Mehadrin refers to the most stringent level of kosher supervision. Kosher food is prepared to meet the specific requirements of Jewish law, but compliance may be more or less strict depending on where you live and the knowledge of the community there. Anyone who chooses to eat mehadrin isn't taking advantage of any leniency and follows the highest standards of kosher.
Kosher Dietary Regulations
Jewish dietary law follows a series of regulations regarding:
- Meat. The only types of meat allowed are cattle and game with "cloven hooves" that "chew the cud." Both conditions must be met. Kosher animals are bulls, cows, goats, veal, sheep, lambs and springbok.
- Fowl. Birds that are considered kosher are chicken, goose, duck, and turkey. Some birds may never be eaten. These are the owl, swan, eagle, pelican, stork, and vulture, along with their eggs.
- Dairy Products. Kosher milk products come from kosher animals. Dairy products may not contain non-kosher additives. Kosher cheese may not contain meat products such as animal fats.
- Milk and Meat combinations in meals are prohibited.
- Eggs must be from kosher birds, and they must not contain blood.
- Fish. Only fish with fins and scales are kosher. Shellfish are forbidden.
- Vegetables, Fruits, Cereals. All of these are kosher because all products that grow in the soil or on plants or trees are kosher. Insects are not kosher, so these foods must be carefully examined for bugs. In addition, eating fruit from trees planted in the last three years is forbidden.
- Wine. Kosher wine cannot contain casein, gelatin, or blood. The bottles may not be filled multiple times. The implements used in winemaking must be cleaned under supervision.
Someone who follows this most stringent level of kashrut is seen as having beautified or embellished God's commandments and thus is said to be keeping kosher l'mehadrin.
Example: Meat marked "kosher l'mehadrin" undergoes a higher level of kosher supervision than meat marked "kosher."