Kosher certification requires that all food ingredients, equipment, and processing comply with the Jewish dietary law, including the separation of meat and dairy. Those laws were laid out within the context of a very different era. With today’s evolved food system, certification of industrialized food has become even more complicated. Unlike the FCC and USP monograms which regulate based on the purity of the final product, Kosher certification is concerned with every part of the processing and sourcing. Fortunately, most plant-based materials do not pose additional complications, since they are considered “pareve” (neutral) foods and may be combined with either meat or dairy. Most ethanol is fermented and distilled from sugar cane or corn, so Kosher-compliance is not very difficult. It is also possible to produce bioethanol through fermentation of lactose – the sugar separated from whey – which would be considered dairy under Kosher law. Ethanol can be made via wine fermentation and distillation, but to keep such a process Kosher would be prohibitively expensive.
Given the widespread use of ethanol in food production as an antimicrobial, carrier, solvent, and treatment agent, the availability of Kosher food grade alternatives is essential to the practicing Jewish community. Beyond the traditional roles of ethanol in food production, Kosher food grade ethanol can be used as an alternative solvent in cases where it is impossible to modify the traditional processing to make it Kosher. For example, Ashwagandha extract is a traditional Indian medicinal or supplement that is prepared by extraction in milk. Milk is an integral part of Indian food culture, but is problematic for Kosher certification. Kosher ethanol can be used as an alternative solvent for ashwagandha extract, in combination with designated Kosher processing equipment and regular inspections to verify compliance.
Food grade chemical status is usually synonymous with FCC designation. FCC stands for Food Chemical Codex, or monograms defined and published by the USP (US Pharmacopeia). The USP also publishes monograms for pharmaceutical grade chemicals, called USP grade. FCC and USP often go hand-in-hand, since both are intended for safe consumption, either in the form of medicines, supplements, foodstuffs, or oral hygiene products. Both USP and FCC require high purity and permit only minimal levels of impurities like acetaldehyde and ethyl acetate in ethanol. Unlike the FCC and USP monograms which regulate based on the purity of the final product, Kosher certification is concerned with every part of the processing and sourcing.< Back