The display of the label has undergone strict changes due to government regulations. Not only must the label specify the type of shortening, i.e. vegetable or animal, but it must declare the actual source as well. Thus, it is commonplace to mention cottonseed oil, lard, coconut oil, and the like. The result of this explicit label display is that the consumer can easily detect what is blatantly non-kosher. However, the kosher status of a product containing vegetable shortening of any type can only be verified by reliable kosher certification. The reason for this is that manufacturers of vegetable shortening often process animal fats on common equipment. The vegetable product may be a pure one, however, halachically it is rendered non-kosher due to its being processed on non-kosher equipment.

Emulsifiers are complex substances that are used in all types of food production. They can perform a number of critical functions, among them allowing incompatible ingredients to mix together These materials are listed on the ingredient label as polysorbates, mono and diglycerides, sorbitan monostearate, etc. These products are produced from both animal and vegetable sources and thus require careful supervision and controls. The special qualities of these products (acting as surfactants and making oil and water soluble) enable them to be invaluable basic components in many food items, such as margarine, shortenings, cream fillings, toppings, coffee creamers, whiteners, prepared cake mixes, donuts, and puddings. It must be emphasized that ice cream, frozen desserts, instant mashed potatoes, peanut butter, snack-pack foods, and many breakfast cereals also contain di-glycerides and, therefore, require kashruth certification. A product whose ingredient panel lists ‘emulsifiers’ or ‘emulsifier added’ indicates the use of glycerides and requires kashruth certification. Many chocolates and candies contain such glyceride emulsifiers.

Breads, Rolls, Challah, Bagels and Bialys:

These basic household staples present several kashruth problems and require kashruth certification.

1. The "Taking" of Challah:
The Torah requires that a portion of every batter of dough prepared for baking be set aside as 'Challah'. The Challah portion taken may be of any size and is to be burned. This ritual is obligatory only when the dough is of Jewish ownership and is made from the flour of five grains: wheat, oats, rye, spelt, and barley. When the flour used is a blend with other types of flour, e.g. corn, rice, etc., a Rabbinic authority is to be consulted.

2. If this mitzvah (commandment) has not been performed in the bakery, it may be performed in the home by placing all the baked goods in one room, breaking open all sealed packaged material, and removing and burning a small piece from one of the loaves. When some of the loaves are a combination of the five aforementioned grains challah must then be taken from each type of loaf. When one bakes at home and has used a minimum of 2 lbs. 10 oz. of flour in the making of dough, challah is to be taken from the dough before baking. In this case, a blessing is not recited.

When a minimum of 4 lbs. 15 1/3 oz. of flour is used, the blessing is recited before performing the Mitzvah.

3. Many breads are made with oils and shortenings. Basic ingredients of specially prepared dough mixes and dough conditioners are shortenings and di-glycerides. In bakeries, pans and troughs in which the dough is placed to rise, are coated with grease or divider oils which may be non-kosher. These oils often do not appear on the label; only specially prepared kosher pan grease may be used.

4. Dairy Breads:
It is Rabbinically prohibited to bake bread with dairy ingredients. Since bread is frequently eaten at all meals, the Rabbis were concerned that one might inadvertently eat dairy bread with a meat meal. There are two exceptions-if the bread is baked in an unusual shape or design indicating that it is dairy, or if the loaf is so small that it would be consumed at one meal.

5. Cake, Pastries & Doughnuts:
These products should be considered non-kosher unless certified kosher. The shortenings and other ingredients universally used in the manufacture of these items require expert supervision. Lard-based shortenings are often used in pie and other crust preparations because of lard's unique flaking quality.

6. Fillings and Cremes:
All fillings, cremes, and fudge bases must be certified kosher because they may contain fats, emulsifiers, and gelatin stabilizers.

7. Flavors:
A critical sector of the food industry is manufacturers of flavors. Flavors, whether artificial or natural, are components of nearly every product. Flavor production is highly complex and uses raw materials from every imaginable source. In addition, the flavor industry utilizes grape and wine derived ingredients in a wide array of products. For this reason, any product containing flavors requires strict supervision and control.






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