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Glatt Kosher Middle Eastern / Mediterranean Cuisine
 
Kosher Gaining Popularity in the United States

Kosher, which is a standard of quality given to food by rabbis in accordance with a complex set of guidelines based on scriptural instruction and oral tradition, is growing in popularity in the United States. However, it’s not only Jewish people that are going kosher -- it’s everyone.

In fact, the growth of kosher-certified products in recent years has been surprising even to the rabbis who certify kosher foods. In the United States, one study showed that the consumption of kosher-certified foods rose sixty-five percent between 2003 and 2013. Additionally, 28% of new foods and drinks that were produced during the same period debuted kosher. Even more interesting is that the same study revealed that only approximately 15% of those who are eating kosher are doing so because of religious beliefs.

The determination of whether or not a food is certified kosher is group of rabbis who visit food processing centers, trace ingredients, and consult with slaughterhouses and fisheries to ensure that food is being created within the standards of kosher. These discerning standards, although based through religious texts and traditions, are actually at their core simply healthy approaches to eating and food production.

Kosher certified means that a food was determined to have been created naturally without the use of chemicals or pesticides. Animals must be treated fairly. Fish must be sourced naturally. When it comes down to it, these discerning standards are the same ones that many Americans want for their families. The kosher label makes it easier to determine if a food falls under these sought-after standards. Particularly in the areas of meat and fish, the kosher stamp of approval is important to many Americans. Meat being kosher-certified means that it was slaughtered humanely and that it was processed under a strict set of rules with regard to cleanliness. These standards appeal to a far-reaching group of people, regardless of their religious affiliation.

Kosher is also helpful to those who have strict dietary restrictions. For example, under kosher restrictions, food is separated into three categories: meat, dairy, and pareve, which means neutral. Pareve foods contain no meat or dairy. Meat and dairy foods must not be created or consumed together. So, if one is eating kosher, he or she may eat meat or dairy along with a pareve food, but all three cannot be consumed together. Therefore, the determination of these categories is very strict. So if, for example, an individual cannot have dairy, he or she can purchase a product marked pareve knowing that the product does not contain dairy.

In addition to the distinction of meat, dairy, and pareve, during Passover, wheat and soy free products are available for kosher consumption. Many Americans who have wheat or soy allergies stock up on kosher goods that are produced solely for Passover, such as cookies, margarine, and chocolate that are produced wheat and soy free.

In recent years, we’ve seen an increased social consciousness around food production, food processing, food treatment, and the ingredients used in the products we consume. The kosher label, while religiously affiliated,
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