Dawn Foods and the OU: 2 Perfect “Matching Circles”

OU Kosher Staff

Few companies understand bakery and kosher as much as Dawn Foods. Dawn Foods has a rich lexicon of kosher terms that includes the word hamantaschen (special pastry for the Purim holiday), which the company helped make for a carnival at the Shaare Shamayim-Beth Judah synagogue in Philadelphia. This wasn’t any ordinary hamantaschen, but one that weighed 738 pounds and measured at least 20 feet on all three sides. The giant hamantaschen pastry contained 96 pounds of sugar, 84 pounds of all-purpose flour, 108 pounds of cake flour, four gallons of eggs and water, 60 pounds of margarine and 323 pounds of pie filling, all donated by Dawn Foods. Additionally, Dawn contributed supplies and equipment, including a brand new sheeter. Mr. Mike Goldinger, a Dawn Edison sales representative and resident bakery expert, acted as head baker and hamantaschen expert for the event. The festive hamantaschen was baked and assembled by a team of 100 volunteers using the synagogue’s two convection ovens and 130 pans of cake, and took nearly 13 hours to complete. Aside from Dawn Food’s magnanimous gesture in assisting in the Purim obligation of giving gifts of food, what was left of the world’s largest hamantaschen after the carnival was donated to the Saligman House, a Philadelphia senior citizens home. Feats like this are quite commonplace for a company that is accustomed to doing things in a big way and with the most exacting of standards. It is those same exacting standards that make OU Kosher a perfect match for Dawn Foods.

Dawn Foods, Dawn Food ProductsThe aforementioned exacting standards manifest themselves in the constant communication between the kosher contacts at the various Dawn Foods plants and my office. Hardly a day passes without requests for new ingredient or product approvals being submitted to me. And invariably these same applications are thoroughly complete, using the proper request forms accompanied by the necessary Letters of Kosher Certification or batch formulae. Simply put, all the kosher contacts at the various Dawn Foods plants know what has to be done so that all their raw materials and products are properly registered onto their respective schedule A’s and B’s. Critical time is saved in properly registering these new ingredients and finished goods because of the proper training and knowledge these kosher contacts have. The high priority Dawn Foods makes for maintaining the exacting standards of OU Kosher is a reflection of the outstanding reputation Dawn Foods has in the quality of its products and the service it provides for its customers.

Not enough can be said about Dawn Food’s Quality Training coordinator, Mr. Jim Peacock, who also doubles as the company’s Kosher Coordinator. (Mr. Peacock demonstrated his fluency in kosher by getting a perfect score on Rabbi Stone’s Kosher IQ Test in the Behind the Union Symbol!) He plays an integral role in the education of the various Dawn Foods plants’ kosher contacts and in the maintenance of the high standards of the OU kosher program in general. Although all of Dawn Foods’ dry mixes and fully baked products are dairy, Mr. Peacock’s unique expertise is invaluable in ensuring the kosher integrity of the thousands of fillings that are either dairy or pareve. This includes communicating with my office all products that are made on the designated pareve “fruit line” and the minimal kosherizing of some kettles to make them pareve after being used for dairy.

Also Mr. Peacock is masterfully meticulous in troubleshooting with my office any potentially compatible dairy ingredient that may be used in a pareve filling. He ably assists our dedicated and most efficient RFR, Rabbi Yosef Levy, in using the “where used” search in locating any of these compatible ingredients that may pose a problem. As Dawn Foods generates its own packaging labels, Mr. Peacock also carefully scrutinizes all labels to make sure that a dairy product is not inadvertently branded as pareve.

After all is said and done, Mr. Peacock is like a Kosher Coordinator’s Kosher Coordinator, who counsels others in keeping the OU’s exacting kosher standards. I personally couldn’t ask for a better business relationship with anyone. This is one important reason out of the many cited above why the OU is proud to display its world-renowned OU designation on the thousands of products that bear the Dawn Foods equally world-renowned “Circle of Excellence” logo.