The Initial Visit – Establishing Kosher Procedure.
How your Rabbinic Coordinator will set up your facility for kosher success.
What is the Initial Visit?
The initial visit is a foundational element of any high-quality kosher certification. As the name suggests, this is the first opportunity for the Rabbinic Coordinator (RC) to get a first-hand look at the facility. He’ll also begin to set up the kosher program at this visit. OK Kosher offers the unique benefit of an executive-level RC to personally oversee each kosher certified company.
Who is a Rabbinic Coordinator?
We have some of the world’s brightest minds in kosher regulation, in nearly every sub-category of production. The RC assigned to your company will have the best combination of experience and knowledge of the industry you’re producing for. Whether it’s alcoholic beverages, chocolates, slaughterhouses, bakeries, flavors and fragrances, or even non-food items, we have an expert specializing in certifying it. When you have your consultation, be sure to ask the RC all the questions you need. Other than designing and running your kosher program, his job is to guide you and keep you informed.
If you’re already somewhat familiar with kosher certification, you may be used to the term ‘rabbinical field representative,’ or a mashgiach. These regional rabbis conduct drop-in visits throughout the term of certification, on behalf of the RC. They are experienced and qualified to carry out these inspections, and report directly to the RC. OK Kosher’s Rabbinic Coordinators repeat a visit to the facility annually, to make sure the program is running smoothly. Again, this is a unique benefit the OK offers that other kosher certifiers don’t.
When Does the Initial Visit Take Place?
Once you apply for kosher, the assigned Rabbinic Coordinator will give your contact person a free consultation over the phone. After a discussion of your company’s process and products, we’ll talk about the procedures associated with kosher for your company. Once the estimated fees and timeline are layed out, we’ll schedule the initial visit to your facility. If the certification program will include production at more than one site, each facility will need to be visited separately. In this case, the initial visit process may take more than one day and/or some travel. To keep the application and certification process moving, we’ll keep following up in order to make it happen ASAP. This will naturally depend on your company’s timeline and needs, as well as the Rabbinic Coordinator’s schedule. Regardless, our goal is to get your company producing kosher at the highest standard, sooner rather than later.
What Happens During the Initial Visit?
As mentioned, the purpose of this initial visit is to give the Rabbinic Coordinator a full understanding of the unique nature of your facility. As such, the initial visit will entail a thorough inspection of production lines, purchasing, receiving, storage, cleaning procedures and logs. It will also include a review of ingredients and product formulas, and any other specific information which would be relevant to your potential kosher program. As such, it’s important that the relevant plant personnel are available for any questions the rabbi may have.
Based on his review, the RC will draw up a comprehensive plan for certifying the plant. He’ll then submit it in a written report to our OK Kosher Rabbinical Council (Kashrus Vaad). The report will include key information such as restrictions, guidelines, filed rep instructions, and next steps. Once it’s approved, the RC will equip your staff with all of the information needed to maintain kosher compliance ongoing.
How Should We Prepare for the Initial Visit?
Preparing for your initial visit is relatively simple! As mentioned, the personnel relevant to the production should make themselves available for discussion. Though the rabbi does not need to witness an active production in progress during the visit, he will need to see the equipment that’s used. Logs and ingredient lists will also need to be available to review. Finally, please clear all areas of the facility for entry ahead of the visit. Other than that, you can rest assured that your RC will take care of the rest.
Still Have Questions?
We hope this overview of the initial visit has been helpful. If you’re still considering whether to apply for kosher certification, have a look at our core reasons to go kosher. For a start-to-finish breakdown of the kosher application process, check out the 5 steps to kosher certification. We hope and look forward to visiting you soon!