Kosher is another term for “Kashrut” which is the body of Jewish law dealing with the kind of food one can and cannot eat, and it also deals with the process of food preparation. The word kosher has come from the Hebrew word Kaph-Shin-Resh that means fit, proper, or correct. Rabbi, the leader of a Jewish congregation, is the qualified person who can expound and apply Jewish law of kosher. In today’s time of processed food, it is difficult to know what ingredients are in your food and what process has been used in the preparation of food.
In the Kosher system, foods are classified as being either “dairy,” “meat” or “neutral” (neither dairy nor meat). Foods that meet the Kosher dietary laws are labeled with one of the Kosher symbols. You can usually find these symbols in small type on the bottom front of the package. Kosher foods that contain dairy products usually contain a “D” or the word “Dairy” after the Kosher symbol. Kosher foods that are processed on “dairy equipment” (i.e., equipment that is also currently used to process items which contain dairy, or that has been used in the past to process dairy products and has not undergone a proper cleaning process since then) may have a “D” or “DE” after the Kosher symbol. From the food allergy perspective, these foods may be cross-contaminated with dairy ingredients. Kosher foods that are considered neutral (i.e. not “dairy” or “meat”) have the word “Pareve” or “Parve” after the Kosher symbol. Note: under Kosher laws, fish is considered to be “neutral”.