When your product or establishment is certified Kosher, shoppers know that you comply with a strict policy of kosher food laws, including cleanliness, purity and quality. But kosher means more than responsible food preparation. Kosher refers to a set of intricate biblical laws that detail the types of food that a Jewish person may eat and the ways in which it may be prepared.
To be certified Kosher, all ingredients in every product-and the process of preparing the product-must be certified for kosher-compliance too.
Kosher foods are divided into three categories: meat, dairy and pareve. The following descriptions offer practical information for how your product or establishment can be classified.
All meat and fowl and their byproducts, such as bones, soup or gravy are classified as Meat. Thus includes products that contain meat or fowl derivatives such as liver pills. Items designated "Meat" must meet the following requirements to be considered kosher:
All foods derived from, or containing, milk are classified as dairy, including milk, butter, yogurt and all cheese - hard, soft and cream. Even a trace amount of dairy can cause a food to be considered dairy.
Dairy products must meet the following criteria in order to be certified kosher:
Foods that are neither meat nor dairy are called pareve. Common pareve foods are eggs, fish, fruit, vegetables, grains, unprocessed juices, pasta, soft drinks, coffee and tea and many candies and snacks.
Pareve presents fewer kosher complexities than meat or dairy, but certain points must be known:
There are many creatures that are not kosher, including most seafood (excluding kosher fish), insects, rodents, wild animals and their derivatives.
WINE: A special rule governs the production of wine. Even if all the ingredients in wine are of kosher origin, it is kosher only if production was done exclusively by Torah-observant Jews.
PASSOVER: The eight-day Jewish holiday of Passover involves a unique set of kosher laws. No leavened products or their derivatives may be consumed on Passover, even if they are kosher the rest of the year.