Kosher means ‘fit and proper’ is a Hebrew word that is used to describe the foods that are prepared, according to the Jewish dietary laws. There are strict regulations regarding the ingredients that go into making the kosher food. However, there are some restricted items that are not considered as Kosher. In the era of processed foods, it has become necessary to certify the foods as kosher food products.
Need for Kosher certification
Jewish religion only allows consumption of meat from cow, bull, deer, goat, sheep, ox and antelope. The pig, hare, hyrax and camel are considered unclean and cannot be consumed while there are similar restrictions on few other eatables and dairy products. Kosher certification is an authentication that is clean and adheres to the tenants of the Torah. Additionally, as per kosher laws, the blood and certain fats have to be removed. The birds banned under kosher are eagle, swan, owl, stroke and vulture. Jews only eat turkey, chicken and goose.
Rabbis ascertain whether the processed food product has been made using ingredients that have been allowed under the Jewish laws. Today there are a number of licensing agencies that offer Jewish kosher certification and issue a symbol to the processed food manufacturers, after proper verifications. The symbol is usually found near the ingredients list, at the side of the external packing.
Similarly all establishments that are involved in the production of the kosher food need to be certified by a competent kosher licensing agency. However, it is not an easy job to search for the right certifying agency that will be able to satisfy the needs of the kosher requirements. All the kosher certifying agencies are not the same, and hence you need to be careful, while selecting the certifying agency.
Finding the right certification company
You need to remember that a reputable certifying agency will never certify your company’s products only on the basis of mutual trust. When you start the process of selecting the right certifying agency, you should do your homework properly and study all the advantages and disadvantages of each certifying agency. Among the various requirements of the kosher certifying agency are:
- the plant visitations
- extensive review of all the equipment and formulae
- complete details of the source of raw materials
- right to audit all the kosher related documents
As per kosher regulations, it is preferred that the raw materials you buy, are sourced from a kosher approved supplier. An agency that is willing to give certificates only on the basis of trust and written communications is not a genuine agency. Thus, the certificate would hardly have any loci standing.
The best way to choose the agency is to ask for referrals from your suppliers, customers, distributors and the similar companies that have undergone the process of getting the kosher certification. The agency you choose needs to be able to provide assistance on an urgent basis. Additionally, the licensing agency needs to have a strong network so that if there are any issues, the concerned Rabbi of the area can be contacted to resolve the issues. If you are looking for referrals, you can contact the Rabbi groups, so the Rabbi responsible for the Kashruth in his area would be able to give proper guidance. The certifications by the agency, needs to be valid in the area, where you plan to supply your products.