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The Why of Kosher Certification

Keeping kosher involves kosher certification. The process for kosher certification follows the rules of Kashrut as outlined by the Torah. The word Kashrut comes from a Hebrew word whose root meaning is fit, proper, or right. These rules simply make sense and order out of the body of work in the Torah that details how to keep, or make foods “fit” or “proper” for Jewish consumption. Kosher may also mean things used in Jewish ritual, outside of food, are made proper for use.

Rabbis and other members of Jewish religious office do not “bless” things to make them kosher. Any natural food may be kosher just by definition. Any Jewish person may keep kosher, especially if fruits and vegetables are homegrown. Kosher certification is a byproduct of our time. Beyond the meat processing aspect of keeping kosher, kosher certification is most often necessary for processed food products. Rabbis may really ascertain that a processed product if really made from all ingredients that are found follow the Kashrut rule.

There are Jewish kosher certification organizations that issue a symbol to processed food products once they are identified as truly kosher. Food processors invite the scrutiny, since it means more sales of goods once they receive the symbol. It can usually be found on the outside of the packaging, near the ingredients list. The process, itself, involves strict examination of all ingredients to see that they follow the dietary laws, examination of the processing plant and equipment, and periodic checks on both. The estimation is ¾ of all processed foods sold in the United States has some type of kosher certification mark on it. The certification marks themselves are trademarked and cannot be used unless a certification body assigns them. But, the letter K on any product does not necessarily mean a product is kosher; since this is a letter of the alphabet, it cannot be trademarked. Most Jewish people know this and they look for known kosher certification symbols. There are several because there is more than one Jewish kosher certification group.

Though any kosher certification is valid under Jewish dietary laws, there are different kosher standards based on these laws, therefore depending on how an individual or family practices their religion, even with kosher certification, they may or may not eat the processed item. Making things even simpler, many symbols now differentiate ingredients to be of meat, dairy, or neutral status. All of this does not increase the cost of any processed item to any noticeable degree so that non-Jewish people need to feel burdened with an unnecessary cost to items the regularly buy.

It is an aid to non-Jewish people who want to keep to strict vegetarian diets. If a processed food is given kosher certification to not have any meat components then it truly is a vegan food. It is fascinating to note, even Muslims will search for kosher certified foods, since their dietary rules closely follow the same restrictions and guidelines as Jewish foods do. Kosher certification on any processed food can only mean it has been thoroughly checked and rechecked for everyone’s consumption.

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