The term Kosher typically applies to food products that comply with the requirements of Jewish religious law. The literal translation of kosher is fit, suitable or appropriate. In the vernacular the term is used to describe food that is permitted for consumption by Jewish law. Some of the Biblical kosher laws can be found in Leviticus 11:1-47.
Meat of non-kosher animal species are obviously excluded from kosher, and some processed ingredients include components of such products, or share processing equipment with such products. Similarly, meat from kosher animal species that were not slaughtered in accordance with kosher ritual is not kosher. Products containing both meat and milk are categorically excluded. Products containing grape derivatives (such as wine) and rennet-set cheese are especially sensitive in kosher law and must be manufactured with special kosher supervision.
Despite some obvious exclusions, many products can easily be manufactured in compliance with kosher regulations, thereby accessing niche markets and becoming more sought after by distributors and retailers. The Vaad of Kansas City is one of many agencies in the United States that offers certification services for such products.