Kosher Spices from The Spice House
Most of our customers who keep kosher already know that the Spice House offers kosher spices. Our Milwaukee customers in particular may have noticed the symbol on their spices consisting of an outline of Wisconsin containing a “K”, indicating kosher certification. However, we are often asked why spices from our Milwaukee store bear a kosher symbol while spices from our other locations do not.
Though the basic principles of kashrut (kosher law) are simple, the interpretation and implementation of these rules can be quite complicated. Fortunately, since vegetable material is generally considered kosher by default, most whole spices can be assumed to be kosher without specific certification*. For the most part, kosher certification for spices means supervision of how the processing is done.
The Chicago Rabbinical Council considers the following spices to be kosher without specific supervision (original at http://www.crcweb.org/spice_list.php):
- Peppercorns (Any Color)
- Bay Leaf
- Black Pepper
- Garlic– whole or powder (not toasted or roasted)
- Lemon Grass
- Sesame Seed White & Black (Raw only)
- Chili Peppers
- Sumac (pure)
- Mustard Powder and Mustard Seed
- Onion (not toasted or roasted)
- White Pepper
- Cream of Tartar
Spice blends and some whole spices do require rabbinical supervision to be considered kosher. For this reason, Rabbi Tuvia Torem visits the Spice House in Milwaukee every few months in order to oversee their operations and certify the products as kosher.
Each Spice House location contains its own processing facilities. Most of our ground spices and all of our spice blends are processed “in house” in the store at which they will be sold. Currently, only the Milwaukee Spice House has its facilities certified by a rabbi. What this means is that, although all of our locations sell “Sunny Spain”, only “Sunny Spain” produced in Milwaukee is certified Kosher.
All of the Spice House locations obtain their spices from the same sources, and process spices in much the same ways. The reason that only the Milwaukee Spice House has rabbinical supervision is simple; kosher certification in Wisconsin is much less expensive than certification in Illinois, and the staff in Milwaukee are more familiar with kashrut requirements.
Those customers seeking spices with rabbinical kosher certification should call the Milwaukee Spice House and place orders with them directly. They can be reached at 888-488-0977.
Our Kashrut Certificate can be viewed at: http://www.thespicehouse.com/file/misc/kosher-cert-2011-12
*It is important to note that, except in our Milwaukee store, our spices may have come into contact with equipment that is not considered kosher.