Products are endorsed as kosher only when bearing the OU emblem on the label. Consumers are directed to check the ingredient panel of products on a regular basis for changes in the Kosher status that may occur as a result of reformulation.
OU KOSHER CERTIFICATION SYMBOLS FOR PAREVE, DAIRY AND MEAT CATEGORIZATIONS:
- – The products are Pareve (contain neither milk or meat ingredients). OU Pareve may contain fish or eggs.
- – The products are Dairy. These products either contain dairy ingredients or have been processed on dairy equipment.
- – The products are Meat/Poultry. Alternatively, they may contain meat/poultry ingredients or have been processed on meat equipment.
The word kosher means proper or acceptable, and it has informally entered the English language with that meaning. But kosher laws have their origin in the Bible, and are detailed in the Talmud and the other codes of Jewish traditions. They have been applied through the centuries to ever-changing situations, and these rulings, both ancient and modern, govern OU kosher certification.
The Bible lists the basic categories of food items which are not kosher. These include certain animals, fowl and fish (such as pork and rabbit, eagle and owl, catfish and sturgeon), most insects, and any shellfish or reptile. In addition, kosher species of meat and fowl must be slaughtered in a prescribed manner, and meat and dairy products may not be manufactured or consumed together.
Why do so many foods require kosher supervision? For example, shouldn’t cereals and potato chips be inherently kosher since they are not made from meat, fowl, fish or insects? The answer is that all units and subunits in a food item must be kosher as well. Thus, for example, a cereal may be non-kosher because it has raisins which are coated with a non-kosher, animal-based glycerin. Potato chips can be non-kosher if the vegetable oil used in the fryer has been pasteurized and deodorized on equipment used for tallow production. In fact, equipment used for hot production of non-kosher products may not be used for kosher production without kosherization (a hot purging procedure).