To assist consumers who keep kosher (follow Jewish Dietary Laws), rabbinic authorities supervise food production. A mashgiah is appointed to supervise the food production process to ensure compliance with the kosher standards. The mashgiach decides whether a manufacturer can apply a hechsher, marking of kosher approval, to the packaging of the product.
Rabbis may add text after the hechsher on a package to provide the kosher consumer with additional aid. Examples of this extra text are M to denote the product contains meat, D to denote the product contains dairy, or P to denote the product is parve.
More Kosher Vocabulary Words: Glossary of Kosher Terms