Government Subsidy for Kosher Food Certification or Halal Food Certification in India

Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) ( ) operates financial assistance scheme which has four segments as follows:

  • Infrastructure development
  • Quality Development
  • Market Development
  • Transport Assistance


Although Kosher Certification and Halal certification in principle should be covered in Quality development or Market development but on contacting APEDA they decline the claim saying “Being Kosher and Halal certification are religious one we don’t consider this for financial assistance”.

There are guidelines for scheme where nothing available on record which suggest that financial assistance can’t be granted for certification process undertaken for Kosher or Halal.  Ultimately these certifications are going to support export from India. Exporter feels initial difficulty as there is always first small order, of course this will be proceeded by big one. But initial kosher certification cost many times make it non-viable and exporter feel themselves helpless.

APEDA member need to take strongly this with concern authority. Take example today India is largest producer of milk and can export milk powder and related products to USA but surprisingly Kosher milk is not available in India. Resulting by products of milk like cream, cheese or paneer also can’t be certified kosher.  Amul, India’s largest producer of milk could not proceeding to avail certificate due cost factor as certifying milk will require supervision also which makes it costly affair.


Kosher Certification in India


Although Kosher Certification is now century old concept but in India, organizations taking Kosher Certificate are very few. Kosher certified food is not consumed in India but exported outside India in developed countries like USA, Canada, U.K. Israel ect.  Now focus has been enhanced not just religion but also health consciousness.  As Kosher Certified food  is termed to be good for health.

Main hurdle in taking kosher certificate, organizations feels that their order book is small and their initial margin is wiped off by cost of kosher certificate. Here we can say that such cost should be viewed in long run instead of considering it with first or few order. It ultimately enhance the someone brand value and fetch better price compared to non-kosher product. Its create goodwill for the organization and help to increase the sale.

Around the world there are more than 1400 Kosher certifying agencies varying form age out of them around 30 are active in India. There is no accreditation system  for Kosher Certification agencies working in India. As far as big old agencies are concern they command good reputation but it does not mean that there is no value of other’s someone should see how ethical standard they are following. To save cost some organization demand that as their form is approved that’s why they don’t want visit. This is really funny thing and against Kashrut practice and should not be allowed to followed as Kosher certification is not talks about ingredients but also equipment’s, their handling for non-kosher product and complete  process also.

In India Rabbi generally visit out of India as low base of business in India. Some agencies rely on the representative’s visit which makes cost of certification viable for small and medium enterprises (SME).

Period of certification vary from firm to firm, which may varies 10 days to 30 days from initial  advance payment if no rectification is required after final inspection. If some correction at production facility is required time required will depend on the time taken on such corrections.

In India Kosher milk is not available as to milk to be Kosher it just not need to be from kosher animal but also supervision factors comes which is makes it costly and nobody is taking challenge to observe this cost yet. This takes difficult to make milk derivative/by product to be kosher certified. Similar position is coming substantially coming for meat as Michigan appearance is require as butcher and supervision.




The Value of Kosher Certification

For nearly ten years I have eaten a strictly kosher diet. This has meant that when I enter a supermarket, I must carefully examine any product with which I am not familiar to see if is kosher certified. When I come across a product that is not certified that interests me, I do the following :

First, I check to see if there are any companies that make a similar product that is kosher certified. If I succeed in finding such a product, I go with that and end my quest there. If, however, I do not succeed in finding a similar product, I immediately try to find contact information for the company and either send them an e-mail or a letter. The purpose of the letter is to attempt to persuade them of the importance of kosher certification.

What does kosher certification mean, and what does it not mean? There are many notions that people have about what it means to be kosher and what it means not to be kosher — these notions are frequently based on what they have heard from friends or what they assume it means. Moreover, the majority of the notions are completely wrong.

Here are some wrong notions, starting with the worst — that a Rabbi comes into the plant and “blesses” the food somehow, and makes it holy. It is easy to see why people might come to this assumption. Jews, particularly those who dress a certain way and are perceived to be more inclined to pray three times a day, have the concept of “sacred” associated with them.

