Eggs are not chicken?

According to a Jewish friend of mine, with respect to a kosher diet: eggs are not classified as meat and hence you can mix milk and eggs, but chicken does count as meat and so you can not mix milk and chicken.—why? How is an egg not a chicken? Or put another way, how is a chicken not an egg?

If an egg were a chicken, then the question: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” would essentially be “Which came first, the chicken or the chicken?”

When you or someone you know menstruates, do you think a little unfertilized person gets flushed down the toilet?

Look up “egg” in the dictionary. Then look up “chicken.”

There ya go.

Please note the word “unfertilized” in the above post. I’ll say it again: I’m talking about unfertilized eggs, in a completely neutral way. No value judgements were made, so please don’t read any into it. Thanks.

Yes, all interesting points, but fertilized or not, isn’t the egg still chicken ‘meat?’

You gave the example of menstration, isn’t an oocyte still human tissue?

What makes that one part of the chicken some how ‘not meat?’

I always thought eggs were lumped in with dairy. They are both essentially secretions.


If you can describe a chicken egg as a secretion, you can just as easily describe a new born mammal as a secretion.

Thanks for the blow to my self-image.

No, but did the ancient Hebrews know of the correspondence between eggs and menstruation? Keep in mind that until the last century, there were still some cultures that professed to know of no causal relationship between sex and pregnancy. If there was an official explanation for the classification, it probably didn’t come from a scientific knowledge of reproductive biology.

Egg is not meat because neither the yolk nor the white (cooked or uncooked) looks like the flesh or muscles that one associates with an animal slain to be eaten. There is no question that chickens (and ducks, geese, etc.) develop from the eggs, but the laws were not writtten with an eye to potential development. Dietary laws tend to fix on the actual product being consumed. In addition, there is usually a certain special regard to blood in many dietary laws, and an egg has not developed to the point where one will encounter blood in the animal. (I do not know what the rules of kashrut say regarding the occasional eggs that have a tiny bit of red liquid, often identified as blood, in them, but a “normal” egg will have no blood coursing through veins.) In Christian laws of abstinence from meat (at least in the West), animals that are cold-blooded (fish, turtles, etc.) are exempt from the abstinence laws.

Nor to taxonomy. The dietary laws of Leviticus list bats as one of the forbidden “birds”.

Nor to taxonomy. The dietary laws of Leviticus list bats as one of the forbidden “birds”.
<Calvin>Bats are bugs.</Calvin>

I think that tomndebb has nailed it.

Under Biblical law, even chicken itself is not considered “meat” insofar as the laws of kashrut. It is easily confused with mammalian meat, though (consider, for example, the fact that they both have to be slaughtered and drained of blood in a precise way according to Jewish law, and are both sold at butcher shops); and for that reason, the Rabbis extended the laws of milk-and-meat mixtures to milk-and-fowl mixtures as well. So it would seem - although I haven’t found any supporting citation on this - that they had no reason to include eggs in this prohibition, since they’re completely dissimilar to flesh of any kind.

(When eggs - whether completely or partially formed - are found in a slaughtered chicken, they may indeed be considered “meat” for purposes of these laws. I’m not up on the details, however.)

Incidentally, as far as bloodspots in eggs: Technically, in some cases the blood could be removed and the egg would remain kosher. There are other cases where the entire egg becomes forbidden, though, and since it’s not always easy to tell which rule should apply in a particular instance, the practice is to prohibit the entire egg in all cases.

psychonaut’s observation is on point.

Religious laws about diet are not statements on taxonomy or on much of anything else except religious laws on diet.

Similarly, every Lent Catholics get into largely pointless arguments among themselves and with non-Catholics over why chicken is meat but eggs and fish aren’t. The answer has nothing in particular to do with chicken, eggs, or fish. It has to do with the few token rules of fasting which the Catholic Church has retained.

In much the same way, years ago the Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes are a vegetable for the purposes of some tax laws. The justices were not making a determination about plant biology. They were merely passing judgment on how tax laws were to be applied.

Incidentally, the fact that Leviticus classifies bats as birds is not a mistake of taxonomy, it is merely an example of a different system of taxonomy than we use today. Modern taxonomy, while rational and based on consistent principles, is an artificial construct; the organisms exist first and then categories are invented and imposed upon them.

People often act as though the reverse were true, and that the categories are real and the reality of organisms is determined by our classification of them. Stephen Jay Gould, for one, wrote at length about this. An interesting example of this fallacy occurs in Jurassic Park, when Sam Neil offers as a proof that dinosaurs are related to birds the fact that the scientific name given to a species of dinosaurs suggests that they are related to birds; this logic suggests that someone manufactured the dinosaurs after creating a category for them, or that the dinosaurs named themselves, and wouldn’t lie.

Another culture, in another age, was entitled to develop its own taxonomy.

a simple view - meat is solid, egg is ‘liquidish’. it’s easy to justify egg being more similar to milk than meat…

For cryin’ out loud, folks! An unfertilized egg has NO possibility of developing into a chicken – it has no DNA, no ribosomes, no muscle proteins, nothing chicken-like whatsoever. It’s chicken FOOD, not chicken. Next you’ll be telling me that milk is baby cows.

You are right Nametag, it is not a new chicken, my point is that it is still part of the old chicken. The egg (oocyte) is just another cell within the chicken ovaries, and the chicken ovaries are classified as chicken meat.

Shijinn, I like your point that egg white is very much the analogy to milk, it is just protein, produced by the chicken, to feed its developing young, and very liquid. But the yolk, is pure and simply, one big chicken cell, haploid as it may be, it is still a chicken cell, and hence meat.

I’m getting the impression that you’re looking for an argument, rather than an answer. You’ve already gotten a good answer, but refuse to accept it.

An egg is no more “still part of the old chicken” than a grain of sand is still part of the granite mountain from which it came. In fact, an egg is LESS “still part of the old chicken” than the flakes of skin you are constantly shedding are “still part of the old emacknight”. By your logic, we might as well start conversing with the dust in your house, since it’s “still part of” you?

I think we all ought to meet at KFC, and discuss this over a nice plate of chicken ovaries and eggs.

That’s true, the word “PART” should not really be there since at this point is has obviously left the chicken. My point was that the oocyte was developed in the chicken’s ovaries, was left unfertilized as it grew, eventually coated itself with calcium and was released from the chicken. At which point along that path did the oocyte stop being chicken meat?

And like you said, a pebble isn’t part of the granite mountain, but it is still granite. If you were told not to build with granite and slate at the same time, would it seem right to say, “this piece of granite fell off, so its not granite any more”? If the chicken’s wing fell off, would it be considered chicken meat?

I’m not saying the egg is A chicken, I’m saying it IS chicken, or at the very least chicken meat.

Life begins at conception.

Not a single one of the salmon Eggs, lizard eggs, or spider eggs I saw last month at my university lab had anything to do with chickens.

P.S. Dinosaur eggs pretty much prove that the egg came first, the chicken did not develop until millions of years later.