What is Kosher?

We’ve all heard the term, but do we know what it really means? It’s morphed itself into the modern English language as a slang term to describe something as being all right, or in better slang: “All good.” But what does it mean when it comes to food?
In Yiddish, Kosher literally means “fit” or “proper.” If food is to be considered proper, it must adhere to strict rules based on the Jewish faith that certain foods are “unfit” or consumption—this includes sturgeon, catfish, shellfish, pork, and rabbit. Some of the other rules include separating beef and milk products (you can’t eat them together), and humane slaughtering of animals.
It’s not just for religious reasons anymore; many people consume kosher foods today because of food allergies and personal choice. According to Mintel Oxygen Reports, three out of every five kosher buyers choose it for food quality, not religion. If you see “pareve” on the package, you can trust that the product has never been near dairy nor meat, and a capital D on your yogurt and milk means the product has never been near any meat. People also feel it can be safer because the certifying process for Kosher foods is more stringent than that used by the USDA. In the five years between 2003 and 2008, kosher food sales increased 64 percent.