Food that conforms to strict Jewish Biblical laws pertaining not only to the type of food that may be eaten, but to the kinds of food that can be combined at one meal (for example, meat and dairy products may not be mixed). In order to meet kosher standards and receive the kosher seal, food must be prepared under a rabbi's supervision. In addition to the kinds of animals considered kosher (pigs and rabbits are among the nonkosher group), the laws also decree that animals be fed organically grown food and killed in the most humane manner possible. The word "kosher" is a derivation of the Hebrew kasher, meaning "proper" or "pure." Because kosher foods bear an inherent hallmark of wholesomeness and quality, they are rapidly becoming popular with a new market of health-conscious consumers. Kosher foods can be purchased in most supermarkets throughout the United States.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.