Foods that conform to Jewish dietary law are referred to as being kosher. The word kosher literally means fitting, acceptable.
Jewish dietary law has its origins in Biblical and Talmudic law. Those foods that conform to Jewish law are accepted as kosher, while those that do not, are not acceptable for consumption by the kosher consumer. It is of interest to note that other groups such as Muslims and the health conscious public align themselves closely with the kosher consumer.
The Kosher Process
The three basic steps that comprise the kosher certification process are:
There are many ingredients that are kosher in their natural state, such as grains, fruits and vegetables. However, some of these ingredients may lose their kosher status during the processing stage. There are those ingredients which are intrinsically non-kosher. Examples of this would be pork, ham and camel’s milk. Any derivatives of a non-kosher ingredient are also non-kosher. Examples of this would be glycerin, gelatin, castoreum, civet and emulsifiers, derived from a non-kosher source.
Just as the ingredients must be kosher, so too, the processing equipment must be kosher. Equipment that had previously been used for non-kosher food processing may have been compromised in one of two ways. First, any residue remaining on the equipment would contaminate any kosher food produced on that same equipment. Secondly, a small amount of the non-kosher formulation is absorbed into the walls of the processing equipment. This would then leech out and contaminate any subsequent kosher productions.When a company decides to go kosher, their equipment must be kosher sanitized, which would in essence purge any non-kosher ingredients from their equipment.
Some processes require the Rabbi present for the entire production run, while others require only a monthly or bimonthly plant visitation.
Dairy, Meat, Parve
In Jewish dietary law, all foods fall into one of these three categories. Meat and dairy products are never mixed or eaten together. Parve, or neutral foods may be used together with either meat or milk products. Parve foods would include fruits, vegetables eggs etc. Because of this differentiation, the kosher consumer seeks out this information when they shop.
Fees & Visitation
Kosher certifying agencies charge a fee which is commensurate with the time, effort and expertise necessary to properly administrate an effective certification program for the company.
The cost of a full year of kosher certification is generally a fraction of the cost of any other marketing tool that a company may have at its disposal. With a proper kosher certification program in place, your company will be opening its doors to a $45 billion* marketplace. The kosher market is not just limited to the Jewish consumer. Others, such as Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, vegetarians and people with health concerns all benefit from kosher certified products.
Cleveland Kosher is a premier non-profit kosher certifying
agency based in the Great Lakes region.