OU Kosher Symbols Explained

OU Kosher Staff

What do the Different Kosher Certification Symbols Mean?

An ‘OU’ symbol indicates:

  • The product is Kosher (but not necessarily Kosher for Passover).
  • The product contains neither dairy nor meat, nor any dairy or meat derivatives.
  • The product was not made on dairy equipment.
  • The product was not made on equipment used for making meat products.
  • In Kosher Lexicon, such a product is called ‘Pareve’ or ‘Parve’.

Equipment, pots, dishes, cutlery, etc that has not been used for dairy and not for meat is also called ‘Pareve Equipment’, ‘Pareve Pots’ etc.

  • Pareve foods may be eaten with milk or with meat.
  • Pareve foods may be re-cooked in any Kosher equipment be it meat or be it dairy.

Kosher Dairy Certified

An ‘OU-D’ symbol indicates:

  • The product is  dairy  or has been on dairy equipment.
  • The product contains a dairy ingredient or a dairy derivative.
  • Alternatively, the product, while not containing dairy ingredients itself, was made on equipment also used for making dairy products.
  • Kosher laws do not permit a dairy food to eaten or cooked with meat or with foods made with meat ingredients.

Kosher laws dictate that if one has just eaten meat, one must wait a prescribed time before being allowed to eat a product marked OU-D.

  • An OU-D product may not be reheated on or with any equipment, pot, pan, dishes, cutlery that was used for meat.
  • An OU-D product should not be heated in a pot, pan, or used with dishes, cutlery that were used for meat. Doing so could possibly make both the product and the utensil not Kosher.
  • OU Dairy Kosher certified products may or may not be Chalav Yisrael.

OU-DE Product was made on dairy equipment.

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.

Kosher laws do not permit meat  a food with meat ingredients to be eaten with or cooked with dairy or with foods made with dairy ingredients.

Kosher laws dictate that if one has just eaten dairy, one does not have to wait a prescribed time before being allowed to eat a product marked OU-M or OU-Glatt. Though it is suggested to either rinse the mouth or have a half hour wait between the dairy food and meat.

An OU-M or an OU-Glatt product may not be reheated on or with any equipment, pot, pan, dishes, cutlery that was used for dairy.

An OU-M or OU-Glatt product that had been reheated on or with any equipment, pot, pan, dishes, cutlery that was used for dairy, would possibly make both the product and the utensil not Kosher.

Kosher Fish Certified

An ‘OU-Fish’ symbol indicates:

  • The product has fish ingredients (but not necessarily Kosher for Passover).

The product should NOT be eaten with nor cooked with meat or with foods made with meat ingredients.

It is permitted to eat an OU-F product right before or right after having meat.

Products which are marked with the OU-F kosher logo may be eaten and cooked together with Dairy foods.

While Kosher law allows cooking an OU-F product on meat equipment, it has become a custom to have a separate pot for cooking or reheating fish

Please Note the following: On products where the fish content is recognizable – either because the product is a fish or the product name includes the name of a fish (i.e. Tuna Salad) the designation might be a plain OU, as well as it might be OU-F.

In either case, Kosher laws nix eating fish and meat together.

It is in situations where the fish ingredient is not obvious, that the OU-F becomes important.

In products containing a fish ingredient, as opposed to products containing a dairy or a meat ingredient, the amount of the fish ingredient in relation to the other ingredients in the product is the determining factor whether to label the product OU-F or not. If the ratio of the quantity of other ingredients in the product to the fish ingredient is less than 60 to 1, the product is labeled OU-F. If the other ingredients are equal or greater than the Kosher mandated (60 to 1) ratio, Kosher law considers the fish ingredient to have dissipated in the other ingredient and the ‘F’ will not be assigned to the product.

This will explain why some OU certified Worcestershire sauces containing anchovies, are assigned OU-F and other brands are assigned OU. In the latter case, it is because the quantity of the anchovies in the product was small so it became dissipated.

An ‘OU-P’ symbol  indicates:

  • The product is Kosher for Passover and is Pareve.

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