General Overview

What Is Kosher?

Kosher is a process of food production that adheres to dietary guidelines set forth in the Bible and clarified over the centuries by rabbinic authorities in Jewish law

Kosher observance is a historical, communal, and personal commitment, and a connection to the will of the Creator. To those who observe kosher, its concepts also offer reminders of lessons in kindness and sensitivity to animals, attention to detail in everyday matters, self-control, and thinking before acting.

The eternal principles of kosher are applicable to even the most modern food production methods. They guide how foods are chosen and processed, the quality and integrity of the ingredients, and the security of food prep areas, to ensure that the status of the food and equipment is never compromised.

Kosher means “fit” or “proper”– a concept associated with cleanliness, purity and extra supervision.

Kosher food is by nature more controlled than many other means of food production.

While kosher is primarily an ethical or faith-based observance, there are some potential benefits to eating kosher.

For instance, kosher menus separate dairy from meat products. It is interesting to observe that it is recognized that iron and calcium are not absorbed well when ingested together (“Does Calcium Interfere with Iron Absorption?” Leif Hallberg, American Society for Clinical Nutrition, 1998).

Another kosher procedure, the mandatory salting and rinsing of meat and poultry, has been studied for its ability to reduce the incidence of bacteria under certain conditions. (“Persistence of Salmonella Serotypes on Chicken Skin after Exposure To Kosher Salt And Rinsing”, Oscar, Thomas P., Journal of Food Safety 07/2008; 28(3):389 – 399. DOI:10.1111/j.1745-4565.2008.00107.x )

The meticulous nature of kosher menu planning can help consumers understand what is in their food. People with food preferences or sensitivities, including vegans, vegetarians, and those wishing to avoid dairy ingredients, could use kosher status information to make decisions about what choose to eat. Kosher food standards are more demanding than those of the FDA, which allow ingredients of less than 2% to be omitted on food labels, yet kosher certifying agencies find these to be of significance down to 0% in some special cases. For instance, food production on “dairy” equipment without the actual presence of dairy ingredients is noted on the kosher label.

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