface water, pigs were regarded as unhygienic, and therefore impractical to keep.

In place of pork, inhabitants likely learned to make do with meat that they considered to be more hygienic, such as beef, poultry, and mutton. This may have led to express, written rules against the consumption of pork.

Some practicing Jews do not frown at the consumption of pork. Many have changed their views, as pork meat has a lower environmental impact than meat sourced from ruminants, and they’ve opted to prioritize their carbon footprints over religious conventions.   

Additionally, many Jewish folks find the taste to be palatable, as well as budget-friendly. 

Pork that is farmed in a free-range style is preferable to kosher meat that is factory farmed, and many see past the written law of chewing the cud, and the inherent prejudice. 

In actuality, people of the Jewish faith are inclined to consume humanely-sourced meat (regardless of whether or not it is kosher) rather than meat that adheres to their religious laws.

Many authors have even taken it upon themselves to publish recipes for other members of their community to enjoy pork.

Nowadays, one may surmise that how strictly kosher is kept, it seems, is a matter of personal beliefs and limitations. 

Here at Facts About Food, the writing staff will certainly not admonish anyone’s personal beliefs or tastes, but rather insist that they prepare their meals per their dietary and caloric needs. 


In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the query: “Do Jewish people eat pork?” Also, we’ve explored why Jewish people don’t eat pork, what meats are allowed to be eaten by Judaism, and what other religions don’t allow eating pork. 


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