Kosher Definitions for Our Products
||Vaad Hakashrus of Buffalo, Inc
Williamsville, NY 14221
Rabbi Dovid Plaut
8 Copper Beach Lane
Lawrence, NY 11559-2606
||The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations
333 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001
You may notice alongside the symbol some letters.
- D - Implies the product has Dairy ingredients.
- DE - Implies the product is processed on Equipment that processes Dairy
- M - Implies the product contains meat / poultry or processed on meat /
- P - Implies the products is kosher for Passover, but may not be
Pareve (non-milk or meat).
The Hebrew word "kosher" means it is
proper as it relates to dietary (kosher)
laws. It means that a given product is
permitted and acceptable.
A Kosher symbol means that the
organization providing that symbol
guarantees to the best of their ability
that the product is kosher. The sources
for the laws of kashruth are of Biblical
origin and are discussed in the ancient,
medieval, and contemporary writings of
The laws of kashruth can get complex
and you should consult an observant
Rabbi when a question involving kashruth
arises. Their purpose and rationale is
simply to conform to the Divine Will as
expressed in the Bible.
With the introduction of
shipping and mass production, we have
created a situation where most of the
foods we eat are treated, processed,
cooked, canned or boxed commercially in
industrial settings which are likely to
be located hundreds or thousands of
miles away from home. It is difficult
from the label to tell what ingredients
or processes have actually been used.
Machinery is no longer kosher if it
was used to process non-kosher products.
Ingredients used in very small amounts
are not required to be listed on
packaging. These ingredients could
have come from non-kosher animals or
sources. Generic terms such as "flavors"
are often used, but provide no
information as to where the "flavors"
came from. "Chocolate Flavor" may
be a concoction of over 30 ingredients!
The Torah (Leviticus 11) says only
mammals that chew their cud (ruminants)
and are cloven-hoofed are permitted.
Fowl are limited to chicken, duck, goose
and turkey. Fish must have fins
and scales. You must not eat fish
with meat. No shellfish are
All kosher meat and fowl must be
slaughtered as directed in the
Torah/Shechita. This must be done
by a trained, kosher slaughterer, called
a shochet. A shochet has been
listed as qualified to slaughter animals
by rabbinic authorities. The
throat of the animal must be severed
with a special, blade that is very sharp
and causes instant death to the animal.
This is thought to cause no pain to the
Then, a bodek, a trained inspector,
checks the internal organs for
abnormalities. If any
abnormalities are found, the animal may
be labeled as non-kosher or treif.
This may include sirchot, adhesions,
which may indicate that the lungs have
been punctured. Only close
inspection by the bodek will determine
the kashruth status. If it is free
of adhesions, it will be labeled "Glatt
Kosher." Some Jewish communities
only allow Glatt Kosher which is
considered pure kosher.
Specific procedures, "Nikkur", are
required for preparing beef, lamb and
veal. Many of the blood vessels,
nerves and lobes of fat must be removed
and NOT eaten.
To make the meat kosher, the blood
must be extracted from the meat by
broiling or salting of the meat.
This must be done within 72 hours after
the animal is slaughtered, so that the
blood does not congeal in the meat.
But, if the meat is soaked or rinsed,
another 72 hours can go by before the
salting procedure is done. To salt
the meat, it is soaked for 30 minutes in
cool water in a vessel that is made only
for salting. The excess water is
allowed to drip from the meat and the
entire surface is covered with coarse
salt. Fowl must have the inside
and outside thoroughly salted. The
fowl must have all intestines removed
before the salting and each piece is
also salted. If any piece of the
meat is cut during the process, the cut
must also be soaked and salted.
The salted pieces of meat are left on an
inclined or slotted surface for one hour
to allow the blood to flow away from the
meat. Fowl must be hung or stood
so that the cavity is down. After
the hour is over, the meat is soaked and
washed to remove the salt.
Ground meat cannot be made kosher
after it is ground up. Meat cannot
be put into hot water before the blood
You can also make meat kosher by
broiling it. This is required for
the liver, because it has more blood
that the average meat. It is
washed to remove the blood from its
surface and salted lightly on all sides
to completely cover it. It is
broiled on a grate over an open fire
removing the internal blood. Liver
is has slits cut into it and then it is
broiled on both sides until it becomes
dry-looking and brown. Meat is
then rinsed. Different instruments
are used for the koshering of liver.
Kosher meat and poultry must be
labeled, with a metal tag called a
plumba, until it is purchased assuring
the customer that it has had rabbinic
The Torah forbids cooking meat and
milk together in any form or
eating them together. To be safe,
rabbis prohibited the eating of meat and
dairy products at the same meal or using
the same utensils to prepare them.
This means you must have two sets of
spoons, pots, plates, silverware, etc.
You must wait 3 hours after eating a
meat product before any dairy products
can be eaten. But, meat can follow
dairy products except for hard cheese (6
months or older) which must allow 6
hours between. If you eat dairy
and are going to eat meat, you must eat
a solid food and then rinse your mouth
before eating the meat.
After eating, washed dishes must be
placed on a separate rack to keep the
meat and milk dishes separate.
The eggs of non-kosher birds or fish
cannot be made kosher. Cavier must
come from kosher fish and so, they must
be supervised. If eggs from kosher
fowl have a bloodspot, they must be
discarded. Eggs must be inspected
before preparation. Commercial egg
products are supervised if they have the
Labels on baked goods must have
labels that specifically state the type
of shortening and whether or not it is
vegetable or animal and its specific
source. Sources include coconut
oil, cottonseed oil, lard, etc.
This allows the consumer to see if the
product is kosher or not. But,
that doesn't mean that the machinery
used does not sometimes have animal fats
go through it as well. While the
vegetable product is pure, it would
become non-kosher, because of the
non-kosher equipment used in the
processing. NO dairy can be used
in the baking of bread. Oils and
grease are also used to help the goods
rise. These are not listed on the label
either. So, you should look for
the kosher certification.
Emulsifiers are used in food
production to allow ingredients to mix
easily. They include mono- and
diglycerides, polysorbates, sorbitan
monostearate, and more. They are
made from both vegetable and animal
sources, and thus, require strict
supervision to ensure the kosher rating.
You should always look for a kashruth
certification before purchasing one of
these products. They include
chocolate, candy, peanut butter, ice
cream, sherbet, prepackaged cake mixes,
donuts, pudding, coffee creamers,
instant mash potatoes, margarine,
cereals and many more items that contain
It is a commandment, or mitzvah, that
when baking items with batter, a portion
of dough must be set aside for "Challah"
if it is made from the flour of barley,
oats, rye, spelt or wheat..
Challah must be burned. If flour
from these types is mixed with other
types such as corn or rice, a Rabbi
should be consulted. There are
many more rules dictating bought goods
and batters based on the weight of the
Milking of animals must be supervised to
insure that the milk comes from a kosher
animal. In the US, only cows' milk
is sold commercially, so it meets the
must have a kashruth certification.
If non-kosher coagulants are used, such
as rennet, the product is considered
Many of today's natural foods do not
meet the kosher criteria. Even
products that use pure vegetable oils
may be non-kosher due to the
manufacturer also produce animal
products on the same machinery.
Even natural products must be supervised
in order to remain kosher.
So, when it comes to remaining
kosher, use your head and look for the