A few weeks ago I was attending a wedding reception, sitting at a round table with a number of other guests. An older gentleman, an interested kosher consumer but not, himself, involved in the kosher industry, turned to me. He asked me what I do, and I told him I work at the OU. “Tell me what it is you do at the OU,” he said. I told him that, among some other things, I am involved in making sure that the transport of kosher commodities from one site to the next is on vehicles that are dedicated to kosher products. He seemed uncertain about what I meant.
A nonprofit organization founded in 1928, The Food Institute has a single purpose: providing information to the food industry in an unbiased, timely and relevant manner.
The Food Institute was founded by Seattle food broker Gordon C. Corbaley, who decided to put out a semi-regular posting for his principals — mainly canners — and his customers, so they could keep better informed about what was going on in the marketplace. He called his postings The News from Oregon and Washington. The reports were welcomed by the trade; given the poor communications when Calvin Coolidge was President of the United States, a great deal of business was still being done by poorly informed (at times actually misinformed) buyers and sellers.
The Food Institute Works with OU Kosher to Help Consumers Get the Most Bang for the Buck on Food Pur
For the first time since 1990, prices for food-at-home rose over four percent last year and could very likely do so again in 2008, with projections from the United States government suggesting an increase of as much as 4.5 percent. Many consumers, as well as many food manufacturers and retailers, are finding this to be unfamiliar turf and are looking for ways to deal with the higher prices.
When Jews sit down to the seder on April 19 and 20, chances are that the set table will have a very traditional look. There will be the seder plates, the cups for the wine, the elegant flatware and dishes and so forth. But when the meal begins, the foods that are served may be reflecting some of the new products that have been introduced in recent years. For example, even the Kedem grape juice could be a dietetic version that has far less sugar than the traditional grape juice. The matzos may be spelt or whole wheat, the gefilte fish without sugar, and, of course, Diet Coke.
Dear Rabbi, What is involved in the OU certification of vodka?
The Orthodox Union receives many inquiries about certification of vodka. This is a typical response, as written by Rabbi Nahum Rabinowitz, Senior Rabbinic Coordinator.
No question – food has always played an essential role in the celebration of Jewish holidays. But when it comes to Passover, it takes an extra dose of vigilance and knowledge to keep all the season’s meticulous kosher laws properly. Those companies involved in the production of kosher-for-Passover products have learned that, in order to keep the eight days of highly restrictive eating interesting, they’ve had to crank up their creativity. Thanks to modern-day food technology, the past decade of Passover offerings have been plentiful – and innovative.
The Hebrew language name for the holiday of Passover – Pesach — conveys conversation, with “Pe” meaning mouth and “sach” connoting speaking or conversing. The matzah referred to as lechem oni, poor man’s bread, is seen not simply as a food consumed when hastily leaving Egypt, but as a medium for discussion and elaboration on countless Passover themes. The Bible instructs that we verbally communicate to our children on Passover night and tell them about the most consequential event in the annals of Jewish history. An actual and active dialogue must be at the core of the Passover experience, with the children as the focus of that life experience. The Haggadah text was specifically created as the vehicle through which all can be told and explained. There is no genuine Passover experience without adequate and meaningful conversation, discussion, analysis and talking. On Passover night silence is not a virtue; as a matter of fact, the more prolonged the discussion and conversation is on this night, the greater the reward. In short, on Passover, we talk it up.
It’s the “largest certification organization in the world,” the “most widely accepted,” “the most respected,” and the “leader in the field.” It’s perceived to be “the standard,” and among key consumer groups, “the safest,” “the cleanest,” “most reliable” and “trustworthy.” It’s the symbol, by a wide margin, that is top-of-mind when the consumer thinks “kosher certification.”
The Orthodox Union receives many inquiries about certification of wine. This is a typical response, as written by Rabbi Nahum Rabinowitz, Senior Rabbinic Coordinator.
According to http://www.popcorn.org, Americans consume in excess of 17 billion quarts of popped popcorn annually – or about 54 quarts for every man, woman and child. The world’s primary popcorn producing region is the Midwestern United States and an entire food industry has grown up around it. Why is popcorn so popular? Because it is nutritional, versatile and delicious! Popcorn is an easily prepared whole grain snack. Without butter or other additions, popcorn is about 31 – 55 calories per cup. It goes with almost anything, and can accept a wide variety of flavor enhancements. Today, you don’t have to do much work to enjoy this treat. While of course one can still purchase raw popcorn and either air or oil pop it, microwave popcorn has become ubiquitous. In fact, the first test of the microwave on food in the 1940’s was popcorn. By the 1990’s this product niche had over $240 million in sales. And while salt and butter remain the most popular flavors, today’s marketplace is full of gourmet popcorns — and not only caramel. There are cheese flavors, chocolate covered, nut balls and new flavor trends like jalapeno, too.