Parve is a Hebrew term and pareve is the Yiddish term.Â These words are descriptions for foods without any meat or dairy ingredients.Â PareveÂ always means that a food is dairy-free enitrely . . . no casein, no whey, no lactose, no milk protein . . . nada!Â But it also means so much more.
Pareve foods contain absolutely no meat or dairy derivatives, and have not been cooked or mixed with any meat or dairy foods. The reason behind this is that Jewish law prohibits mixing meat and milk and so, people following that faith simply need to know.
While the law states no meat, fish, however, is not parveÂ according to modern Jewish laws.
There are processed parve foods such as pasta, sodas, coffee, tea, candies and snacks.Â Most grocery stores carry commercially produced parve processed foods, like bread and if they are certified parve, you can be sure it is dairy-free.
Interestingly, eggs are sometimes parve and sometimes non-parve.Â Eggs from kosher birds are considered pareve.Â This is assuming they are also blood-free because blood is strictly prohibited under the kosher law.
It is crucial to err on the side of caution when it comes to parve and not necessarily go by the list of ingrediets.Â Many products that might appear parve are not due to cross-contamination.Â Specifically, they were produced in a facility that also produces other products containing milk.Â Further, the FDA allows manufacturers to omit dairy from their list of ingredients if it is below a certain amount.
If you look in the box, packaging or container, however, and it has the pareve marking, called the “hechshar” or states that it is certified pareve, you can be pretty sure you are safe, especially if it was manufactured in the United States, Israel or European countries.Â Note, there have been claims that foods imported from other countries, such as China, have displayed the pareve marking, but do indeed contain milk ingredients.Â Still, that is quite unlikely.