Kosher 101

Not entirely familiar with the concept of ‘kosher’? Let us explain the basics...

The word kosher means “proper” or “acceptable” and has informally entered the English language with that meaning. Kosher laws have their origin in the Bible, and are detailed in the Talmud and the other codes of Jewish tradition. They have been applied through the centuries to ever-changing situations, and these rulings, both ancient and modern, govern the Kosher Check certification process.

You may already be familiar with some of the more well-known requirements, but you may be surprised at the extent of some of the more obscure regulations. The Bible lists the basic categories of food items which are not kosher. These include certain animals, fowl and fish (such as pork and rabbit, eagle and owl, catfish and sturgeon), and any shellfish, insect, or reptile. In addition, kosher species of meat and fowl must be slaughtered in a prescribed manner, and meat and dairy products may not be manufactured or consumed together.

Why do so many foods require kosher supervision? For example, one may ask: shouldn't cereals and potato chips be inherently kosher since they are not made from meat, fowl, fish, or insects? The answer is that all ingredient units and sub-units in a food item must be kosher as well. Therefore, as an example, a cereal may be non-kosher because it contains a flavoring, which in turn contains civet, a flavor enhancer extracted from an African cat-like mammal which is not kosher. Potato chips can be non-kosher if the vegetable oil used in the fryer has been pasteurized and deodorized on equipment used for production of non-kosher food items. In fact, equipment used for hot production of non-kosher products may not be used for kosher production without kosherization (a hot purging procedure).

If any of these rules seems difficult to understand, not to worry. Our team at Kosher Check is here to help your operations comply with all the rules and make sure that your products meet all the requirements. With our help, kosher certification can be a relatively hassle-free undertaking.

Here are some more resources to help you better understand the concept of Kosher:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosher_foods
http://www.jewfaq.org/kashrut.htm
http://kosherfood.about.com/od/whatiskosherfood/f/kosherfood.htm

Questions regarding certification of your company? Please contact Kosher Check's Communications and Marketing Department at 604-731-1803 # 103, by fax at 604-731-1804 or by email at kosher@bckosher.org.