Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kosher Certification and Kosher Food Classification

"Kosher" means proper to eat or fit for consumption. The process of making sure the food is kosher is simplified by kosher certification, Manufacturers must try to conform to the standards of kosher certification to make their products kosher.  The products that are considered kosher has a label or a logo that is associated with a certain kosher certifying organization. These kosher certification process have different degrees of strictness or standards. Some have usually high standards than the others.These organizations use kosher symbols alongside with their logo like the letter D for dairy and the letter P for kosher for Passover. Usually products that have the letter D symbol has a lesser standard -"regular kosher" or non- supervised milk. The manufacturers are charged  a fee for the kosher certification of their products. This fee is used for the expenses of determining the ingredients of the products and for the inspection of the facilities in production. The manufacturer benefits from the certification because their products become available to people who prefer kosher and  kosher foods are globally considered to have a higher food standard. Kosher certification enhances the credibility and in the marketing of the product. 

According to Kashrus laws, there are four categories for food including their components and derivatives:

1. Meat  -  Animals must chew their cud and have cloven hooves to be kosher. The birds must not be scavengers or birds of prey. The fish must have fins and scale to be permitted to eat.  Insects are definitely non-kosher.

2. Dairy  - This category includes milk and the derivatives. Milk from  a pig or a camel (non-kosher animals) is prohibited. It should come from a kosher animal only.

3. Pareve - Food is not dairy and not meat. Eggs from a kosher bird is Pareve. Fruits and vegetables are kosher by default as long as they are not bugs and insect-infested.  However, plants from the land of Israel cannot be eaten unless it is tithed. As for the drinks as long as the they contain kosher ingredients, they are generally considered kosher.

4. Non -kosher - Animals that does not chew their cud and do not have cloven hooves. Birds of prey are prohibited. Animals and birds not traditionally slaughtered are not kosher. Sea creatures like shellfish, lobster, squid etc are non-kosher. Insects and other creatures that “swarm the earth” are nonkosher. When the grape-derived products and hard cheese products are made without the supervision of a rabbi are not considered kosher. Food with the mixture of meat and milk and the mixture of meat and fish are non-kosher.