QuicKosher January 2018

posted by January 2018

Dear OK Kosher Client,

We hope you are having a great start to 2018!

For OK Kosher, 2017 has been another year of continued improvement and growth in all areas.  We are happy to share with you that we have hired additional rabbinic and support staff as part of our commitment to maintain a leading role in the kosher industry.  We are also very, deeply saddened by the passing of our long-time senior Rabbinic Coordinator, Rabbi Dovid Steigman, OBM, who passed away in March 2017.  Many of you were blessed to have known and worked with him.  His kind and caring personality, sharp wit and positive energy will be sorely missed.

This year’s OK Kosher Annual International Conference held in November brought Rabbinic Coordinators and Field Representatives from across the globe together for a full-day symposium. The program featured updates from management on recent developments and overall direction.  In addition, high level presentations on kosher law were given by several of OK Kosher’s staff members. One of the highlights of the gathering was the presentation of the 2017 “OK Kosher Featured Company Award,” presented to Kerry Group, a leading producer with many decades of adherence to kosher production under OK Kosher supervision. Kerry Group was chosen for this award in acknowledgement of their genuine dedication to maintaining OK Kosher’s highest regulatory standards required by kosher dietary law. We are proud to acknowledge the entire team at Kerry by selecting them for the “OK Kosher Featured Company Award” this year.

While focusing on our strategic growth, we have put processes in place to ensure that OK Kosher’s standards are uniform worldwide. In general, all standards and policy decisions are established by senior rabbinic staff in our New York head office.  Frequent visits are conducted by senior rabbinic staff to our certified facilities around the world to ensure the highest standards.  This past year, our president, Rabbi Levy, and I have made trips to our Israel office several times (one lasting over 30 days!), working with our staff there to further OK Kosher’s world-renowned standards and service in the areas of the world which they oversee.  Our Israel branch is currently responsible for our continuously-growing efforts in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, China, India, and South Korea.

I have also made a visit to our West Coast office in Los Angeles recently.  We are happy to report that our merger with Kehilla Kosher of the West Coast two years ago has successfully panned out.  We are now certifying hundreds of industrial manufacturers as well as close to one hundred foodservice establishments on the West Coast.  Feedback from our customers has proven that our programs and our personnel are making a big difference in this geographical region.

We invite you to visit our list of globally-based regional offices.  Whether it is an additional facility you would like to certify, or a supplier of yours which needs help becoming certified, our staff is always available to discuss your needs and advise you based on their expertise, almost always in the native language of the region at hand.  Our goal is to help you bring as many products as possible to the market which are “kosher without compromise.”  Please stay tuned as we will be making our Private Label process more automated and streamlined to help you and your customers service your markets.

If there is anything our staff can help with, please feel free to reach out to them, or to me directly.

With continued blessings for a healthy and productive 2018!

Rabbi Eli Lando,
Executive Manager & Chief Customer Relations

2016 In Review – Looking Ahead to 2017 and Beyond

posted by December 2016

Dear OK Kosher Client,


OK Kosher Certification recognizes that this is a busy time of year, as you deal with the demands of closing 2016 on a high and driving to achieve all of your targets. 2017 is around the corner and brings another year of opportunity for growth. As your partners in kosher certification, OK Kosher Certification appreciates the deep commitment that you invest in kosher. We want to honor that partnership by continuing to help your businesses grow in 2017.


In the past 12 months, we’ve significantly simplified our processes while adhering to the same stringent level of kosher regulatory standards OK Kosher is known for.  We have also expanded our staff with several high-caliber individuals across all departments.  This means we are stronger and better equipped to guide our clients than ever before, moving into 2017 and beyond.  Our commitment to excellence will forever be our guiding principle.

As you continue to drive growth through innovation and product launches, Kosher is a significant part of your marketing strategy. To support the success of your 2017 plans, here are a few key factors to bear in mind regarding your kosher programs:


  • To maximize your investment in kosher, it is important for the kosher symbol to be printed clearly on your labels – prominently displayed and large enough that consumers can easily see it.
  • As part of our promise to be your advocate for all kosher matters, we encourage you to give added consideration to the design and placement of the OK Kosher logo on the labels of existing certified products.
  • To assist in this endeavor, OK Kosher has developed an easy-to-follow guide for proper use of the symbol. Please contact service@ok.org, to request copies of this guide.

We thank you for your loyalty and look forward to showing our appreciation in ways both big and small. It is our goal that you consider OK Kosher your in-house kosher experts for any and all kosher matters.

With best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2017.


Rabbi Eli Lando,

Executive Manager & Chief Customer Relations Officer


Can the FDA’s label changes be an opportunity for your brand?

posted by September 2016

Dear OK Kosher Customer,

As you may know, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has taken a major step by requiring updated nutritional information for most packaged foods sold in the United States. This new regulation means that most food manufacturers will have to be using new product labels by July 26, 2018. (Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply with the new rules.)

