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KOSHER INFO


MEAT, DAIRY AND PAREVE

Keeping kosher is an intrinsic part of the daily life of a Jew. Understanding the fundamentals of Kosher is basic to the functioning of the Jewish home. Kosher foods are divided into three categories: meat, dairy and pareve. One of the basic tenets of Kosher is the total separation of meat and dairy products. Meat and dairy may not be cooked or eaten together. To ensure this separation the kosher kitchen contains separate sets of dishes, utensils and cookware, and separate preparation areas for meat and dairy. The third category, pareve, is comprised of foods which are neither meat nor dairy and may therefore be eaten with either.

PAREVE IN JEWISH LAW

Foods that are neither meat nor dairy are called pareve. (sometimes spelt as parev or parve). This means that they contain no meat or dairy derivatives, and have not been cooked or mixed with any meat or dairy foods. Eggs, fish, fruit, vegetables, grains, and juices in their natural, unprocessed state are common pareve foods. Other pareve foods include pasta, soft drinks, coffee and tea, and many types of candy and snacks. Although pareve foods present fewer kosher complexities than either meat or dairy foods, certain points must be kept in mind:

Pareve foods may lose their pareve status if processed on dairy equipment or when additives are used. The label may give no indication of this processing. Chocolate, cookies and other snacks should not be used with meat or meaty foods unless they are certified pareve. For most companies, producing a pareve product is the ideal port of entry into the kosher market, and potentially the largest sales prospect.

PASSOVER

The festival of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is celebrated each year by the Jewish people for 8 days commemorating the Exodus out of Egypt 3000 years ago. It can fall during the months of March, April and May. It varies from year to year because the Jewish calendar is calculated by the lunar months. The main custom of Passover is that the Jewish people are not allowed to eat anything leaven made from the 5 grains- wheat, barley, oat, spelt and rye. Jews will not be able to use any pots or pans or any utensils that have had been used for grains.

In order to make sure that the Jews may not come to eat any grain products by accident, any seed that looks like grain is also not allowed to be eaten. This includes corn, maize, soybean, rapeseed, peanuts etc. Therefore any of this products or derivatives are not kosher for Passover.

However in Middle Eastern communities, corn, soy, rapeseed, peanuts and beans are allowed for Passover and they are called Kosher for Passover Kitniyot. The word Kitniyot means legumes which differentiate it from the normal Kosher for Passover which contain no legumes at all. In Kosher certification of products therefore the terms used are Kosher for Passover and Kosher for Passover Kitniyot.

INSECTS

Whereas eating pork involves a single transgression, eating a fly, worm or other kind of creepy-crawly involves several. Insects are banned, so fruit and vegetables liable to insect infestation have to be thoroughly scrutinised and cleansed.

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