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All you need to know about the Kosher certification

Posted by Bertrand Duteil on 20/10/2016

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With 14,5 million Jewish people around the world and more than 85% of believers spread over the USA and Israel, Judaism is one of the three major monotheistic religions in the world. Similarly to Islam with the Halal dietary rules, Judaism sets the rules of the “Kashrut” (from the Hebrew  כַּשְׁרוּת, kashruth) in the Torah.

With a market steadily increasing, this matter gets more and more important for purchasing and producing companies in the food industry. Therefore, kosher food should be clearly labelled for an easy identification by the end-consumers. Labels are generally attributed after production facility audit to prove the following of the Kashrut rules during the manufacture of a given product.

Are you a purchasing company which needs Kosher certification from your suppliers or a producing company which would wish to get certified? Here is what you need to know about the Kosher Certification.

What is kosher?

The jewish dietary rule, the Kashrut, describes the different rules in the production and consumption of food, food additive and dietary supplement. It determines which food is “kosher” (from the Hebrew כָּשֵׁר . kashér - allowed for consumption) or not.

The three basic aspects of the Kashrut rules are:

1- The identification of the animals allowed for consumption
2- The interdiction of consuming blood
3- The separation between “meat”, “dairy products” and “neutral” food

The Kashrut represents the connection between the physical and the spiritual, giving it a high significance in Judaism. The dietary rules first differentiate if an animal is kosher or not. This is the reason why Orthodox Jews, who strictly live by the Kashrut, do not consume any pork or sea animals (except fish) which are seen as not kosher. For the kosher animals such as beef or lamb, they also have to be slaughtered and prepared according to the Kashrut rules in order to be seen as kosher and to be consumed as such.

Because of this constraint, the producing companies and manufactures have to set up a transparent supply chain and to be able to follow the purchased raw materials.

Which certifications can I get?

There are few standard certification and labels existing in Europe for kosher food. Nevertheless, there are several lists which have been established to easily identify kosher food. One of those lists has been created by the Orthodox Rabbi Conference in Germany (link in German).

A large number of certifications exists in the USA in highly populated Jewish communities lives with strong demand for kosher foods. Kosher certification (also known as Kashrut certification or Hechscher) are necessary for producing and handling companies in order to get their products along with their competitors. As no law actively regulates the label, there is no standard certification center. A couple of organisation  deliver the recognized certification. The most important are the following ones:

What brings me a certification?

The first effect of this certification is to assure the food safety for your jewish customers. At the same time, research shows that more and more non jewish customers also buy kosher food. Kosher food is seen as under stronger controls and inspires more quality and safety to the consumers. Furthermore, since kosher food shares most of the production standards as halal products, they also can be bought by muslim communities. Finally, a kosher certification can also bring more exports internationally to the producing company.

How can I get a certification?

The first step is to choose and contact a certification center. The company wanting to get certified will then be controlled by an independent Rabbin specialized in Kashrut and/or by a Kashrut organisation. The complete production process will be monitored and audited before the delivery or a certification.

There are supplier related and product related certifications. Product related certification must clearly define which products have been controlled and certified within the certification process in order to easily identify kosher products for the purchasing companies and the consumers.

Which information should figure on a certification?

  • Name of the certification center
  • Name and signature of the certification center representative
  • Date of the signature
  • Validity of the certification (1 year in average)
  • Note about the validity of the certification for Pesach (requiring special specifications)

For more information about Kosher food, you can read the DLG Study 9/2015 (link in German).

Do you need support for your kosher certification, but also for your suppliers and products documents? Register now for an online demonstration and discover how ecratum can help you with your supplier management and your documents requests and management.

Click HERE to register for a free online-demonstration

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