What is Kosher

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KF Kosher is an international organisation providing the highest standards of kosher food certification. (Our KF emblem is a registered trademark, protected under International Law against the unauthorised use of any product or service. It is the exclusive property of KF Kosher and only products and services meeting our rigorous standards are permitted to display the KF symbol.)

The word ‘kosher’ means ‘suitable for consumption by Jews according to Jewish law’.

What is Kosher?

Foods can be grouped into three broad categories:

  1. Innocuous: Some food items are always acceptable as kosher – these include unprocessed natural foods without any additives, flavourings or colourings, such as salt.
  2. Never Kosher: Some food categories are inherently non-kosher – these include pork, lobster, oyster, and crab which are prohibited by Biblical law.
  3. Kosher when certified: Other foods may be kosher if both the ingredients and the manufacturing process, meet kosher standards – as ascertained and supervised by a reliable kosher authority.

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Categories of Kosher Food

There are four main kosher food categories:

  1. Meat products: Only certain species of animals and poultry are kosher, and only then if they are slaughtered by a qualified and trained religious slaughterer, in accordance with Jewish law. Following this, the meat must be further treated by means of a special process designed to remove all the blood. (For all practical purposes, the only kosher animals are cows, sheep and goats, and the only kosher poultry are chicken, duck, turkey, geese and pigeon.) Meat products derived from non-kosher animals or poultry are non-kosher (for example lard and tallow).
  2. Dairy products: Milk and its byproducts (such as cheeses, curd, whey, lactose) are only kosher if they come from one of the kosher species of animal listed above. In addition, all diary products have to be prepared under special kosher supervision.
  3. Parev products: This is a term denoting ‘neutral’ foods, which contain no derivatives of either milk or meat, such as fruit, vegetables, fish, and chemicals.
  4. Alcoholic beverages: Alcoholic beverages, in general, are kosher, but there are special requirements relating to the production of wine and grape-juice. Consequently all wines, port, brandy and cognac have to be produced under kosher supervision.

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The Kosher Manufacturing Process

Equipment used to manufacture non-kosher products or products containing non-kosher ingredients may be unsuitable for kosher production. Often however, the equipment can be made acceptable for kosher production. This process must be controlled and carried out by a reliable kosher authority.

KF Kosher provides expert advice and guidance in relation to all aspects of this.

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Passover

This is an eight-day festival which occurs in March or April. Throughout the festival, Jews may not eat any leavened or fermented products (such as bread, cake, biscuits, pasta, noodles, as well as beer and whisky) or any products containing even the slightest quantity of these products (such as wheat flour or starch). In addition, some products such as soya, lecithin and pulses are also not used. In practice, all foods which are kosher throughout the year require additional supervision and certification to render them Kosher for Passover.

KF Kosher provides expert advice and guidance in relation to all aspects of Passover supervision.

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Glatt Kosher Lemehadrin

This is a term used to describe products which have been prepared according to the most rigorous standards for kosher acceptability. For example, milk products which not only come from a kosher animal but have also been supervised from the time of milking, will be Kosher L’mehadrin. Meat products may also be Glatt Kosher, as well as standard Kosher. If they are Glatt, they will have been prepared and supervised in accordance with special requirements.

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