Why Does the OU Symbol Appear On Labels That May Not Reflect Kosher Values?

Often times, the OU appears on products which are labeled in ways that may not necessarily reflect kosher values. For example, a fish sauce may display a picture of a non‐kosher fish, the OU may appear on artificial crab or pork, or there may be a recipe for a non‐kosher food item on the label. At times, references to religious holidays may appear on labels and there may be images that do not reflect Jewish standards of modesty.

It is important to recognize that one of the strengths of the OU is that we typically certify products that are not manufactured exclusively for the kosher market. As such the product labels reflect the needs of the manufacturer and not necessarily the niche of the kosher consumer. One of the many benefits to this is that the manufacturer does not have to order new labels or special ingredients for the kosher product which saves them money thereby making kosher food readily available in most parts of the world at reasonable prices. In addition, for various reasons, companies seek supervision for a wide range of products and, at times, will certify their entire product line since all of the ingredients are kosher. It would be inappropriate for the OU to restrict the content of the label since the product is intended for general use. Companies prefer to use the OU on as many products as possible because the OU serves as a general endorsement which appeals to consumers beyond the Jewish market. In some instances, such as labels bearing religious symbols, the manufacturer would find the OU restrictions to be offensive and intolerant. The OU logo relates only to the kosher status of the food in the package and not to the content of the label. It is therefore solely up to the discretion of the individual consumer as to what they prefer to purchase.