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Foods -- General

What does kosher mean in relation to food?

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Kosher (kasher) refers to foods that are permitted by Jewish dietary laws and to foods which have been processed and prepared in the prescribed manner. Kosher dietary laws identify three classifications of foods: meat, dairy and pareve. Pareve (parve) refers to a neutral food that may be used with either meat or dairy. "Parve: or "pareve" are used on food labels to identify food products that would normally contain dairy products but which actually do not. This lets the consumer know that this can be used as a neutral food. Parve or pareve products are truly dairy free so would contain no diary product, lactose, sodium caseinate, whey or other milk derivatives. The symbol "U" seen on food packages denotes that it has been rated by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. The symbol "K" denotes that the food has been processed in accordance with Jewish dietary law.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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