Behind the Scenes (Theoretical Kashruth)

OU’s Longtime RFR’s: Kashrut Supervision Legends In Their Own Time

The Reasons behind a thriving organization’s success lie squarely at the doors of its trailblazers, the dedicated forefathers who laid the essential groundwork. In the booming OU Kashrut Division’s case, you could try knocking on the two Giants of Kashrut’s doors, but you probably won’t find them home; they’re on the road happily priming the next generation of experts.

Why the OU Bugged a Mathematician or Why I’m Going to Think Twice Before Buying any Packaged Product

Did you know that when you purchase packaged fruits and vegetables, you are buying food that may contain bugs? They’re not listed on the label. You never see it mentioned on TV commercials and in newspaper advertisements. But they might be in there.

Here’s the Buzz on Certifying Veggies as Insect-Free

Vegetables have forever been a basic staple of a person’s diet. Rich in fiber and vitamins, God’s gift to mankind is essential to maintaining one’s health. Unexpectedly, certain types of vegetables also provide a good source of protein. Vegetables rich in protein are those that provide a safe haven for insects, with the protein found in the insect itself. This trend has made the kosher certification of vegetables highly challenging. Insects are naturally found in the environment and in farm fields. However, kosher law strictly prohibits the consumption of insects.

The Great Matzah Controversy – Or, Should Matzah Be Made By Hand Or Machine?

Dating back to the time of Moses, the practice had always been to make matzah by hand. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the first half of the nineteenth century, however, things changed. In France, in 1838, Isaac Singer invented the first machine for baking matzah.

Cholov Yisroel

Milk and dairy products are increasingly available with cholov Yisroel certification. This article will explain what cholov Yisroel means and how facilities operate in order to produce cholov Yisroel. Let’s take a look.

Industrial Bakeries

The most fundamental aspect of supervision is to ensure that all ingredients meet the kashrus requirements of the kashrus agency. Baking companies use a vast number of ingredients, more than most other industry. In addition to the obvious and somewhat innocuous use of basic flours, the full range of ingredients requiring intense certification is used. For example: oils and shortening, egg products, emulsifiers, flavors and enzymes. Product formulas must be reviewed and monitored to make sure than no pareve products contain dairy ingredients.

“In The Bag”: Kosher Certification Of Bagged Salad

One of the great conveniences today enjoyed by the food consumer is bagged fresh salads. Washed, mixed, and nicely packaged, these products eliminate the annoyance of salad preparation and are just waiting to grace one’s table. However, nowadays even seemingly innocuous products must require kosher supervision. Bagged fresh salads are not immune to this phenomenon, as Rabbanim Hamachshirim and kosher agencies face the challenge of certifying these products as insect-free.

The New China: Booming Economy, Growing OU Presence

Approximately twenty-five years ago, the Chinese government decided to remake the country. China was up to that point a completely Stalinist-Maoist economy, wallowing in poverty, despite the fact that it is the world’s third largest country, blessed with various climates and abundant natural resources.

The China Syndrome: Products Help To Fuel Giant Economic Growth

There is no doubt that anyone who has visited China in the last decade as a tourist or businessman has seen the unbelievable growth taking place in every phase of the Chinese economy, save for population. (As of this writing the population is holding at approximately 1.3 billion people.) Like any other industry in China, the food industry is hardly an exception. When numbers are spoken about in China they are not in terms of tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands, but rather in terms of millions and billions.

What happens When A Question Of Jewish Law Goes To The OU’s Poskim

The process of certifying an item as OU kosher is based entirely on halacha – Jewish law. OU RC’s (Rabbinic Coordinators) and RFR’s (Rabbinic Field Representatives) are of course well versed in halacha and apply Jewish law in all aspects of the certification process. During the course of their work, however, when unique situations arise with no clear cut answer or precedent to halachic questions, rabbis in the field and their coordinators in New York have a mighty resource to call on – OU poskim, or experts at the highest levels in Jewish law. The following is a case study on how OU poskim make their decisions, and on the dynamic process which is involved in their deliberations. For this case study, we must travel all the way to Australia, home of a dairy company named Murray Goulburn.