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The word Kosher refers to a designation on processed foods and meats that shows it was prepared in such a way that it is allowable for those of the Jewish faith. Cloven-hoofed animals such as sheep, cows and goats are considered Kosher according to the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament) It is a specific process, and where meat is concerned, it means that the animal was slaughtered in a certain way, contains no pork or pork products, and the process of preparation for sale and consumption has been approved and witnessed by a Rabbi.
Usually Kosher meats are prepared in smaller amounts than wholesale slaughterhouses. There are strict guidelines for slaughtering called "shechita", and the most important of these is that the animal is killed without pain. Canned and packaged food in the grocery store that is Kosher is usually marked with a small "K" with a circle around it.
For Jews who strictly follow the Torah there are certain rules laid down in the Torah which govern the type of meat that can be eaten and how the animals from which the meat is derived are treated. Meat that has been produced following all the rules is called Kosher. Jews are permitted to only eat animals that chew the cud and have split hooves, so the meat of the cow is Kosher but meat of pigs is not. Animals should be slaughtered to cause instantaneous unconsciousness and death. After death, the blood and certain other organs of the animals have to be removed and these cannot be consumed. Other than these there are many other rules that Jews have to abide by to ensure what they eat is Kosher.
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