Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon on the Advantages of Kosher Certification

KSA-Kosher-FoodsRabbi Binyomin Lisbon of KSA Kosher notes that kosher certification is a growing trend in the food industry. In this interview, Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon explains how kosher certification improves food sales and encourages healthy eating for Americans.

Q: Are kosher foods truly that popular with consumers?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Most people eat some type of kosher food each day, even if they may not be aware of it.

Q: What are the average sales of kosher-certified products each year?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: More than $150 billion of kosher-certified products are consumed annually, and consumer spending continues to increase dramatically.

Q: How has kosher certification influenced the food industry?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Kosher certification has prompted an increase in sales while promoting a company’s private label business.

Q: In particular, what does the KSA logo indicate?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: As a marketing device, the KSA logo has generated more revenue and expanded the scope of the market. More importantly, it signifies food quality to the consumer.

Q: Where can the KSA logo be found?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: The KSA logo is a prominent feature on products sold in restaurants, supermarket chains, food distributors and food manufacturers.

Q: Why do these businesses favor kosher foods?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: In a recent survey, consumers said that they favored kosher products over regular products by approximately 25 percent.

Q: Aren’t most kosher consumers from the Jewish community?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Only 8 percent of kosher consumers are religious Jews.

Q: How do kosher certification practices improve overall food safety?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Regular kosher inspections performed at production facilities will often increase attention to preventing insect infestation. In these cases, it’s more likely that inspectors will detect non-kosher remnants.

Q: Are kosher standards more stringent than general food industry regulations?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Kosher inspectors are not health professionals, of course. However, many times they hold higher standards than industry regulations.

Q: Such as? 

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Government regulations allow trace amounts of contamination in produced foods before they are deemed unsafe. However, kosher certification carries a no-tolerance policy.

Q: How do kosher inspectors monitor food production?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Kosher inspectors are extremely vigilant in monitoring bugs or any other impurities related to the food.

Q: How are kosher inspectors qualified for this task?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: These inspectors are trained in the areas of food technology, food chemistry and Jewish dietary law.

Q: Have food safety reforms been successfully enacted?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: The government has made significant progress in promoting food safety, but outcomes are still short of expectations.

Q: Why?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Administrative delays and inadequate funding have both contributed to the lessened impact of these reforms.

Q: What is the key to success of kosher products?

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Quite simply, market demand. The more consumers request kosher food, the more products are introduced to the public.

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon leads all certification efforts for Kosher Supervision of America (KSA), located in Los Angeles, Calif. KSA is the most prominent kosher certification agency based in the Western United States.

Kosher Supervision of America (KSA Kosher) on the Benefits of Eating Kosher

KSA KosherAt Kosher Supervision of America (KSA Kosher), kosher products are treated with the utmost respect and care. For the entire staff of Kosher Supervision of America (KSA Kosher), kosher certification is the top priority. As an industry leader, KSA Kosher has noticed the numerous benefits for consumers who keep kosher.

A Gathering of Experts: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.

KSA Kosher: Thank you, it is our pleasure.

A Gathering of Experts: What is the biggest benefit of eating kosher?

KSA Kosher: Many consumers choose to eat kosher because it leads to a healthier lifestyle.

A Gathering of Experts: What makes kosher foods healthy?

KSA Kosher: Kosher foods traditionally lower the cholesterol of those who eat them.

A Gathering of Experts: Is eating kosher a difficult habit?

KSA Kosher: Eating kosher is not as challenging as one might expect. Many foods that people eat on a regular basis are already kosher.

A Gathering of Experts: Like…?

KSA Kosher: Beef, poultry and certain types of fish are generally kosher, provided that they undergo proper preparation. Even Oreos are kosher!

A Gathering of Experts: What are some non-kosher examples?

KSA Kosher: Eagle, rabbit, owl, pork, catfish and sturgeon are non-kosher. Any reptiles, insects and shellfish also fall into this category.

A Gathering of Experts: How does a consumer know these kosher foods are safe?

KSA Kosher: Kosher foods undergo a rigorous and very strict evaluation before being certified.

A Gathering of Experts: Can eating kosher trigger any allergies?

KSA Kosher: On the contrary, eating kosher actually alleviates certain allergies.

A Gathering of Experts: How so?

KSA Kosher: Although allergies of this nature are uncommon, some people experience reactions to pork or the chemicals that are used to prepare it. A much more common allergy is one to shellfish, which is also prohibited by kosher law.

A Gathering of Experts: Are all fish kosher?

KSA Kosher: Many species of fish are deemed kosher, most notably freshwater cod and tilapia.

A Gathering of Experts: Are foods from kosher animals safer?

KSA Kosher: Generally, yes. Animals do not get approved unless certification experts can determine that they have no lesions or illnesses.

A Gathering of Experts: Do kosher individuals eat more vegetables and fruits?

KSA Kosher: Often, consumers who stay kosher rely on eating vegetables and fruits as a major part of their diets to replace dairy and meats. This typically contributes to better overall health.

A Gathering of Experts: What is the main attribute that makes eating kosher healthy?

KSA Kosher: There are many, but the main one might be that meat and dairy must not be eaten together. This will eliminate a number of unhealthy and cholesterol laden foods from an individual’s diet.

A Gathering of Experts: What are a few examples?

KSA Kosher: Some of America’s favorite foods have been rendered non-kosher, including cheeseburgers, pizza and lasagna.

A Gathering of Experts: So I suppose fast food is out?

KSA Kosher: Consumers who strictly adhere to a kosher diet will find it difficult to make purchases at a fast food restaurant due to the lack of options.

A Gathering of Experts: This might be a good thing.

KSA Kosher: Indeed, it may be a big plus to those wishing to lose weight, burn fat and curb poor eating habits.

A Gathering of Experts: What else typically appeals to kosher consumers?

KSA Kosher: Eating kosher is also what many would call a “humane diet” because of the careful practice of slaughtering animals.

To learn more, visit Kosher Supervision of America online at ksakosher.com.