picture of fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, and bread

Special Interest Statements: Kosher

six examples of different Kosher certification company symbols

Kosher foods are foods that meet certain Jewish dietary laws. These dietary laws require the processing of foods to be done in certain ways and also prohibit both the eating of certain foods in combination with each other and also the eating of certain foods entirely. Foods that meet the Kosher dietary laws are labeled with Kosher symbols such as the ones shown. (Note: the plain letter K cannot be trademarked as it is a letter of the alphabet. Food labels including a plain K should not be trusted to be Kosher in any way.)

Kosher labeling is often a useful starting point for people with allergies to get a quick “read” on a product as the Kosher symbols are usually on the front of the package in similar places. The Kosher symbols are codes to indicate the presence of certain substances like dairy, meat, and fish or also the absence of these substances.

label emphasizing Kosher status of product However, foods can contain certain levels of cross contamination that are acceptable by Jewish Dietary laws but could provoke an allergic reaction. Nevertheless, many individuals with food allergies use the Kosher labeling as a helpful reassurance that another set of eyes was independently overseeing the food manufacturing to ensure good production policies with minimal cross-contamination.

Kosher Label Examples
Dairy label showing D after Kosher certification company's symbol"Dairy" or "D" printed near the Kosher symbol on the food package indicates the product contains some milk or milk derivative.
DE: Means that the food was processed on equipment that has had contact with dairy.
Pareve label showing Parve notation label showing parve notation"Pareve", "Parev", or "Parve" printed near the Kosher symbol on the food package indicates the item should contain neither meat nor dairy. If no lettering is placed after the company's certification logo, it is implied that the product is Parve.
Meat label showing Glatt designation with Kosher and USDA certifications“Meat”, “M” or “Glatt” printed near the Kosher symbol on the food package indicates the product is Kosher and contains some meat or meat derivative.
Fish “F” printed near the Kosher symbol on the food package indicates the product is Kosher and contains fish ingredients.
Passover label showing both Passover and Glatt designation amoung Kosher certifications“P” printed near the Kosher symbol on the food package does not stand for Pareve, but instead it means the product is Kosher for Passover and all year round. This designation can be used in combination with the other letters and categories.

For more information, you may wish to look at the Orthodox Union's Kosher Primer.

This information is not meant to be comprehensive and should not be the sole basis of making choices about food consumption.
Readers should form a comprehensive care plan with a physician if they have dietary needs and consult with food manufacturers directly with any concerns.
Those involved in the creation of this web site are not responsible for adverse consequences.