Kashrut at it’s simplest is the sacred diet of the Jewish people, including the laws of not mixing meat and milk and refraining from eating non-kosher animals.
There are also new movements in kashrut that seek to further elevate the human soul through food, as well as stricter forms of traditional kashrut.
Eco-Kashrut combines kashrut with an emphasis on eating organic, locally produced foods. The impact that people have on the environment through their eating habits, including the use of insecticides and fuel to truck foods across the country, has lead people who maintain a kosher lifestyle to seek out sustainable kosher foods.
Ethical Kashrut is an approach to kashrut that includes eco-kashrut, as well as concern for worker’s rights and animal treatment. The Jewish people have always emphasized treating workers fairly and minimizing the pain and suffering to animals, including those that we eat. Ethical kashrut has also given birth to vegetarian and vegan kashrut.
Vegetarian/Vegan Kashrut is a part of the ethical kashrut movement, with a special emphasis on the belief that kashrut, at its best, is observed through a vegetarian and/or vegan life. The motivations for a vegetarian kosher lifestyle vary from a belief in animal rights, to a desire to simplify kashrut by eliminating animal products.
Cholov Yisroel means “milk of Israel” and seeks to further sanctify the eating of dairy products. Cows that are raised according to Cholov Yisroel standards are kept at optimum health. While the FDA allows animals with certain kinds of diseased to still be milked, the strictness of Cholov Yisroel prevents these animals from being used.
Bishul Yisrael was instituted in the past to keep Jews from eating food prepared by non-Jews and limit social interaction between the two groups. While today, Jews and non-Jews alike eat together without any problems, the laws of Bishul Yisroel have been transformed into another safety net that prevents food from accidentally being rendered unkosher. Practically speaking, this includes having someone observe the food being prepared (called a mashgiach) to ensure that the rules of bishul Yisrael are complied with.
Pas Yisroel is a certification for kosher bread. Mainly, this rule means that a Jewish person who is observant of Jewish law was a part of the bread making process. This is similar to Bishul Yisrael, but specifically for bread.
Yayin Kasher are the laws of kosher as it pertains to wine. Obviously, wine is kosher if all the ingredients are kosher. But yayin kasher takes this a step further by regulating who has come into contact with the wine, just like Pas Yisroel.