“Kosher” is a term used to describe food that complies with the strict dietary standards of traditional Jewish law.
For many Jews, kosher is about more than just health or food safety. It is about reverence and adherence to religious tradition.
That said, not all Jewish communities adhere to strict kosher guidelines. Some individuals may choose to follow only certain rules — or none at all.
This article explores what kosher means, outlines its main dietary guidelines, and gives the requirements that foods must meet to be considered kosher.
The English word “kosher” is derived from the Hebrew root “kashér,” which means to be pure, proper, or suitable for consumption (1 Trusted Source).
The laws that provide the foundation for a kosher dietary pattern are collectively referred to as kashrut and are found within the Torah, the Jewish book of sacred texts. Instructions for practical application of these laws are passed down through oral tradition.
Kosher dietary laws are comprehensive and provide a rigid framework of rules that not only outline which foods are allowed or forbidden but also mandate how permitted foods must be produced, processed, and prepared prior to consumption .