The Guide to Receiving Kosher Ingredients – AKA The Kosher Group System – Updated for 2024

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The Guide to Receiving Kosher Ingredients – AKA The Kosher Group System – Updated for 2024 What is the Kosher Group System? Some Examples of Kosher Groups How Should We Use the Kosher Group System? Kosher Groups Approved from Specified Source Kosher Groups for Approved Bulk Material Kosher Groups Not Approved for Kosher Use Blank – No Kosher Group Designation Approval Duration You’ve Just Refreshed Your Professional Kosher Knowledge

The Guide to Receiving Kosher Ingredients – AKA The Kosher Group System – Updated for 2024

Revisions to the OK Kosher Group System for Raw Materials your company should know about.

Welcome to the Kosher Group System.  With so many factors to consider in formulating and regulating products, your company likely wants to keep things as simple possible.  That’s why you leave it to the outside partners – like OK Kosher – to handle the technical specifications of their certifications for you.  But in some cases, it’s good for you to know a bit about how those specifications work too.  It saves your team time, effort and, ultimately, money when going through the steps of getting products approved.

What is the Kosher Group System?

When submitting your ingredients lists for approval, there are several ways we can give them the pass or not.  Based on kosher law, different foodstuffs and raw materials break down into types or categories.  You likely already know about Meat, Dairy and Pareve, as well as Passover statuses within kosher law. However, within these, there are subdivisions of how stringently we need to supervise or verify an item’s origins.

Some Examples of Kosher Groups

For instance, sometimes a spec sheet will be enough evidence of an ingredient’s origins, and we can either approve or disapprove it.  Other times, we’ll need to know that the substance was transported or handled in accordance with kosher law, and may require a signature or seal of a rabbi (Group 3 or 5).  We’ll sometimes require RMs to come in with a pre-printed kosher symbol on the exterior of the packaging (Group 3), while sometimes it isn’t necessary (Group 2). There’s also significance to whether an item was imported or brought in in bulk or smaller shipments.  Other times, a type of RM is typically produced in a standardized way and we can approve it with no extra credentials at all (Group 1).  Some things are always prohibited, no questions asked (Group 7).  And yet some have an in-between status.  We’ll allow use of these on-site in an OK-certified facility, but not used in kosher formulas (Group 6).  And so on.

A note on a special group: Group 2A

Group 2A, as you would guess, is a sub-group of Group 2.  In the 2A scenario, we couldn’t obtain an acceptable Kosher Letter (KL) of approval.  Therefore, we try to help your company by obtaining the information we need ourselves. For this, we can sometimes find the necessary details in a spec sheet or other documentation. In other cases, however, we’ll need to visit the manufacturer to verify whether the ingredient can still be approved for use in kosher products.  Following the visit, we can assess if more visits will be needed to maintain that approval.  Note that this is a service we offered to our certified companies to prevent ingredient rejection, and is limited to specific situations.

How Should We Use the Kosher Group System?

As a guideline and a planning tool.  Ultimately, our ingredient review department will take the role and responsibility of approving or disapproving an ingredient.  And any time we’ll need more information or documentation on a given ingredient, our staff will reach out and ask you to provide it.  But as you can imagine, knowing the framework we’re basing that on is a benefit to you.  As mentioned, it’ll save you time, effort and expense.  We’re happy to offer you this helpful resource in support of your work in formulating and submitting products for kosher review!

So go ahead and take a look at our newly updated version of the Guide and Group System below.  You can also download the PDF of the Guide for your team anytime either here or in our resources and learning center.

Kosher Groups Approved from Specified Source

Group 1

Product source required, but presently no kosher certificate required.  Approval status may be changed at any time.

Group 2

Product must have certification, but symbol need not be present on packaging.

Group 2A

Approval granted based on our recent analysis of, or visit to the manufacturing facility, regardless of product’s certification.  Kosher symbol need not be present on packaging.  Expires one year after original OK Kosher evaluation and approval date.

Group 3

Product requires a preprinted kosher symbol.

Group 3A

Product requires special marking – Rabbi’s signature, stamp, numbered seal/sticker or hologram.

Group 3C

Requires a special Rabbi’s letter certifying the product (e.g. Lot-Specific Certificate).

Kosher Groups for Approved Bulk Material

Group 4

Approved (in specified tanker, truck, etc.) – only from specified source.

Group 5

Bulk liquid – approved (in specified tanker, truck, etc.) – from specified source only when accompanied by a special Rabbi’s letter.

Kosher Groups Not Approved for Kosher Use

Group 6

Not approved for use in OK Kosher certified product, but may be used on facility’s non-kosher equipment.

Group 6A

Not approved for use in OK certified products, but may be used on kosher equipment.

Group 6B

Not approved for use in OK certified products, but may be used only in research and development area, and not on other equipment.

Group 7

Not approved and may not be present in plant.

Group 0

Product is under investigation.  May not be used in facility.

Blank – No Kosher Group Designation

Not yet evaluated and not yet assigned.

Approval Duration

An ingredient approval is valid until the day of expiration of its underlying kosher certificate.  In the event that the approval is not based on the certificate (e.g. Group 1 or 2A), it expires one year from the approval date.

Graphically designed flyer of the OK Kosher Group System - Guide for Receiving Kosher Ingredients

You’ve Just Refreshed Your Professional Kosher Knowledge

Whether developing new formulas to submit for kosher review or training a new kosher-focused team member, the Kosher Group System is key information.  Which means getting comfy with our Guide to Receiving Kosher Ingredients will be a worthwhile few minutes spent.  Thank you for taking the time to review our updated Guide to Receiving Kosher Ingredients.

Have any questions?

Reach out to your dedicated OK Kosher Account Rep or shoot us a note in the New Certifications office.

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