So when you see an OU on a package (designated by a U inside a circle, or O), you know that product was certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union. When shopping for kosher products, it is important to remember that just because some items produced by a company are kosher does not mean all of the company’s products are kosher. If a symbol does not appear on the card, please contact the COR office at [email protected] or (416) 635-9550. Some kashrut agencies have been involved in food manufacturing scandals. Kosher Organics Council Kosher certification for organic and natural products Worldwide Services, FL Symbol: The "Kosher Organics" Symbol with the "Natural" or "Organic" label. The reason for this kosher food symbol DESIGNATION is based on one of the central pillars of dietary laws that does not allow for the combining of meat and milk. A handful of savvy … Kosher foods that are considered neutral (i.e. A “K” or “OU” kosher symbol basically means that the food-manufacturing process was overseen by a rabbi who, theoretically, ensured that it met Jewish dietary laws. America also leads the world in the number of regional kosher certifiers it supports. Ensuring that a product is kosher is something many people take very seriously, so they want to be positive that the people charged with that duty know what they’re doing, and are present consistently enough to be sure that nothing improper is going on. Kosher symbols not only ensure that the food is kosher, they also identify the kosher certifying organization that issued the certification. Kosher species of meat and fowl must be ritually slaughtered in a prescribed manner to be kosher. Kosher symbols are registered trademarks of kosher certification organizations, and cannot be placed on a food label without the organization’s permission. America also leads the world in the number of regional kosher certifiers it supports. There are plenty of lists of reliable hechshers, usually organized geographically, but they're quite lengthy and can be tough to slog through. In addition to the familiar prohibitions against pork and mixing meat and dairy substances, … A product is “kosher” if a rabbi determines and certifies that it meets the requirements of Jewish dietary law, which is no mean feat in these days of additive-laden prepackaged foods. Pronounced: HEK-sher, Origin: Hebrew, kosher certification for foods, and some other items, identifies product as complying with Jewish law. As a public service, the Chicago Rabbinical Council is presenting a list of common acceptable kosher symbols and their agencies' contact information. These include Organized Kashrut Laboratories (better known as "the OK"); the Orthodox Union (OU), one of the oldest and largest Orthodox Jewish organizations in America; the Kof-K, the first kashrus organization to introduce computer technology to the complexities of kashrus supervision/management; and Star-K, which originally served the Baltimore Jewish community exclusively. Particularly prominent among the various international kosher supervisors are the London Beit Din, the Kashrus Council of Canada, Kosher Australia, and Rabbi Mordechai Rottenberg (Chief Rabbi of Paris). “Kosher” is a term used to describe food that complies with the strict dietary standards of traditional Jewish law. A How-to Primer for All Your Pesach Needs, The 10 Best Fruitcakes to Order Online in 2020, The 8 Best Vegan Meal Delivery Services of 2020. Registered dietician, teacher, and award-winning cookbook author who has been exploring Jewish cuisine for almost 20 years. Only animals that chew their cud, have cloven hooves and are free from disease are considered kosher. A Letter of Certification (LOC) will be issued. You can look up all the symbols and their organizations here. Each variation of a kosher symbol (including the letter ‘D’ to represent a Dairy status, or the letter ‘P’ to represent approval for Passover) has a serious impact on the kosher status of the product, and a part of our certification service is reviewing each and every product label design before it is used, to ensure the correct information is provided. "P" designates "Kosher for … Common Kosher Symbols guide. So all processed foods and eating establishments require certification by a reliable rabbi or kashrut supervision agency. KSA stands for Kosher Supervision of America, and so on. Look closely at a kosher food label and you'll see a small little sign like these (pictures of the symbols) on the front of the packages. In order for commercially produced goods to be considered kosher, a recognised certification agency must certify that the foods meet all of the requirements of kashrut (Jewish dietary law). Upon confirmation of compliance with all the kosher requirements, the details of supervision and financial obligations will be handled. Kosher Check Certification opens new markets for your products. All Rights Reserved. Well, because some people only trust certain organizations to do a good job of making sure something is kosher. Directory of Kosher Certifying Agencies There are well over 1,400 kosher certifying agencies in the world today. There is an entire subset of kashrus designations, including Kosher for Passover, Dairy, Meat, Parve, D.E., and M.E. A cRc comes from the Chicago Rabbinical Council. This overview of lists by hechsher type can provide a helpful breakdown of the different types of hechshers and the organizations that provide them. Meat and dairy products cannot be cooked or consumed together. A full list and guide is available here. Pronounced: kahsh-ROOT, Origin: Hebrew, the Jewish dietary laws. There may be additional letters indicating the presence of meat, dairy, or fish. How much time is required between eating meat and dairy? Foods certified as kosher for Passover get a separate label that says “kosher for Passover” or “kasher l’Pesach.” Sometimes the label has the Hebrew words only, which look like this: Here is an example of a kosher-for-Passover label on a product: In this context, the P at the end stands for Passover. It also verifies that the product was not made on equipment that is also used for making dairy products. Is the “certified food coloring” made from non-kosher ingredients? The letter "P" in Kosher