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Judaism has strict guidelines in regard to what practitioners should or should not eat. These rules relate to Kashrut, which is the Jewish law on what foods are fit to eat, and how they should be prepared. Store-bought products that adhere to Jewish consumption laws are deemed kosher, meaning that they were grown, prepared, and made with ingredients that are recognized as pure. There are many rules governing kosher products, and several organizations that review and certify them as such, to make shopping easier for Jews who follow this plan. Products that can be certified as kosher include meats, dairy, grains, wine, and liquor.
Meat is a very regulated aspect of a kosher diet. Different meats can be certified as acceptable only if they follow Jewish rules. Animals that are considered kosher include cattle, sheep, and goats. Camels and pigs do not meet Jewish guidelines, so the consumption of those kinds of meat is forbidden. For meat to be certified as kosher, the animal must also be slaughtered in a specific and humane way. The most common place to find kosher meat is at a kosher butcher shop.
Dairy items can be certified as kosher products if they come from kosher animals. Acceptable dairy goods must not contain any additives. Fruits and vegetables are also considered kosher products, but, before they can be eaten, they must be thoroughly cleaned and examined for bugs. The consumption of bugs is not considered kosher under Jewish law.
Grains can comprise a large portion of an individual's diet, so it is usually important for a Jew to ensure that these products are kosher before eating them. Kosher grains include flour, cornmeal, matzo, and various cereals. These types of items typically have an identifying mark or symbol on the packaging if it has been certified as kosher.
Kashrut also requires a Jew to ensure that any alcoholic beverage he drinks is also kosher. While wine is popular, kosher wine must be produced in a kosher winery that closely follows all Jewish rules in regard to its production. Many types of hard liquor and liqueurs are prepared in a manner that is considered kosher, and a Jew who is interested in these beverages can request a list of acceptable brands from a kosher certification agency.
Kosher products can easily become tainted, and thus no longer kosher, if they are not cooked and served properly. Kitchen appliances and utensils must be used in accordance to Kashrut food laws, and it is not permissible to serve a kosher meat product on a plate that has been touched by a kosher dairy item. Jews are also prohibited from serving meat and dairy at the same meal, even if all items have been certified as kosher and are served separately.
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