As part of our promise to be your advocate for all kosher matters, we encourage you to use this opportunity to re-emphasize the importance of the design and placement of the OK kosher logo on your product labels. To maximize your investment in kosher, it is important for the kosher symbol to be printed clearly on your labels – prominently displayed and large enough that consumers can easily see it. To assist in this endeavor, OK Kosher has developed an easy to follow guide to proper use of the symbol. Please contact your Account Representative, or email service@ok.org, to request copies of the guide.

Remember, the consumer is looking for that OK kosher symbol – make it jump out at them!

Thank you for your loyalty to OK Kosher. Achieving the highest kosher standards, with total customer satisfaction, is our goal! We are here to support your growth!

Rabbi Eli Lando,
Executive Manager & Chief Customer Relations Officer

Practices to Help Ensure Continued Kosher Compliance

posted by September 2015

Customers often ask us who within their company should be assigned to oversee and manage their kosher program, and what it takes to do so. As a kosher certified company, you are aware of the various kosher regulations that apply to your company, however, what is the best way to ensure that your company remains in compliance?


Simply put – there are no shortcuts. But the good news is that OK Kosher’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of kosher law is matched by our commitment to the highest levels of service to our certified customers. These commitments are evident at every stage of our relationship with our customers. We are happy to guide you through the process of incorporating compliance measures into your day-to-day procedures.


The first and most important step to success is to designate at least one person (typically from the Quality Assurance or Regulatory Affairs department) to be your “Kosher Contact”. He/she will be actively in charge of the kosher duties and act as the in-house kosher expert for your company. He/she will communicate directly with your Rabbinic Coordinator (RC) and Customer Service Account Representative for all your service needs – such as new ingredient, product and label approvals, billing issues, private label requests and ensuring that OK Kosher is fully aligned to your objectives.  The Kosher Contact will also accompany your locally based field representative during periodic unannounced inspections at your facility.


Companies with multiple plants generally appoint a full time corporate liaison to oversee kosher for all their facilities.


Essential Functions

  • The Kosher Contact serves as a resource to both your company and OK Kosher on issues relating to certification. He/she studies and implements the specific terms and conditions detailed in your certification agreement, and corresponds with OK Kosher.
  • The Kosher Contact will submit (or oversee submissions) or all new ingredients, suppliers and products to be certified.
  • The Kosher Contact will verify that your certified products (retail and industrial) carry the appropriate OK kosher symbol
  • Marketers have long argued that kosher certification is a great marketing tool. The Kosher Contact will also look out for new opportunities and present to marketing.


In order to achieve and maintain excellence in the kosher department clear systems must be established in every department that will enable effective processes and avoid errors, thus preventing costly mistakes and misunderstandings which could potentially lead to product recalls. To help achieve that aim, the Kosher Contact and any other relevant plant personnel should familiarize themselves with our Plant Manual. A link to the manual can be found in the Miscellaneous column of your Digital Kosher homepage. (“Kosher Certifying Agency Manual”). The Plant Manual provides an excellent overview of what kosher is all about, as well as the requirements and procedures necessary to maintain kosher in your factory. If you would like to receive a hard copy of this manual, please let us know.


Whether your company is large or small, we are always available to help you (free of charge) to develop strategies for achieving maximum success. Please email service@ok.org so we can direct you to an appropriate person.

Making the Most of Your Annual Visit

posted by May 2015

As part of OK Kosher’s efforts to assure the highest quality standards and achieve the maximum level of service, our leadership team has developed a set of principles and framework to achieve quality assurance. A primary goal and guiding principle of the quality assurance system is to strengthen our certified companies and ultimately support their efforts to provide high standard kosher products to consumers.  In order to achieve this, in addition to ongoing mid-year visits by your local OK rabbi, each certified company is required to participate in an annual assessment process (the “Annual Visit”), conducted by an OK executive rabbi.


The annual visit is a distinguishing feature of OK Kosher’s level of quality and service. All of our customers, from huge corporations to small businesses, receive the same personalized attention from their dedicated senior headquarters rabbi – the Rabbinic Coordinator.  The executive visit enables you and your RC to meet in person each year, and together review the unique mechanisms of your facility. As a result, the RC will be able to tailor the necessary kosher instructions for both you and your local OK rabbi, and he’ll have the information and background he needs to assist you in a thorough, comprehensive and timely fashion when you contact him during the year to discuss new projects that might need his feedback. In addition, the annual visit is an opportunity to discuss how it might be possible to certify other products that are not currently included in your kosher program. If utilized effectively, the annual visit can serve to upgrade your involvement in the kosher program. As a matter of fact, many customers tell us these visits have helped their regulatory staff, and company personnel as a whole, to better appreciate and be part of the kosher program.


We encourage you to take advantage of this visit to openly discuss your questions, concerns, forecasted new projects, etc. This may also be an opportune time to set up a seminar for your employees so they can meet the rabbi and ask any questions they may have regarding general kosher knowledge and your kosher program in particular. The rabbi will be happy to conduct this type of session. Please let the rabbi know prior to the confirmation of his visit that you wish to set up a seminar, so that he can schedule his itinerary accordingly.


At OK Kosher we remain committed to our mission: to certify, educate, advocate, and promote kosher.

