While we shop, before purchasing a particular item we routinely ask ourselves, “Is it kosher?” The prudent kosher consumer will always check the label to confirm whether a kosher symbol appears on the label. However, due to the vast number of kosher agencies that operate throughout the world, sometimes checking labels for kosher symbols can resemble alphabet soup. Today, the number of kosher symbols internationally exceeds 700, and we often find ourselves in a sea of confusion. If a kosher symbol appears on a product label, we might be tempted to tell ourselves, “It must be fine, isn’t it? I am sure it’s all the same”.
It is well known that a few generations ago the Poskim discussed whether gelatin made from animal bones is kosher, and the general consensus in the United States was that it is not kosher. This article will focus on the more-recent developments regarding this ingredient.
Not a week goes by without us at the OU learning of new Kashrut issues that arise from new developments in the food industry. Food companies are always discovering new ways to make their products better while at the same time lower their production costs. These innovations lead to new methods of production and ingredients, […]
An age-old adage declares, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” The conventional approach to understanding the profundity of this truism is that, contrary to popular belief, life in our modern-day society resembles the life of our ancestors far more than it differs from it. Lessons gleaned from history give direction on how to proceed in the future. The Ramban called this an “inyan gadol” – a matter of paramount importance – when he commented (Bereishis 12:6): Kol ma she’ira la’avos, siman labanim, “Everything that transpired in the lives of the Patriarchs is a portent for their descendants.” The Torah is the embodiment of this reality. Its laws are as contemporary as they are timeless, and its historical accounts relating the events of thousands of years ago are ever relevant to the here and now. Times may be different, but life’s challenges and appropriate responses to those challenges, as set forth by the Torah, remain the same.
For many kosher agencies, handling regular productions is…regular. Once an organization has a system in place for handling plant inspections, ingredient substitutions, label changes, new equipment and production adjustments, the key is simply to maintain the status quo. That is, until a plant wishes to do a “special production”.
Why must you always check for kosher certification, even on products you know well?
In the times of Chazal, honey was the substance that symbolized sweetness. There may have been several reasons for this, but one of them is certainly that honey was the sweetener that was available in those days. In the last few centuries honey was dethroned by sugar as the most popular sweetener in most of the world, and in the last few years even sugar has been challenged as the king of sweeteners. In food science laboratories around the world, chemists are bent on developing sweeteners that have low or no calories, have absolutely no deleterious effect on one’s health, are odorless and, like sugar, taste geshmak . Some of these are natural and some are artificial. A few of them involve real kashrus concerns.
Glossaries of computer terms usually explain that a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) is a list of the most commonly asked questions (with the answers) on a certain subject. The original idea was that the author of the FAQ saved himself the trouble of answering the same question over and over again, but the FAQ has become such a popular format, because any given subject usually involves certain obvious information that an interested person would want to know.
Taste, health and convenience are some of the considerations consumers think about when making decisions regarding foods. Of course, kosher consumers also consider the kashrus of products. But one other principle discussed in Cha’zal, chamira sakanta me’isura – laws regarding danger are more stringent than those regarding prohibition — make food safety a primary consideration. This article will focus on one unique aspect of food safety.- ruach ra’ah.
The concept of Nishtaneh and the Usage of Biotechnology for Ingredients