A Closer Look: Vanilla

Natural vanilla beans are the second most expensive spice (after saffron), due to limited supply, high demand, and a long and costly growing and manufacturing process. Very little of the vanilla flavor in the world is from natural vanilla beans; artificial or imitation vanilla make up the majority of the vanilla used in most products.

A Closer Look: Tree Nuts

Many simple nut products are processed by repacking facilities that process other products and cross-contamination can be an issue, mostly for Passover, especially when dealing with products that are packed into retail packaging.

A Closer Look: Breakfast Cereal

Any product which is not considered pas is considered a tavshil and subject to the Bishul Yisroel requirements. However, breakfast cereals are not served at official meals, so the final product is not considered oleh al shulchan melachim (fit for a king’s table) and is not subject to the Bishul Yisroel requirements. In addition, cereals are not considered important by
themselves without the milk.

A Closer Look: Sugar

Sugar is used in almost all types of foods, such as baked goods, beverages, chocolates, and candy, among many others. The average American consumes over 100 pounds of sugar a year.

Canned Vegetables

Canned vegetables are vegetables that are processed, sealed, cooked, and stored in cans. This is a low-cost method to extend the shelf life of the vegetable. It also provides consumers with a convenient and cheap way to enjoy vegetables, no matter the season.

What is Bitul?

OK Kosher only certifies products that are kosher without relying on nullification. This means that 100% of the ingredients must be approved as kosher in order for the finished product to be OK certified.

A Man of the Highest Standards

When I discussed the details with Rabbi Levy, it was clear that despite the fact that there were certain leniencies that could be applied, the OK certifies products “lechatchila” and we will not be certifying this product. When another hechsher reached out to them, willing to certify based on the leniencies, the company said no. The company recognized and appreciated the high standards of the OK.

A Closer Look – Olives

Olives are small, green fruit that grown on trees in Eretz Yisroel and around the world. They are one of the Shivas Haminim mentioned in the Torah.

A Closer Look – Gelatin

In order for the gelatin to be kosher certified, it must be made from kosher animals that underwent kosher slaughter and processing, or from kosher fish.

Chocolate Chips

Chocolate chips are small chunks of sweetened chocolate, used for cooking, baking or enjoyed as a snack.


What is yeast? Yeast is a microscopic fungus that metabolizes carbohydrates (sugars) into carbon dioxide gas and alcohols. It is used as a leavening agent in baking (carbohydrates turn into carbon dioxide and cause the dough to expand; the alcohol …

What is White Vinegar

The word vinegar is a combination of two French words, vin (wine) and aigre (sour). White vinegar, the most commonly used form, is a clear liquid with a sour taste, which is used to add taste in cooking, pickling, and salad dressings.

What Are Probiotics

Probiotics are live micro-organisms (bacteria) that provide many health benefits, especially for the digestive system. Probiotics are found in yogurts and other fermented products and are sold in liquid, powder, capsule, or tablet form. How are probiotics made? The micro-organism …

What’s the Big Deal About Slurpees?

The OK often receives questions from consumers about the kosher status of Slurpees. For example, “During the summer (and even the winter) whenever we pass by a 7-Eleven store, my kids always want to buy Slurpees, but I always say no …

What is Xanthan Gum?

Xanthan gum is a white to tan colored powder used in many food products. It is commonly used in condiments such as salad dressings and sauces, jams and fruit fillings to add viscosity and help stabilize the products by preventing …

What is pectin?

Pectin is a light colored powder used mostly in jams, jellies, fillings, juices, drinks and baked products. Pectin is used for its gelling property which helps give a jelly-like consistency and improves the texture of drinks…

What is Vegetable Oil?

Vegetable oil is oil that is extracted from various types of fruits, seeds, grains, and nuts (all considered vegetables for this purpose). The most popular oils are made from canola, coconut, corn, cottonseed, olive, palm, palm-kernel, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower.

What is Citric Acid?

Citric acid is a white powder used to give a sour taste to beverages and food products. It is also used as a preservative to prevent spoilage because it increases the acidity of products and many bacteria that cause food spoilage are unable to grow in an acidic environment. It is also used in dietary supplements because the body absorbs minerals better when they are attached to citric acid.