How to choose a Kosher agency
Each kosher certifying agency around the world has its own policies and procedures, as well as its trademarked symbol. Whether or not a product will be accepted is based on the standards, reliability and most importantly the symbol familiarity of the certifying agency in the marketplace. Consider the agency’s reliability among kosher authorities and its symbol recognition among consumers. Broad acceptance in both realms means considerably greater value. Here’s what you should take into consideration when you’re choosing a kosher certification agency:
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Kosher Agency
- WHAT TYPE OF PRODUCT ARE YOU SELLING AND WHERE WILL YOU BE SELLING IT?
If you are marketing and selling your products to retailers across North America or internationally, it is essential you choose a kosher agency that is nationally and globally accepted and recognized by consumers. Local agencies will generally be recognized only within their own local markets. Even for those that meet accepted kosher standards, their symbol is probably not well-known to consumers outside their region.If you market and sell your products to Food and Beverage companies to be used in their finished products, your kosher certificates will be reviewed by their kosher agency’s Rabbinic Board, and acceptability is not guaranteed unless you have chosen a reputable agency that is widely known and accepted. We are not commenting on the kosher standards of any particular certifying agency. But do your homework.
- How can you be sure that the information you share with your agency will be kept confidential?
Kosher certification requires you to divulge a lot of information regarding ingredients and products to your kosher agency. OK Kosher Certification will never communicate or divulge your confidential information to anyone, except for authorized OK personnel, who have all signed our non-disclosure agreement.
- How can you determine an agency’s integrity?
Today’s shortcut is tomorrow’s liability. If a supervising rabbi offers short-term shortcuts that do not completely address long-term concerns, look elsewhere.
- Does the agency certify other operations of your type?
In addition to general kosher expertise, ask about an agency’s knowledge of your particular food processing or service— so your certification goes smoothly. OK Kosher employs only world-renowned experts in kosher law and industrial food production.
- How does the agency determine its pricing structure?
Kosher certification has a different price model than other certifications like Organic or non GMO. In contrast to other models, OK Kosher fees are never tied to your company’s sales or size. Visit our Benefits and Pricing page for more information.
- How much will it cost when I wish to add new products at my certified facility?
With OK kosher, new product certification is included in the yearly honorarium fee and there is no additional fee, as long as the new product does not increase the number of visits required at your facility and does not substantially increase the administrative work performed for your company. In cases where the new approval will cause a change in frequency and /or fees, your Account Representative will contact you before the product is approved to discuss this matter.
- Does the agency certify other companies in your region?
Travel cost of certification is typically shared between many producers in a region. It makes sense to share expenses for the inspector’s traveling cost, rather than having to carry the financial burden of these costs on your own. Our network comprises Field Representatives across all 50 states, and 115 countries around the world.
- Does the agency employ advanced systems and manuals?
Clearly documented policies and procedures bring structure to an organization and will assist in your day-to-day decision-making processes. Such policies and procedures need to be adaptable to the needs of the customer in order to be properly implemented. In the course of 80 years providing kosher certification, we have developed advanced systems and operations, including digital systems that help our customers maintain OK Kosher’s stringent standards in an accessible, understandable, user-friendly way. Our Manual for Manufacturing Facilities (available electronically and in hard copy) describes the ins and outs of the OK Kosher systems.
- What does good customer service actually mean to your agency?
It is only with the experience, dedication and a well- staffed customer service department that your agency can achieve personalized customer service that is designed with the manufacturers needs in mind, whilst operating an international organization. At OK Kosher, our people are our greatest asset. OK Kosher customers enjoy the exclusive benefit of specially‐trained dedicated coordinators who bring together premium solutions, guidance and the world‐class expertise necessary to support your ongoing certification needs.
- What does the renewal process look like?
Kosher certificates are normally issued with a one-year expiration. The expiration date is based on the commencement date of your contract. OK Kosher has a well-organized process to ensure timely renewals. In the past, gathering all the updated certificates for your inventory was a tremendous task. Today this has been greatly facilitated by our state-of-the-art digital system.
- Will your agency be accepted by your Private Label companies?
OK Kosher is proud to provide certification for private label companies such as The Kroger Company, Trader Joe’s, Euro-Nat Albertson’s Inc., Loblaw, B.J.’s Wholesale, Key Food, Costco, 7-Eleven, Albertsons, Safeway Limited, Sam’s Club and Fairway.
PLEASE NOTE: The OK Kosher symbol is a registered trademark. Its unauthorized use is a violation of trademark laws. Our rights in this regard are enforced to the fullest extent of the law. The OK symbol may not be used until a written contract has been executed with OK Kosher Certification.