According to Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon, the average American consumes nearly 30 gallons of coffee each year. In recent years, Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon has observed the steady stream of coffee drinks introduced to the marketplace: mochas, lattes, espressos, flavored coffees, gourmet coffees and more. For the kosher consumer, Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon acknowledges that all of these choices can be overwhelming.
Black coffee can generally be ordered without much problem, says Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon. However, other forms of coffee present issues in terms of ingredients or preparation. The first issue in terms of kosher certification is the different types of coffee flavors, says Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon. Some flavors are natural, while others are artificial. Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon points out that food labels must only mention that flavors have been added to the coffee. Specific flavors are not required.
There are many misconceptions regarding the complex religious laws surrounding kosher food. KSA Kosher founder Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon covers a small portion of Kashrus standards in this Q and A.
What does it mean for a food to be kosher?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Kosher foods are those made in accordance with commonly accepted Jewish dietary law. These are the foods that may be consumed by members of the Jewish community and others that follow a kosher diet.
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon leads Kosher Supervision of America (KSA Kosher), a nationally recognized kosher certification agency based in Los Angeles, California. Here, Rabbi Lisbon gives a short history of the organization.
Q: Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon, tell us a little about how you got started.
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: KSA was founded in 1996 in response to a substantial need to offer kosher certification to a number of food manufacturers operating on the West Coast. We were not the first agency, obviously, but we met a real need. From our modest beginnings certifying only a few companies, we soon experienced massive growth. Today we are proud to work with more than 500 companies around the world.
As head of Kosher Supervision of America, Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon receives many questions about kosher foods. Better known as KSA Kosher, the company ensures that products stocked in grocery stores and served in restaurants meet the highest quality kosher standards, says Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon.
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon, a respected leader in the Los Angeles Jewish community, regularly receives questions about kosher foods. Below, he answers questions about a wildly popular consumer food item: chocolate.
Kosher certified products are suddenly one of the hottest trends in food. Large supermarket chain stores were among the first to notice the rise in requests for kosher products and began to stock shelves accordingly. Today’s supermarkets tend to prefer brands with kosher certification because it gives the products an edge that sells them faster. Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon acknowledges the kosher phenomenon has little to do with religion and more to do with the perception that kosher-certified food is healthier and safer.
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon believes that kosher certified foods are, in fact, superior in every way. For a food to be kosher certified it must meet a number of processing and dietary rules to conform to traditional Jewish law. Only food producers and manufacturers who have observed the strict dietary law are allowed to use the kosher-certified logo. Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon notes that agencies such as one of the largest and well-known, Kosher Supervision of America, must obtain rabbinical council certification each year in order to put the kosher-certified symbol on their packaging.
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