labeling never denotes "Pareve". If you find out that your babysitter has been giving your kids ice cream for dinner, you might decide not to trust that babysitter to be in charge of your kids ever, even if you ensure that there’s no ice cream in the house. My Jewish Learning is a not-for-profit and relies on your help, Question: I’ve noticed that there are a lot of different symbols that indicate something is kosher. To help explain why people don’t all trust the same labels, I consulted with Rabbi Asher Lopatin, president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School. What’s the difference? Note: under Kosher laws, fish is considered to be "neutral". Each ever-evolving list highlights major players in kashrut supervision, photos of their hechshers on actual products (instead of black-and-white logos), agency history, contact information, and more. A kosher symbol on a food product means that the product has been certified kosher from an agency. Many states have at least one kosher supervision agency;  states with large Orthodox communities like California, New York, New Jersey, and Florida often have several. Some hechshers are bestowed by rabbis operating solo, which tends to spark questions about training, credentials, personal religious practice, the ability of said rabbis to be present on-site for proper inspection of food manufacturing facilities, etc. While these hechshers may not be considered appropriate or reliable for Orthodox kosher consumers, for those who find them acceptable, they are an important part of personal kashrut observance. As you might expect, a rabbi whose brother is the head of a kosher certification body might be inclined to tell his community that his brother’s organization is the best one out there. Understanding Kosher Food Symbols In order to be considered kosher, almost all products (barring specific products like bottled water) require kosher certification. Finally, it’s worthwhile to note that all of the kosher certification bodies are competitors with each other, and so it behooves them to maintain firmly that their own hashgacha (supervision) is the most trustworthy. Is the machinery at the plant only used for this product, or is it also used for producing non-kosher foods without being koshered in between? “Caveat Emptor.” Although the details of kashrut (the laws governing kosher food and drink) are extensive, the laws derive from a few straightforward rules: It carries no legal or halakhic significance, and is therefore not a guarantee of kosher status. There are many out there that differ from region to region. Kosher Meat Certified An ‘OU-Meat’ symbol or an OU-Glatt symbol indicates: The product is Kosher meat or a product with meat ingredients or a derivative of meat (but not necessarily Kosher for Passover) Alternatively, the product, while not containing meat ingredients itself, was made on equipment also used for making meat products. If all products with kosher symbols on them have been certified as kosher by someone, then why do we need so many symbols? One of my friends only eats things with some of the symbols, and not others. Kosher Food: What Makes Food Kosher or Not, What It Means to Keep Kosher for Passover. The same applies when alternating between dairy/meat and Pareve productions. Why Do People Really Keep Kosher, Anyway? Your annual fee will be based on the amount of work required by BIR. We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and bring you ads that might interest you. Many states have at least one kosher supervision agency; states with large Orthodox communities like California, New York, New Jersey, and Florida often have several. Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses. How to decode the different kosher labels. “Kosher symbol” is the common term people think of when they are actually referring to a kosher certification symbol. Igud Hakashrus of Los Angeles (Kehillah Kosher) Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) Scroll K Vaad Hakashrus of Denver. Is the emulsifier in the food made from vegetable or non-kosher animal fat? Kosher food is divided into three groups: meat, dairy and pareve (neither meat nor dairy). (There are actually dozens of symbols used by different kosher certifying agencies.) There are literally hundreds of different hechshers, or kosher certification symbols, that appear on foodstuffs, beverages, and dining establishments of all types around the world. kosher guide > Common Kosher Symbols. MK- Canada's Kosher Certifier. When it comes to labeling, Kosher foods are either labeled “meat,” “dairy,” or “neutral.” The letter “P” denotes Pareve, which means it contains neither meat nor dairy. A kosher food that is processed or cooked together with a non-kosher food, or any derivative of non-kosher food, becomes non-kosher. He said that sometimes a rabbi or organization will accept a halachic (Jewish legal) leniency regarding food that others take issue with. There are some supervisions — local and national — where people have seen first hand that the mashgiach [the person in charge of supervising the facility for its kashrut] is not around and that things are going on that might make the products non-kosher.”. There can be (and have been) all kinds of political shenanigans related to kashrut and kosher supervision, but it’s difficult to know exactly if and when this is going on. “While there have been some lenient opinions over the centuries regarding gelatin,” Rabbi Lopatin said, “current Orthodox practice, at least in the Diaspora, is to not accept gelatin from non-kosher animals. But kosher symbols on products mean that each ingredient, even food additives, meets strict regulations. Rabbi Lopatin brought up other concerns a community might have: “The second issue might be that while the rabbi giving the supervision might be a great scholar, he might not have the expertise to supervise a complicated system which requires expertise in modern machinery and processing systems. Login . Therefore, supervisions which do accept the leniencies of gelatin from non-kosher animals are not acceptable to (Orthodox) community standards.” And once you have an organization that allows for gelatin from a non-kosher animal, the community might be nervous accepting that