OU Hosts Annual AKO Conference

Following the two-day Kosherfest show at the Jacob Javits Center, which brought representatives of many kosher certification agencies to New York, the Orthodox Union Kashrut Department was host to these representatives at a one-day conference presented by the Chicago-based Association of Kashrus Organizations (AKO), held at OU headquarters in Manhattan.

Besides the OU, participating agencies at the meeting included Star K and OK Labs, and rabbinical groups and vaads from all over the United States, Canada, and even London, England, as well as other interested observers.

“The purpose of the conference was for all the major kosher certification agencies to talk to one another about the major issues that face us on a day-to-day basis,” explained Rabbi Moshe Elefant, Chief Operating Officer of OU Kashrut. “The OU has the largest and most knowledgeable staff regarding the issues which were discussed, we are interested in having these dialogues, so we made our office available for these consultations.”

Sessions included “European Standards in Kashrut,” “Principles in Bagged Lettuce,” “New Developments in Ingredients,” “When Is a ‘Pogem’ Required in Processing Systems, and New Information Regarding the Possible Health Hazards of Bitrex,” “Unraveling the Confusion over Pesach Lists – What Needs to Be Said and Who’s Responsible to Say It,” “Halachic Insights Regarding Using Pilot Lights, L’chatchita & B’dieved; Reheating on Shabbos; Values of the Mashgiach,” “Challenges and Solutions in Food Service,” “Groundbreaking Developments Regarding the Universal Data Base,” and “AKO Updates – Minimum Standards, Membership, the New Website and More.”

OU participation in the AKO conference included a welcome from Rabbi Menachem Genack, Chief Executive Officer of OU Kashrut; Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, Posek for OU Kashrut, who conducted the session on pilot lights; and Rabbi Elefant, who discussed the Universal Data Base.

OU Kosher Staff