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Saturday, August 30, 2014

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Apps to help you keep kosher

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As the days count down toward Passover, kashrut organizations are working overtime answering consumer questions and monitoring food manufacturers to make sure their products conform to halachic regulations. In addition to putting out glossy magazines and building informative websites, many kashrut organizations are also creating apps to cater to mobile shoppers, apps that will continue to help kosher consumers well after all the Passover dishes have been stored away for another year.

All apps are for iPhone/iPad and are free unless otherwise noted.

cRc Kosher: I love this app from the Chicago Rabbinical Council for several reasons. In addition to comprehensive product information, it includes:

• the definitive list of kosher liquor including bourbon, liqueur, mead, sake and vermouth.

• a Passover guide that answers questions about cleaning your home and which types of products require – and don’t require – holiday certification.

• and a huge database of the logos of reputable kashrut agencies from around the world. If you see a squiggle on a product you can’t decipher, just fire up the app and compare. [http://bit.ly/koshapp1]

MK Kosher (iPhone and Android): “Your Key to a Kosher Canada” has a massive database of products, including gluten-free foods, vitamins, couscous and, fittingly for a Quebec-based organization, maple syrup. Also includes a handy listing of Montreal area restaurants under its supervision. [http://bit.ly/koshapp2] Check out a recent CJN article about this app. [http://bit.ly/koshapp3]

OU Kosher (iPhone and Android): Billed as the “world’s most recognized trusted kosher certification,” this app from the Orthodox Union includes a database of kosher products, kosher product alerts and a listing of newly certified products. [http://bit.ly/koshapp4]

Kof-K: Includes an interesting Q&A section. Sample question: how is it possible to have a certified kosher pareve product that states on the label “made on shared equipment with milk, nuts, shellfish.?” Answer: “It has become common practice for companies to post allergy information below the nutritional facts… Often a pareve product can be produced on equipment used for dairy production, after complete kasherization. Although the machinery is halachically considered 100 per cent pareve, a person with a severe milk allergy can conceivably have an allergic reaction.” [http://bit.ly/koshapp5]

OK VegGuide: It’s no surprise that certain meats are kosher and others not. But what about vegetables? Actually, the veggies themselves are no problem. It’s the (non-kosher) bugs that come along for the ride that are problematic. This app surveys dozens of common vegetables from artichokes to zucchini and tells you which insects may be hiding out and what to do about them. [http://bit.ly/koshapp6] Also check out the OK Kosher Food Guide. [http://bit.ly/koshapp7]

Kosher or Not ($0.99): Some apps try to do almost any function you can think of. Others are determined to focus on one goal only. I would say that the Kosher or Not app falls into the latter category. Type in the name of a fish (or just the first letter), and you are presented with a long list of fish, some kosher, some not. With this app in hand, never again will you have to walk away from your local fishmonger wondering whether you can feast on Jewfish, Mozambique mouthbrooder or even porkfish, while remaining faithful to your heritage. You can. [http://bit.ly/koshapp8]

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