Kosher Food Symbols

Written by Patricia Skinner
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Many people are under the impression that there are a lot of foods that don't need to be actually declared kosher for them to be okay as part of the Jewish diet. This may be true to a certain extent, but there are exceptions to this rule. Any tiny amount of contamination with a non-kosher (treife) food renders the whole treife.

For this reason, members of the Jewish community are increasingly looking for foods that carry kosher food symbols when they go shopping. Even if a food is parve, or neutral for certain, can you be sure that it is prepared according to strict kosher standards? If a food that would be technically kosher by itself was prepared with equipment that had come into contact with any kind of treife food, or even kosher food that is not parve (such as a parve food coming into contact with dairy or meat, for example), then it would no longer be kosher.

The Meaning of a Kosher Symbol

When you buy foods with a kosher symbol on them, you are buying with confidence. Standards are very high and very exact in the kosher community. You can eat with an easy heart, knowing that you are not contravening the Jewish dietary laws in any way.

Some foods, particularly fermented foods such as soy sauce or meso, are so complex to produce according to kosher rules that it is necessary that the rabbi also be a food chemist. The larger kashrut supervision organizations, such as the O-U have the facilities for this kind of service. There are many kosher symbols, and it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the main ones so that you can shop with ease and speed.

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