What is Kosher?
Kosher refers to the proper methods of food preparation and dietary laws governing its consumption. Kosher or non-kosher can refer to the very nature of certain foods, as well as the various combinations thereof.
The term "kosher" refers to "clean, fit or proper". The origin of kosher dates back to biblical times, where specific rituals are delivered with precision to assure safe and sanitary meats. Thousands of years later, these rituals are still practiced. Today, because of the exacting method of preparation and savory flavor of all kosher products, over two thirds of kosher are bought for their superior quality and excellent taste, not just for religious reasons. For example, pork is not kosher and shellfish is not kosher. Beef is kosher as long as the animal is slaughtered properly, and cow's milk is kosher. But the mixing of meat and dairy products is never kosher.
For meat to be kosher, only healthy animals are slaughtered for use in kosher foods. These animals must have split hooves and chew their cud. Cattle and sheep are the primary animals used in the koshering process. Hogs and pigs do not chew their cuds and are therefore not kosher.
A kosher inspection starts while the animals are still alive and continues until the finished product leaves the plant. This system operates under the diligent and watchful supervision of kosher inspectors, who stringently control the process from the time the meat is slaughtered until it is shipped. Packaged foods that are kosher have a statement on the package stating the name of the rabbi who has supervised the process.
Note that for every animal passed by the USDA (Department of Agriculture) as fit for consumption, only a little more than half are accepted for kosher.
Glatt is a Yiddish term that means "perfectly smooth". This refers to animals whose lungs are free of any blemish or adhesion. Glatt is viewed by many people as a higher form of kosher. Meat that has passed inspection, whether Glatt or not, is accepted as kosher killed.
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