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Kosher Symbols

When I was growing up, most kosher products had the symbol O-U. But now there seems to be everything – Texas-K, California-K, Minnesota-K. How do I know what kosher supervision is considered reliable?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Be aware that just because a product is labeled with a "K" does not necessarily mean it's kosher. In America, there is no law barring a company from putting any letter they want on a label, whether the product is ice tea or pork rinds.

One rabbi told me that he was supervising a kosher bakery in Florida, and when they wanted to start using a non-kosher ingredient, the rabbi told them, "If you use that ingredient, then I will have to remove the certification." They replied, "That's okay, we'll just continue putting a 'K' on our packaging anyway."

For reliable supervision, O-U, O-K, Star-K, and Chaf-K are some of the most common symbols (called “hechshers”). There are many others, some good and some not-so-good. If you have a specific question, you should check with a rabbi well-versed in Jewish law, or try the web site www.kosherquest.org.

More Questions

Due to limited resources, the Ask the Rabbi service is intended for Jews of little background with nowhere else to turn. People with questions in Jewish law should consult their local rabbi. Note that this is not a homework service!

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