Sunday, November 18, 2007

Kosher Symbols

UPDATE: I have updated this post here to reflect the new laws.

It seems that once a week someone asks me to explain kosher symbols, or to explain how to eat dairyfree. So this post is going to be a really quick lesson in kosher symbols.

If you are on a dairyfree diet, please do not think that the ingredients list is all that you need to read. The law allows foods that are less than 1% of the total weight, to be undeclared on the ingredients list. Most people do not know this. Hopefully the law will one day require all foods to be listed, but until then, your best source of information is the kosher rating.

Jewish law forbids Jews from eating milk with meat, so they came up with a certification system that is used by Rabbis to let the buyer know if there is any dairy content. I will show you some examples here:

This is your typical container of Cool Whip. If you look to the bottom left, you will see the symbol for kosher:

The K stands for a particular Rabbinical Union and the D stands for dairy. Sometimes you will see the Dairy written out. Sometimes you will see DE which means dairy is used on the equipment and they can't vouch for the equipment being cleaned. An example of this is the deli. If they slice cheese and then lunchmeat on the same slicer, you are bound to get cheese on your lunchmeat. That would be disastrous for my family.

This box of grits show another example. The U in a circle is the most common kosher symbol:

I will show you one more symbol, pareve/parve. During passover time, the Dairy rating changes and some dairy is allowed. However, pareve means there is absolutely no dairy whatsoever.

I know it all sounds confusing, and it is! To learn more about Kosher ratings, or to see the list of all the kosher symbols, go here.

FYI, the two most dangerous things you can eat if you are dairy intolerant, are Nondairy Cool Whip and Nondairy creamer. Both contain a lot of casein which is a concentrated milk protein. It would be better for you to drink a glass of milk than to eat one of these two products. Why are they allowed to call it Nondairy? If you ever find out, please let me know!

Some of the products that people least think about containing dairy are: medicines, lunchmeats, gum (recaldent is the ingredient), tums (only get the white flavor, not fruit), popsicles, pepperoni (lactic acid starter is the culprit), sausage, breads, and fast food. Last year when the doctor thought Ruthie had asthma, we found that all three medications contained high doses of lactose, which is milk sugar. No wonder she was hurting!

Hope this has been a help. We're off to evening church.

Many blessings ~ Kathie


Debra Girotti said...

Kathie ~ what an educational post! I have seen those little symbols (I think) but never thought a thing about what they meant. I guess I thought they were some sort of trademark or manufacturing symbol. Ha! I guess I'm wondering how you grab a bite out to eat or eat dinner over at someone's house when you're not sure what is in the food. How would someone prepare to invite your family over? As in....if we ever were able to get together...what could I fix? :)

Judy Jowers said...

Thank you.