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Krill Oil


Rabbi David Sperling

Tammuz 20, 5775
May Krill oil be taken for its health benefits?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Krill oil is made from "extract prepared from a species of Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba", and the krill itself "are small crustaceans of the order Euphausiacea" (Wikipedia). Crustaceans are, of course, not kosher, as they do not have fins and scales that are the necessary signs of the kashrut of seafood. That being so it is clear that krill oil is also not kosher. So, in general one is not allowed to eat non-kosher food, including krill oil. However, in certain cases it is in fact permitted to partake of such food. Firstly, if the person is in a life or death situation, it is a mitzvah to eat non-kosher food if that is what is needed to save a life. (But I am unaware of such a serious medical condition that requires krill oil as its cure). Next, if the food has been changed into a non-food form, then it is permitted to sick people, even if there is no danger to their lives. If the krill oil has been extracted and changed in such a form that it is no longer a food – for example it is now in tablet form – then someone who is sick would be permitted to eat such a tablet. (It would seem that the capsule form that krill oil is sold in does not meet this requirement, as it is pure krill oil, which is a regular non-kosher food still in its original form – and as such would only be allowed in a life and death situation). So, in summary, you should stay away from krill oil. Interestingly enough I found on the website of a major manufacturer of krill oil capsules the following statement in their Q&A section – "Q: Is Krill Oil (regular, women’s and kids) kosher? A: Krill Oil is not Kosher certified because krill is a crustacean and in the same sort of category as pork." Blessings.
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