All foods derived from or containing milk are considered dairy, or milchig (Yiddish). This includes milk, butter, yogurt and all cheese -- hard, soft and cream. Even a small amount of dairy in a food can cause the food to be considered dairy. All dairy products require kosher certification. They must meet the following criteria in order to be certified kosher:
- They must come from a kosher animal.
- All ingredients must be kosher and free of meat derivatives. Non-kosher dairy products are often made with ingredients of animal origin. For example, hard cheese is made with rennet, yogurt sometimes contains gelatin, and butter may contain non-kosher additives.
- They must be processed on kosher equipment.
Many kinds of "non-dairy" creamers, candy, cereal and margarine do contain milk derivatives, as do some low-calorie sweeteners. Dairy ingredients whose names appear on many product labels include caseinate, lactose and whey.