How To Choose a Kosher Agency
There are hundreds of kosher certification agencies around the world. How do you find the right agency to work with you? It comes down to the reputation and recognition a given kosher agency has in the marketplace. This will determine your products’ acceptability to kosher consumers, as represented by the agency’s trademarked kosher symbol.
What to Consider When Choosing a Kosher Agency
- What is the difference between domestic and international kosher agencies?
Domestic agencies operate mostly or completely within a specific region or country. They may certify several products outside their immediate region, but these normally represent a comparatively small share of their total activity. Domestic agencies are typically governed by one or just a small group of rabbis and personnel, with their main purpose being to serve the local community. In most cases, their symbol will be known mainly in the immediate area.International agencies maintain significant operations and activity in numerous geographical regions. These agencies are structured with a reputable rabbinic board governing tens of Rabbinic Coordinators who, in turn, oversee hundreds of field representatives (auditors). These organizations maintain clearly written policies and procedures, which have been developed with approximately 100 years of experience. International agencies have expertise in the fields of food science and manufacturing. They also have high-tech internal systems which provide top-notch efficiency and accuracy. They offer their customers professional assistance from dedicated specialists. The level of kosher regulation to which these agencies adhere is recognized by consumers when they see the widely-known trademarked kosher symbol on product labels. On the industrial level, having an internationally-recognized kosher certificate will eliminate the need for duplicate work and further investigation or rejection by customers’ certification agencies.
Broad acceptance in both realms means a greater market reach.
- 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 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.
More than eighty percent of the kosher food sold in the U.S. is certified kosher by one of the five largest agencies. By all available measures, the OK is the most influential of the Big Five. Time and again, companies who do their homework have discovered that OK Kosher is the benchmark for global kosher certification and services; the best choice for any company.
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.