The Often Asked Question… What is Kosher?

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This week we take a look at what “Kosher” means to you and your customers.

When customers think of fourth quarter gift-giving, they are often interested in sending gourmet food gifts to those on their shopping list.  Remind them that you are their best source to fulfill this need.  Having a large selection of delectable treats is an important key to your customers choosing you over a big-box or mail-order company.  It’s also beneficial to offer the option of Kosher food items.  But what does Kosher mean?  What makes something Kosher certified?

According to the Orthodox Union, the world leader in Kosher certification, the word Kosher means proper or acceptable.  With the origins in the Bible and detailed in the Talmud, Kosher laws have been applied through the centuries and remain today.

Although the kashrut laws are meticulous and complex, the fundamentals can easily be understood.  According to the Rabbi Sholem Fishbane of the Chicago Rabbinical Council, food in general can be grouped into three broad categories:

Innocuous:  A number of foods are consistently considered as Kosher.  Foods that are not further processed, such as fruits and vegetables, are generally considered innocuous.

Never Kosher:  Some foods may never be Kosher, as a result of the kashrut laws.  Examples of these foods include pork, catfish, and all shellfish.

Kosher When Supervised:  These are the foods that are of most concern to suppliers and distributors looking to offer Kosher-certified food gift options.  Contrary to common belief, a Rabbi does not “bless” a food to render it Kosher.

Foods may be considered Kosher if all ingredients and processes used meet Kosher definitions and standards.  This includes insuring that all components’ ingredients are Kosher-certified, as well as all processing aids that come into contact with the food.  All equipment used for processing the food must also be Kosher.  The process must be supervised by a reliable Kosher authority for certification.

In addition, all Kosher foods can be grouped into three categories – dairy, meat, or pareve.  Diary products such as milk and cheese must come from Kosher animals.  Only meat from Kosher species of animals are permitted, and then only if they are slaughtered by a specially trained shoshet (a person officially certified to slaughter in a manner prescribed by Jewish law).  Kosher law prohibits the mixing of meat and dairy, both in preparation and consumption.  Pareve, or neutral, foods are those inherently Kosher in their natural state.  These are often the innocuous foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains.  These may be eaten with either dairy or meat products.

The Orthodox Union reports that over 60% percent of America’s produced foods are certified Kosher, and that over $150 billion of Kosher certified products are consumed annually.  What does this mean for promotional food gift options?  Many companies, such as Maple Ridge Farms, offer a variety of gourmet treats that are certified Kosher.

A very popular gift for trucking companies is our 1950’s tractor trailer with Milk Chocolate Almonds and Jumbo Cashews

Our 1950’s tractor trailer is available with Milk Chocolate Almonds and Jumbo Cashews. Both gourmet treats are available Certified Kosher upon request!

At this time, Maple Ridge Farms is happy to offer over 20 different gift components, and over 120 individual gifts, which are available certified Kosher.  If the gift your customer is interest in is available Kosher (as noted in our catalog or on our website), simply be sure to request “Certified Kosher” on your purchase order.  We can even build custom Kosher gifts with minimums starting as low as 24 pieces.  Contact a Gift Specialist for more details.

Recently, we were fortunate to have a representative from the Chicago Rabbinical Council visit our Mosinee headquarters.  Rabbi Dovid Oppenheimer, Rabbinical Coordinator, toured our facility and met with Andy Witt, CFO at Maple Ridge Farms.  Rabbi Oppenheimer left with a better understanding of how our business operates in the promotional products industry and how their Kosher certification can provide a competitive advantage to our distributors.

Keep the lines of communication open and, if you are unsure, simply ask.  Chances are your suppliers are familiar with the certification process and can direct you to items in their line that will fit your customers’ needs.

We have put together an end user safe video featuring our Kosher Gifts. The video does not mention Maple Ridge Farms, so it is perfect for you to send to your clients to let them know that you are their best source for kosher gifts.  Check it out at:  Kosher Gifts.

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One Response to “The Often Asked Question… What is Kosher?”

  1. […] For more information on the different types of kosher certifications, check out our previous blog post entitled “The Often Asked Question… What is Kosher?” […]

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