Product on Schedule A Needs a Hebrew Signature

1.  There is an ingredient on our schedule A with a notation that says, “only acceptable with Hebrew signature of supervising rabbi”.   I can’t read Hebrew, much less recognize a signature.  I found something on the label I thought might be it, but it turned out to be the box manufacturer’s logo.

Q: How do I find the Hebrew signature on my schedule A ingredient

A. Not to worry! The significance of requiring the signature is that it shows that the item was made while the Rabbi was present on-site actively supervising the production.  Sometimes the specification will be for a special sticker or a hologram instead of a signature.  What is most important to understand about all of these requirements is that a standard pre-printed kosher symbol, which is normally adequate in most cases, is not acceptable proof of kosher status for this particular item.


2. We don’t have a Rabbi who signs labels or puts stickers on products.

Q: Why isn’t the preprinted kosher symbol by itself not enough?

A. This should also not be a cause of concern for you.  The requirement for a signature or sticker or hologram is only when a situation arises which cannot be properly verified by normal means of regular unannounced inspections but, rather, requires a Rabbi on-site to assure that a potential problem in that situation did not occur.  For example, a plant that always produces dairy products and has only dairy equipment now needs to produce a pareve item.  In such a situation, the plant will likely require kosherization of equipment and utensils prior to the run and control over the dairy ingredients and items during the run to insure that there is no mixing of pareve and dairy and that dairy does not compromise the pareve production.  Since the problematic dairy product is already known to be onsite, kosher rules require a high level of verification that there was no mixing of dairy into pareve.  This can often only be accomplished by having the Rabbi onsite personally supervising the entire production and packaging.  A preprinted label would not be sufficient to verify that this extra level of supervision had been done, and it is the signature or sticker or hologram proving the actual presence of the Rabbi for the pareve production which confirm that the extra level of supervision necessary in that situation has been taken.

Rabbi Yaakov Luban