It’s not Child’s Play: Providing Kosher Ingredients for Baby Formula Required a Journey to Rural Ireland

OU Kosher Staff

In the remote Irish town of Ballyragget, in County Kilkenney near the city of the same name, two OU Kosher experts, Rabbis Abraham Juravel and Yisroel Hollander, working with plant personnel, quickly kosherized the plant of Glanbia Ingredient Ireland – GII – the largest dairy ingredients business in Ireland, and manufacturers of ingredients for a whole range of products.

Glanbia markets over 240,000 tons of dairy ingredients annually to customers in over 40 countries. Glanbia Ingredients is the largest supplier of lactose to many of these customers, supplying much of their requirement. The Glanbia kosherization was done in response to the decision to provide kosher lactose and other dairy-based ingredients to the kosher food chain.

Once again, the OU leads the way in kosher supervision by working with Glanbia Ingredient Ireland to produce truly kosher lactose, without the need repeatedly to kosherize and modify production procedures. All the lactose produced on site will be OU Kosher certified.

The story started several years ago when a leading baby formula manufacturer requested kosher lactose from Glanbia for use in its baby and nutritional formulas. Glanbia did several test productions, exploring various methods which included some production changes, kosherizations, on-site rabbinic supervision, and plant shutdowns. These test runs were costly and production was not up to par.

But with proper planning and coordination with the OU, a program was devised whereby a one-time kosherization was included in the plant’s annual maintenance program, no lost production time was involved, and no production changes were necessary. The OU devised a way to certify ALL the lactose, whey, whey protein concentrate and rennet casein, as well as other products being produced at the Ballyragget site.

The team of Rabbi Yisroel Hollander and Rabbi Abraham Juravel was dispatched to Ireland for several days to supervise the process. This full plant kosherization was accomplished in record time, due to the extremely competent and dedicated staff at Glanbia, as well as the years of experience that Rabbis Hollander and Juravel brought along with them to come up with innovative and practical ideas as to how to get the job done properly and efficiently. Rabbi Juravel is noted for “thinking out of the box” and being able to pull a rabbit out of his hat, to kosherize a factory properly and efficiently.

As Rabbi Juravel reported from Ireland, “In all the years of working in kosher certification, I have never seen such a team effort to get the job done. With the cooperation of Glanbia Ingredient Ireland, the OU brought with it the formula for success.