The definition of "Kosher" in Hebrew means fit or proper, and is generally used to describe foods that are prepared in accordance with special Jewish dietary laws.
Can a processed food like soda, cookies, or potato chips be non-kosher? Yes. In order for the food item to be considered kosher, all ingredients and subunits in a product must conform to the dietary laws. The entire product can be rendered unsuitable if even only one non-kosher ingredient is present. Also, kosher food must be processed on kosher equipment. Equipment used for non-kosher production with heat, is rendered non-kosher and must be kosherized (through a special cleaning process of hot water or intense heat) to be fit for kosher service and use.
A qualified Rabbi or Rabbinic organization supervises the production of a food item to insure that the product is kosher which is known as kosher supervision. Focus for kosher supervision focuses on two areas - ingredients and equipment.
Not only is the Jewish population kosher, the kosher market includes Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, and vegetarians in addition to people with milk related allergies, health conscious consumers, and discerning consumers who view the kosher symbol as a sign of health, quality, and integrity. (1) The number one reason people buy kosher is for food quality (62%) according to a consumer survey of adults who purchase kosher food. The second most common reason people say they purchase kosher food is "general healthfulness" (51%), and the third is food safety (34%). 2 Sales of kosher foods total $12.5 billion in 2008, a 64% increase since 2003. (2)
Orthodox Union is used as Spangler Candy’s kosher-certification service. The Orthodox Union, or OU, represents the largest and most trusted kosher certifying agency. Almost 300 OU Rabbinic Field Representatives regularly inspect 6,000 certified plants in 80 countries around the globe. The OU symbol appears on more than 400,000 food and food-related items - over 60 percent of America's kosher-certified products. (3)
Spangler Candy's manufacturing plant in Bryan, and its co-manufacturing facility in Juarez were both certified kosher by the Orthodox Union in October 2006. Except for Circus Peanuts, all Spangler products made in Bryan and Juarez are kosher. For the most recent detailed list and our kosher certifications, see our Product FAQ page.
Visit the Orthodox Union web site at www.oukosher.org.
(1) www.oukosher.org - "The Kosher Advantage" 2007.
(2) Mintel Market Research 2008.
(3) Behind the Union Symbol, Summer 2005