In this special presentation on trends in kosher and halal certification in product development, David Feder, Executive Editor-Technical for Prepared Foods, interviews Joe Regenstein, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Food Science and head of the Kosher and Halal Food Initiative in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. Dr. Regenstein is perhaps the leading authority on these two religion-based certifications in the academic world today.

With a PhD in biophysics is from Brandeis University, he has won numerous awards over the years for career service, efforts to promote multicultural diversity, and outstanding accomplishments in science and public policy. He was IFT’s first Congressional Science Fellow and served on IFT’s Executive Committee.

Author and editor of numerous books and articles across dozens of publications both scientific and popular, Regenstein also has served on the Food Market Institute’s and with Dr. Temple Grandin on the American Veterinary Medicine Association’s Humane Slaughter Guidelines Panel.

More than three-quarters of the consumers who actively purchase kosher-certified items do so for reasons other than religious adherence. They recognize that the level of strictness in preparation and oversight can indicate a safer, cleaner, purer product. For vegans and vegetarians, kosher pareve certification ensures an absence of meat- and dairy-derived ingredients down to a molecular level. Halal, serving the more than 1 billion Muslims in the world, is the fastest growing certification in the US. In this interview, Feder and Regenstein discuss some of the challenges in attaining these important certifications.

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