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Kosher before certification existed

Something that crossed my mind was how did our ancestors maintain certain aspects of kashrut prior to certification? Especially in the diaspora, where there would have been no way to know if certain goods had come into contact with something not kosher. Say flour for instance. If someone was making a cake and needed to get flour from a dry goods shop. How did they know that at any point in production or shipment that it didn’t come into contact with anything that would render it un-kosher? In the past soap was commonly made from animal fat. So equipment used for processing would have been cleaned with these soaps. So if someone made a cake with flour that had contact with equipment cleaned with an animal based soap, and then put a dairy frosting on top, wouldn’t that make it not kosher? Was this not taken into consideration in the same way in the past as it is today? Also, even with modern certification, how is it ensured that products which carry the certifications aren’t in contact with non-kosher items during distribution? Most products are not sent to markets direct from the manufacturer, they go through distributors. I work in grocery. Items come in mixed in together in boxes and on palettes.

Has kosher become more strict in modern times compared to the past, or do you think it’s about the same? How were the details of potential cross-contamination handled before modern certification existed?

submitted by /u/Kira12187
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Source: Reditt