Until National Kosher Produce came along, it seems that there were always bugs in the process required to give Orthodox Union certification to produce companies. According to kosher law, insects are not kosher and so the produce must be completely insect-free.
But National Kosher Produce, with a product line of packaged salads, has an extremely rigorous inspection process of its own, which enabled it to receive OU certification prior to the Jewish High Holy Days, representing the first time the OU has certified romaine items.
National Kosher Produce’s products go through a double process of inspection: once at its plant in California, and again when the produce reaches Brooklyn. If upon arrival in Brooklyn the produce is unsatisfactory, it never reaches the shelves of supermarkets. For six weeks this summer that was the case because the product didn’t pass the company’s standards, a situation which caught the attention of Rabbi Moshe Elefant, OU Kosher Division Executive Rabbinic Coordinator.
Contrary to popular belief, iceberg lettuce can be infested; three times this summer, National Kosher withheld this product from the market.
Rabbi Elefant is so impressed with the company’s standards that he has sent some of the OU Kosher staff to train with Rabbi Abraham Weiss of National Kosher.
National Kosher Produce is working with OU Rabbis Leonard Steinberg, Yermia Indich and Dov Schreier to introduce their product to Jewish restaurants and caterers.