Halal and Kosher Dining Options

Halal Dining Options

At UC Davis Dining Services, the "H" icon is used to help our dining patrons easily identify dishes that meet Halal dietary guidelines. Foods assigned the Halal dietary icon are those that DO NOT contain:

  • Pork
  • Animal meats that are not Halal-certified
  • Gelatin
  • Alcohol or alcohol-derived baking extracts (i.e. vanilla extract)
  • Animal meat-derived products (i.e. chicken broth or beef stock) that are not Halal certified

Dining patrons seeking Halal meal options may look for the "H" icon on digital menus and point-of-service signage to easily identify foods that meet their needs. Additionally, dishes containing alcohol have an "alcohol" flag to help our dining patrons better identify the presence of any alcohol-containing ingredients.

Halal icon used to label food that is Halal

What about Vinegars?

All food-grade vinegars are made from alcohol through the bacterial fermentation process. The end product does not contain alcohol, and is a solution of acetic acid and water. Naturally-occurring acetobacter bacteria feed on sugars in the alcohol and draw oxygen from the air, resulting in the following chemical reaction that creates vinegar:

  • C2H6O + O2 → C2H4O2 + H2O
  • ethyl alcohol + oxygen → acetic acid + water

For example, vinegars created specifically from the fermentation of wine are called wine vinegars (for example, red wine vinegars and white wine vinegars). However, vinegars can be made from a variety of alcohols, and not all vinegars are fermented from wine. See below for information on how common food-grade vinegars are made:

  • Apple cider vinegar undergoes a two-step fermentation process. Apples are first crushed and juiced. Naturally existing yeast ferments the sugar in the apples to create alcohol. Fermentation begins when bacteria turn the alcohol into vinegar. Finally, the vinegar is diluted with water to 5% acidity.
  • Balsamic vinegar is made from grape must (a combination of juice, skins, seeds, and stems of the grape plant) reduced to a concentrate and stored in wood barrels that already contain some vinegar.
  • Distilled white vinegar is made from a vodka-like grain alcohol, and is fermented by bacteria to produce 5% acetic acid.
  • Natural rice vinegar is made from steamed rice that contains yeast, which turns into alcohol through fermentation and then aerated to become vinegar. Seasoned rice wine vinegar is made from rice vinegar with the addition of sugar and salt, imparting a sweeter taste.
  • Champagne vinegar is made from three grapes: Pinot Noir grapes (red), Pinot Meunier grapes (red), and Chardonnay grapes (white). The resulting alcohol is fermented and aged.
  • Red wine vinegar is made from red wine, which is fermented by acetobacter bacteria, strained, aged, and bottled.
  • White wine vinegar is made from white wine in a similar fashion to red wine vinegar, with a less intense taste.
  • Spanish sherry vinegar is made from Sherry wine that is fermented by acetobacter bacteria and then barrel aged for 6 months.

In Islam, Istihalah is the term used to describe a transformation process of a non-Halal ingredient into a Halal ingredient. The transformation of alcohol into vinegar is one such example. Some faith leaders in the Muslim community agree that since vinegar is no longer considered an alcoholic drink and does not produce the effect of alcohol, it is a permissible ingredient in Halal foods. Others disagree with this claim since the source of the ingredient (alcohol) is not permissible.

UC Davis Dining Services acknowledges the varying perspectives on Istihalah, and strives to communicate menu information in a way that best accommodates the needs of our community. Vinegar has thus been identified as an "ingredient of concern," and foods containing vinegar are assigned a "vinegar" flag, similarly to how alcohol and food allergens are flagged on our menu signage. However, foods meeting the qualifications described above are tagged "H" for Halal, and may also contain vinegar. In this way, dining patrons seeking Halal meal options may make the most informed choice that aligns with their position on Istihalah.

Other Resources on Halal foods:

UC Davis Community and Student Organizations

Halal Certifying Organizations


Kosher Dining Options

"Kosher-Friendly" Meals in our DC's

UC Davis Dining Services was approached by student leaders from the Jewish community with an idea they had to implement a new program called "Kosher-Friendly." This partnership has led to an exciting opportunity to expand our menu options. "Kosher-Friendly" is a stylistic designation rather than one based on the laws of Kashrut. Kosher-Friendly meals in our DC's do not contain meat from forbidden animals according to the Kosher laws (such as pork and shellfish), do not contain both meat and dairy together, and are free of ingredients considered not Kosher as classified by members of the Jewish community that keep Kosher. Please note: Though some meats and other products used in the creation of these menu items may have been identified as Kosher at the time of purchase, they are not prepared in a Kosher facility that practices Kosher food preparation methods with designated cooking equipment or utensils.

Kosher Catering through Residential Dining

We are pleased to offer Kosher meals specially catered by Glatt Kosher Foods & Catering. Kosher-catered meals are available to students throughout the academic year who have residence hall room and board contracts. Students may select from pre-packaged meal options that meet Kosher requirements. Please visit our Accessible Housing and Dining webpage for more information on requesting catered Kosher meals.

Options in Retail Dining

We currently offer a variety of select fresh produce and pre-packaged Kosher items at our campus market locations. Look out for pre-packaged items with labels indicating any of the following Kosher designations.

Kosher Passover Meals

In celebration of Passover each Spring, our Residential Dining Services partners with Glatt Kosher Foods & Catering to provide Kosher Passover meals. These meals are available for purchase to all students, regardless of whether or not they have a meal plan with dining services. Please check out the Aggie Reader Newsletter each Spring for more information on how to obtain Kosher Passover meals.

Other Resources for Kosher Foods: Hillel at Davis and Sacramento

Hillel is the center for Jewish life at UC Davis! All food served at Hillel is kosher and delicious. During the academic year, UC Davis students can receive:

  • Free Shabbat dinner on Friday evenings
  • Free lunch on Tuesdays at noon
  • Free snacks Monday–Friday