When many people hear the term “kosher,” they think it refers to a rabbi blessing food prior to a meal. However, that’s not the case at all. A Hebrew word meaning “fit or proper,” kosher refers to a product meeting Jewish law dietary requirements. But for food to be kosher, it must be produced in manufacturing facilities that are kosher certified. This means the ingredients, equipment, storage facilities, and even how products are transported all must meet strict kosher requirements. Should you be considering kosher certification for your industrial facility and are curious about kosher manufacturing requirements, here are some details you need to remember.

What are the Standards for Kosher?

In any industrial facility that is kosher certified, the foods made there are done so based on the Jewish dietary laws from the biblical books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus. This involves which animals are acceptable to eat, as well as how they are slaughtered and prepared. Within a manufacturing environment, this translates to all steps in the process meeting kosher requirements. For example, since Jewish law has strict restrictions on meat and dairy products, ingredients used in the preparation of such products within a chemical manufacturing facility must have botanical or petrochemical origins. 

Origins of enzymes used in the manufacturing process must also be certified kosher, as should anti-foaming agents and emulsifiers, both of which must also have a plant-based or synthetic origin. 

How Do You Make Kosher Equipment?

To meet kosher manufacturing requirements for equipment within a facility, most if not all areas of a production line must go through a process known as kosherizing. Supervised by a rabbi assigned to your facility, this process involves cleaning and purging the equipment of non-kosher status through a variety of cleaning methods, which can involve steaming, boiling, or even direct contact with flames. 

Kosherization of equipment is done only after it has been left idle for at least 24 hours, and has afterwards been cleaned and inspected by a rabbi for cleanliness. This is crucial, since Jewish law states meat and dairy products cannot be produced or mixed on the same pieces of equipment. Also, if a facility is to be used for production of Passover products but has produced other products previously, all equipment must be kosherized.

What Parts of Production Need to be Kosher Certified?

In most cases, all parts of a facility’s production line need to be kosher certified. This also includes storage and transportation, since the concept of absorption and transference play a key role in whether or not products can be truly considered kosher. For both raw materials as well as finished products, kosher and non-kosher items cannot be stored side-by-side. Instead, physical barriers must exist to prevent cross-contamination. 

Absorption and transference also come into play when cooking kosher foods. Within a manufacturing facility, utensils and parts of equipment exposed to hot materials are thought to take on the characteristics of the materials, which is absorption. 

When steam is used in kosher manufacturing, the challenge becomes even greater. On most industrial boiler systems, water is recycled back to the boiler via condensate return. Thus, the steam used in a kosher manufacturing process must never be used for non-kosher processes, since the steam that would come into contact with parts of a boiler being used for non-kosher processes would again result in absorption and transference. 

What Kosher Means to Your Facility

Should you decide to pursue kosher certification for your facility, it will mean an ability to expand into a large and profitable market. In fact, the kosher industry in the U.S. alone is estimated to be a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to grow annually. In addition, kosher certification means the products made at your facility are verified as kosher, giving customers added confidence. 

If there are additional questions you have about kosher production requirements and how to obtain certification, contact us at Industrial Kosher.