In today's world of prepared foods, ingredients and processing methods are often unclear. For those interested in buying kosher products, it is helpful to have a rabbi who is knowledgeable about Jewish Dietary Laws examine the food to make sure it is kosher. The process of kosher certification assists kosher consumers by differentiating between kosher and non-kosher items.
Kosher certification agencies examine the ingredients used to make the food, supervise the process by which the food is prepared, and periodically inspect the processing facilities to make sure that kosher standards are maintained. Different kosher certifying agencies tend to follow different kosher certification standards, some more strict and others more lenient.
Products that have been certified as kosher are labeled with kosher symbols. The symbols are printed on the food's package. Kosher symbols are registered trademarks of kosher certification organizations, and cannot be placed on a food label without the organization's permission.
Kosher symbols not only ensure that the food is kosher, they also identify the kosher certifying organization that issued the certification. This guide identifies the kosher certifying agencies behind the most commonly used kosher symbols in the United States. More information about each agency, and the kosher standards it maintains, can be found on the agency's site.