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Cholov Yisrael Milk

I live in rural Montana where the Cholov Yisrael milk is difficult to obtain and very expensive. So I drink regular milk. What is your view on this?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Jewish law requires that there be rabbinic supervision during the milking process to ensure that the milk comes from a kosher animal. In the United States, many people rely on the Department of Agriculture's regulations and controls as sufficiently stringent to fulfill the rabbinic requirement for supervision.

Most of the major Kashrut organizations in the United States rely on this as well. You will therefore find many kosher products in America certified with a 'D' next to the kosher symbol. Such products – unless otherwise specified on the label – are not Cholov Yisrael and are assumed kosher based on the DOA's guarantee.

There are many, however, do not rely on this, and will eat only dairy products that are designated as Cholov Yisrael (literally, "Jewish milk"). This is particularly true in large Jewish communities, where Cholov Yisrael is widely available.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein wrote that under limited conditions, such as an institution which consumes a lot of milk and Cholov Yisrael is generally unavailable or especially expensive, American milk is acceptable, as the government supervision is adequate to prevent non-kosher ingredients from being added.

It should be added that the above only applies to milk itself, which is marketed as pure cow's milk. All other dairy products, such as cheeses and butter, may contain non-kosher ingredients and always require kosher certification. In addition, Rabbi Feinstein's ruling applies only in the United States, where government regulations are considered reliable. In other parts of the world, including Europe, Cholov Yisrael is a requirement.

There are additional esoteric reasons for being stringent regarding Cholov Yisrael, and because of this it is generally advisable to consume only Cholov Yisroel dairy foods.

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