Kosher Accreditation IDA 342:2020-General Requirements for CABs offering Kosher
The Good Food Institute prepared this guide to help plant-based food manufacturers understand the process of kosher certification in order to capitalize on a global kosher food market projected to reach $60 billion by 2025.This guide is intended to provide an overview of kosher requirements and kosher-certifying agencies. We have summarized information provided by original sources, but you should consult those original sources for more details and the most up-to-date information. The information presented in this guide is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice or regulatory advisory services.
What Is Kosher?
Kosher is a term that describes food that has been sourced and prepared in accordance with Jewish biblical law as interpreted by rabbinic authorities. Kosher law dictates the types of foods that Jewish people are allowed to eat and the ways in which that food must be prepared. Kosher food is not restricted to traditional Jewish cuisine. In fact, any type of cuisine can be kosher if it abides by kosher law. However, one should note that kosher is distinct from halal. Halal refers to food that is permissible to eat under Islamic law, and the requirements under Islamic law differ from the requirements under Jewish law. The types of food that are considered kosher can be divided into three categories: meat, dairy, and pareve.
Kosher law dictates that only certain animals be eaten. Land animals are kosher if they have cloven hooves and chew cud. Animals who fit these requirements include cows, sheep, lambs, and goats. Pigs do not chew cud and thus are not considered kosher. Kosher law does not have a general rule regarding birds, but it does identify birds such as geese, ducks, chickens, and turkeys as kosher and birds such as eagles, vultures, and owls as non-kosher. Kosher law also dictates how animals must be slaughtered. It prohibits causing pain to animals, so animals must immediately be rendered unconscious and be instantaneously killed. Once an animal is dead, forbidden fat, blood, and veins must be removed from the carcass.
For dairy products to be kosher, they must come from kosher animals, such as cows or goats. Additionally, kosher dairy products cannot contain any non-kosher additives or meat derivatives. An exception to this rule is cheese made with rennet derived from a kosher-slaughtered animal.
Pareve describes any kosher food that is not meat or dairy. Examples of pareve are eggs, water, and any plant-based food (e.g., unprocessed vegetables, nuts, fruits). Pareve is somewhat nuanced. Eggs must come from kosher birds and be free of blood. While all plants are pareve, insects are not. Thus, fruits and vegetables must be carefully examined to ensure all insects are removed. Fish are considered pareve, but only fish with fins and scales are considered kosher. Because of this, shellfish are not considered kosher and cannot be eaten.