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Faithandfood Fact Files - Sikhism

“There is nothing impure in food and drink; all sustenance is the gift of God”
Guru Nanak Asa Di Var

Forbidden ingredients
Main food beliefs
Eating in restaurants
Feasting and fasting
About the writer

The Faithandfood Fact File bookmarks are the same for each religion. Compare this religion with the dietary beliefs of another faith by clicking on the name of the religion on the toolbar on the left.

Which ingredients are forbidden?

  • Halal meat
  • Kosher meat
  • Alcohol

What are the main laws or beliefs relating to food?
Sikhs do not believe in ritual killing and are told to refrain from eating meat (halal and kosher) killed by such rites.

Sikhs are expected to be active and alert and are therefore required to refrain from alcohol and drugs; not on the grounds of impurity but mental and physical fitness

Is there a link with vegetarianism?
Because of influences of the sub continent social environment, some Sikhs will not eat beef; others will not eat pork and others will be vegetarians. Because of such varieties and sensitivities all food served in a gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) is vegetarian.

In general, will people of this faith eat in a food outlet that serves food or drink that does not conform to their beliefs?
Sikhs would not eat in restaurants that are exclusively halal or kosher. Other than that, there are no constraints on where Sikhs may eat.

When and why do people of this faith feast and fast?

Links to websites with further information:

If you have any question about the dietary practises or beliefs in this faith, you may contact


Written by Dr Indarjit Singh, OBE
Dr Indarjit Singh is the most widely known voice of the UK Sikh community. Dr Singh is a frequent contributor to national newspapers and magazines in the UK and abroad. He is a regular contributor to programmes on Radio 2 and Radio 4. He edits the highly respected ‘Sikh Messenger’ and is Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations (UK), which has more than 80 affiliates. In 1989, Dr Singh became the first non-Christian to be awarded the UK Templeton Prize ‘for the furtherance of spiritual and ethical understanding’. In 1991 he received the Inter faith Medallion for services to religious broadcasting. He was awarded the OBE in June 1996.

Note: Some people who are Sikhs may not observe the dietary laws stated above. Prohibitions and restrictions even within a particular faith may change between denominations or branches. Please do not take this as an authoritative list. This page is meant as a guide only and are the beliefs of the writer.

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