Another incorrect notion is that if it isn’t bacon, and it isn’t a cheeseburger, then it must be kosher. There are restaurants that bill themselves as “kosher style” meaning that the food that they serve is similar to the kind of food that would be produced that is kosher — generally speaking, food that is associated with Jews from Eastern Europe — a few examples being kugel, cholent (basically a stew with beans, grains, and sometimes meat), and different kinds of chicken. Kosher style means that the food itself does not necessarily adhere to the laws of kosher food.

So what does kosher certification actually mean? It simply means that a trained inspector has inspected the facilities and all of the ingredients that go into a food or product and verify that the ingredients are all kosher and the equipment does not have non-kosher production on it or is cleaned in a particular manner prior to a kosher run. With regard to the ingredients, they are either themselves kosher certified (such as when a frozen meal has soy sauce as an ingredient and that soy sauce must therefore be certified) or one of many known to be kosher if insect free and properly prepared.

In this regard, kosher certification is more like when a company brings in an accounting firm to go over their financial records and ensure that they are doing everything properly. It isn’t nearly as significant as if the firm looked over their own books because an outside firm looks in with a razor sharp objectivity.

Kosher certification can have deep significance for those who do know of or adhere to a kosher diet. For example, kosher certification deems it necessary to mark if a product has meat, fish, or dairy ingredients. If it has neither meat nor dairy, it is certified as being parve, or neutral — fish is not considered a meat in Jewish law. Therefore, if a person wishes to eat neither meat nor dairy, there is one hundred percent certainty that they can avoid it with food certified as parve — vegetarians have fewer ingredient lists to peruse when they see that kosher certification.

Does kosher certification cost money? It certainly does, just as getting a building green certified would or a calorie chart generated for a restaurant that wishes to boast of its low calorie options. The certification can be categorized as marketing and indeed it is — people looking for kosher certified spirulina drink mixes will find yours if it is certified.

If your organization produces a food that is kosher certified, don’t be shy about it and declare it on your web site, whether on its own page or a frequently asked questions list. Moreover, it behooves you to disclose the name of the firm that certifies your product so people can determine to what extent they accept that company’s certification — they are not all equal.

If your product is not yet kosher certified, ask yourself if it can be and if it would be worth making it kosher. The common Oreo cookie, which once counted lard as an ingredient decided to take it out and now can be found in Kosher households around the country — as well as many Muslim ones. The company that makes the vegan product Vega Sport — a post-workout drink — they do not yet have kosher certification but I am hoping that this article and a few letters may persuade them to change this.

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Kosher certification — why it’s necessary

When it comes to kosher, lots of people wonder: Why does that need certification? Some certifications seem nonsensical, like those for water, or soap. And what about single ingredient items, like 100% orange juice. How could it not be kosher? Those questions aside (though answers from readers would be most welcome), a recent press release from the Hindu society about a hidden ingredient in some Kellogg’s cereals made us realize that kosher certification, for those who seek to be kosher observant, is invaluable.

According to Rajan Zed, a Hindu cleric based in Nevada, Hindus that eat certain Kellogg’s cereals have for decades unknowingly been consuming a verboten food. It turns out, according to Zed, that Pop Tars, Rice Krispies Treats cereal and Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal all contain a gelatin derived from beef. Many Hindus do not consume beef, as the cow is a sacred deity in the Hindu faith.

Imagine the shock and upset that practicing Hindus would have felt when they found this out? It reminds of scandals within the charedi community where non-kosher meat was being sold (in some cases by fellow charedi Jews) to unsuspecting clientele.

While kosher-observant American Jews used to rely heavily on ingredient reading — as do, to this day, many Jews living overseas — today people tend to seek out a symbol, and there are hundreds to choose from. Perhaps there are too many, and perhaps some foods are certified that really don’t need it (again, water?), but with food production being so complex and driven by processes rather than single ingredients, it seems that if you truly care about keeping kosher, that symbol is all important.



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