Tips and Insights for Smarter Kosher Decisions

posted by March 2015

The eight-day festival of Passover is fast approaching. This year Passover is April 3-11. It commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

For more info on Passover and its implications for kosher standards, please refer to the “OK Kosher Plant Manual” page 84. The Manual is available on your Digital Kosher homepage, or contact your Account Rep if you would like to receive a hard copy.


Also, please note our upcoming Passover holiday closing schedule!

We encourage customers to notify us of any urgent requests as much in advance as possible, so we can make sure to service your request promptly.


In particular, it’s helpful to let us know about:

  • New ingredient / product submissions that are urgently due.
  • Productions that will require the scheduling of your local rabbinic representative during the holiday season.
  • ISOtank and bulk shipment requests that are urgently due.


We always appreciate your support and understanding. We focus on providing you with the finest service.

OK Kosher Releases Innovative Updated Plant Manual

posted by July 2014

The OK has revised its comprehensive “how to” manual for kosher certified facilities.


OK Kosher believes that communication is essential to the effective development of a kosher program. To this end, the purpose of this manual is to direct you, step by step, through a successful kosher protocol.

Whether you would like to introduce a new ingredient, launch a new product, or understand the interaction between the rabbi and your staff, or anything else, you will find clear instructions in this guide.

Another purpose of this manual is to familiarize (newly) appointed personnel with kosher information and requirements pertaining to your facility. This concise, user-friendly format will serve as a guideline to those not yet familiar with kosher.

The manual covers the basic rules of a kosher facility, including ingredients & raw materials, kosher certificates, the OK “Group” system, equipment & productions, toll manufacturing, finished products, labels, rabbi visits, Passover, and more. Each section of the manual explores these topics in depth and is an indispensable resource for all employees involved in production of kosher products.

The plant manual also includes a comprehensive tutorial of the digital services the OK provides to its customers – be sure to ask your account representative to help you explore how you can take advantage of them.

The most important takeaway from the OK Kosher Manufacturing Facility manual remains that when in doubt, ask. When you think you know the answer and don’t want to bother the rabbi, ask anyway.

To obtain copies of the revised manual, please contact your Account Representative or email info@ok.org (SUBJECT: Plant Manual) and your request will be forwarded to your Account Representative.


We’ve made these changes after talking to customers like you. Thank you for your support. We do not take your loyalty for granted and are working hard on your behalf.

– The OK Kosher Team

OK Kosher Selected for Best of Brooklyn 2014 Award

posted by April 2014

Brooklyn Award Program Honors the Achievement


BROOKLYN April 23, 2014

OK Kosher Certification has been selected for the 2014 Best of Brooklyn Award in the Kosher Food Products category by the Brooklyn Award Program.


Each year, the Brooklyn Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Brooklyn area a great place to live, work and play.


Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2014 Brooklyn Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Brooklyn Award Program and data provided by third parties.


About Brooklyn Award Program

The Brooklyn Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Brooklyn area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.


The Brooklyn Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.


SOURCE: Brooklyn Award Program

Fermented Red – A Game Changer?

posted by February 2014

Courtesy of Chr. Hansen


Ed. Note: Carmine, a popular red colorant, is not kosher due to the prohibition of insect derived foods. A synthetic version is a major contribution to kosher food production.


The ability to produce natural colors based on fermentation could radically change the market place and constitute a ticket to a brave new world

Red is the most used color in the food industry, and carmine is a very important natural red color. It is used in a large number of products due to its excellent coloring properties.

Building on core competences
A project has been running over the past few years aiming at developing a new production method for carmine as an alternative to the production method in use today.

The project, which has been granted funds from the Danish High Technology Foundation, builds on Chr. Hansen’s unique technological platform. In the fermented carmine project we are leveraging our core competences within fermentation in the color business with exciting potential:

“The idea is to find the gene that produces the pigment and put it into a production organism – possibly yeast – so we can produce carminic acid by fermentation, or in a “cell factory”, instead of extracting it from the insect,” explains Mads Bennedsen, Senior Research Scientist.

18,000 genes “To map all the DNA, the so-called genome, of a cochineal is a huge task.

However small the insect is (1/8″) it has 18,000 genes, and we reckon that 5-10 of those are responsible for the production of carminic acid.

Thanks to our expertise in gene sequencing we have now narrowed the candidates down to approximately 50 genes,” he elaborates.

“We are applying several different scientific strategies. So if the approach of trying to copy the lice’s biosynthesis pathway to making color fails, you could say, in a manner of speaking, that we have plans B, C, D and E in place to fulfil the task.”

Explosion – paradigm shift – technological revolution … Once commercially available on an estimated 5-10 year horizon, fermentation produced carmine represents a great technological leap and it will provide a major competitive advantage in the market place.

“If successful as we hope, this project is a game changer. We will have a more scalable production and we will be able to protect the business with solid patents. Once the technology is in place for carmine, we could potentially expand it to other natural colors as well, and that could make it a biotechnological revolution. And I am having a ball being part of it!” concludes Mads Bennedsen.