Forty Years of Kosher With OK Kosher Certification
For over 80 years OK Kosher (referred to affectionately in the industry as “The OK”) has remained the standard-bearer for the highest level of kosher certification in the food and beverage industry. Our symbol appears on over 600,000 products produced by emerging mom-and-pop brands and top manufacturers alike, including giants like Kraft-Heinz, ConAgra, Snapple®, and Tropicana®. With offices across 6 continents, and representatives in over 100 countries around the world, the OK symbol is one of the most instantly recognizable and universally accepted kosher certification marks in the world.
In 2016, OK Kosher absorbed Kehilla Kashrus of Los Angeles and expanded our reach on the West Coast. The OK offers regular training opportunities for mashgichim, as well as our annual International Mashgiach Conference, attended by over 100 rabbis from across the globe. OK Kosher’s 12 global offices allow us to reach over 115 countries to provide kosher supervision. Our food service department has been blessed with incredible expansion throughout the tri-state area, Florida and California, led by a superb team of Rabbinic Coordinators who are constantly working to raise the standard of food service kashrus.
Notably, the OK’s renowned Tolaim Department, led by industry experts and poskim, is constantly developing and refining infestation control and inspection procedures in the lab located in our New York office. A dedicated team of rabbonim and mashgichim are utilizing the lab on a daily basis to spot check produce bearing the OK symbol and teach mashgichim the techniques necessary to ensure produce in OK food service establishments is bug free.
I took the helm of the OK in 1987 and I still travel to facilities around the globe and personally review every new contract and initial visit report, and all OK Rabbinic Coordinators personally visit their designated facilities annually, in addition to the scheduled mashgiach inspections. As my kashrus career approaches the 50-year mark, I could not be more grateful for the worldwide impact we have achieved.
Baruch Hashem, I have presided over the tremendous growth of the OK for over thirty years. Over the past 30 years, despite many obstacles and much opposition, we have succeeded in spreading top quality kashrus worldwide in an ever increasingly efficient manner with the assistance of our expert staff. I attribute our growth and success to the siyata d’Shamaya channeled through the encouragement and brochos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe ob”m and to zechus avos.
The OK has an interesting blend of senior rabbis and young, new recruits. The senior staff brings thousands of hours of experience and knowledge and younger staff bring a fresh energy and familiarity that enables them to take advantage of the latest technology.
Our reputation is built upon a deep level of trust between manufacturers, producers, and consumers. We believe passionately that kosher laws form a crucial part of an all-encompassing life of integrity, and this belief guides us in everything we do. It’s the spirit that lies at the heart of our operations. Companies who choose the OK as their kosher partner know that they’re gaining more than a reliable kosher certificate. They’re gaining more than a source of encyclopedic knowledge, trustworthy expertise, and a competitive advantage in the marketplace. They’re gaining a true partner with an uncompromising commitment to excellence, efficiency, and transparency at every level—from account handling all the way to the more than 400 field representatives and Rabbinic Coordinators with whom they interact regularly. That’s the OK Kosher difference.
Since its founding, OK Kosher’s mission has been to promote the highest standards of kosher supervision and to educate the public, both on a global and community level, about kosher and its importance. Beyond providing kosher certification for thousands of products and establishments, OK Kosher produces numerous publications, seminars, and promotional campaigns each year to teach food and beverage companies and consumers alike about the meaning and practical details of kosher production and consumption. We also work to advocate for continuous innovation and technological advancements to make kosher compliance as accessible as possible and our website, www.ok.org, has become a go-to resource for consumers and customers alike.
Kosher Spirit, the iconic magazine produced by the OK, reaches almost 500,000 households annually. Kosher Spirit presents high level articles about relevant consumer kashrus halachos and topics, bringing kashrus education directly into the homes of consumers. In addition, we give consumers and inside look at the process of kosher certification and insights into why our certified companies chose the OK.
The Kosher Housekeeper, now in its second printing, can be spotted in homes across America. The manual provides valuable tools to Jewish homemakers, from halachos pertaining to cleaning help on Shabbos and Yom Tov, cleaning help and practical kashrus, as well as a convenient Spanish-English guide to train new household help.
The OK Vegetable Checking Guide enables consumers to act as mashgiach in their own home and have access to the training and procedures used in every OK certified food service establishment, which aids in bringing home kashrus up to the highest level.
We know that both consumers and manufacturers around the world depend on us to know the real story behind the kosher food they eat and the people who make it—and we work tirelessly each day to continue to be worthy of that trust.
Originally published in Kashrus Magazine