organization’s supervision on any food, even if it doesn’t contain gelatin. Kosher foods are those that conform to the Jewish dietary regulations of kashrut (dietary law), primarily derived from Leviticus and Deuteronomy.Food that may be consumed according to halakha (law) is termed kosher (/ ˈ k oʊ ʃ ər /) in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér (כָּשֵׁר ‎), meaning "fit" (in this context, fit for consumption). An OU, a triangle K, a cRc in a triangle, etc. Kosher Miami Vaad … Some cater to very specific segments of the Israeli Jewish community while others have a wider scope and appear on many exported foodstuffs. There are four big regulating agencies with recognizable symbols for Kosher: the OU, Kof-K, OK, and Star-K. A handful of savvy certifiers, most notably EarthKosher and Natural Food Certifiers, are now offering companion certifications to go with their kosher approvals. Guide to Kosher Symbols and Certifications. The letter “K” simply means “Kosher.” Kosher, in Hebrew, means fit or proper, and is generally used to describe foods that are prepared in accordance with special Jewish dietary laws. As interest in organic, vegan, and GMO-free foods grows, kosher consumers have begun to seek out these special designations, along with kosher certification. All this talk of food supervision is making me hungry. Though there are plenty of secular Jews living in Israel, a far greater percentage keep kosher compared to Jews living elsewhere. You can tell if a product is certified by looking for the appropriate kosher symbol on the package. What The Labels and Symbols Mean So when you see an OU on a package (designated by a U inside a circle, or O), you know that product was certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union. I think it’s high time that I supervise the making of some cookies…. ), Pronounced: PAHRV or pah-REV, Origin: Hebrew, an adjective to describe a food or dish that is neither meat nor dairy. Kosher Check Certification is a process by which food manufacturers ensure their food is kosher (fit for consumption by observant Jews) and meets food safety standards. A true kosher symbol is backed up by a respected kosher certification organization. Not all products require a separate kosher-for-Passover certification. The OU Symbol of Kosher Certification represents the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, with an image of the letter “U” inside a circle. The kosher consumer is advised to always investigate who stands behind the symbol before purchasing any product. As in the United States, there are a plethora of kosher supervising organizations, each with its own hechsher. One is money. Arguably, the best known and most widely available one in North America is the Orthodox Union’s, which looks like this: The Hebrew spelling of “kosher,” which appears on certain seals and certificates, looks like this: Since kosher laws require keeping meat and dairy separate, kosher products always specify whether or not they are meat (also known as fleishig), dairy (also known as milchig or chalavi) or pareve (containing neither meat nor dairy). The sheer array of these kosher stamps of approval can be mind-boggling even to consumers who keep kosher for religious reasons and who are well-versed in the kosher laws. Common Kosher Symbols. Pronounced: KOH-sher, Origin: Hebrew, adhering to kashrut, the traditional Jewish dietary laws. Among other symbols for kosher foods, the OU is one of the oldest, having approved of kosher products since 1923. For many Jews, kosher is about more than just health or food safety. Answer: You’re right that there are dozens of different symbols that indicate something is kosher. The four biggest kosher supervision agencies in the world all originated and are headquartered in the United States. The Kosher symbol may then be applied to the certified products that you produce. The letter "K" by itself cannot be trademarked, and therefore can be affixed to a product by anyone. An overview of what's involved in observing Jewish dietary laws. These dietary laws prohibit the consumption of certain foods, require that foods be processed in certain ways, and, most importantly for the food allergic, prohibit the mixing of dairy products and meat products. not "dairy" or "meat") have the word "Pareve" or "Parve" after the Kosher symbol. Not only does it protect the item, it also promotes it and provides the consumer with any relevant information such as allergy data or even kosher symbols on food packaging that identify the product’s kosher certification. Kosher symbols are a seal of authenticity that help consumers buy legitimate kosher products. Copyright © 2002-2021 My Jewish Learning. dairy, parve, meat or Kosher for Passover. Their symbols, "OU," "Kof-K," "OK," and "Star-K" are the most readily recognized kosher certification symbols around the globe. Why So Many Different Symbols and Agencies? The modern Kosher symbol on our everyday foods tersely and purposefully shows that a vast amount of knowledge, time, and effort has been expanded to verify the kosher –Pam, Austin. Pronounced: FLAY-shug, Origin: Yiddish, meaty, an adjective to identify foods containing meat or dishes that are used for meat. Most people come up with a standard policy about which symbols they’ll accept in conjunction with their rabbi and/or community. “Kosher” foods are foods which meet Jewish dietary laws. In addition to the symbol, many agencies indicate whether the product is dairy ("D"), meaty ("Meat"), pareve ("Pareve"), or kosher for Passover ("P"). Pronounced: MILL-khig, Origin: Yiddish, dairy, as an adjective to describe food containing dairy, or dishes used for foods containing dairy. (Kosher laws prohibit serving meat and dairy together. Pronounced: huh-LAKH-ic, Origin: Hebrew, according to Jewish law, complying with Jewish law. The packaging in which food and beverage items are sold serves a number of purposes. Get easy-to-follow, delicious recipes delivered right to your inbox. While the OU, OK, Kof-K, and Star-K have deep international reach, there are kosher agencies on all six habitable continents. Issue is that sometimes a rabbi or kashrut supervision agency having approved of kosher.... 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