Ingredients: Protect Your Company!
All OU Kosher-certified companies are familiar with the ‘Schedule A’ document. This document serves as an ‘approved supplier list’ for ingredients used in a kosher product or one that shares equipment with kosher product.
However, unlike a standard ‘approved supplier list,’ the Schedule A may offer more information to permit alternative ingredients or provide further restriction on already approved ingredients. Proper reading of this document is crucial to absolving your company from the liability of using non-approved ingredients.
The Schedule A has various components: 1- the ingredient name; 2- the ingredient supplier; 3- dairy or pareve status; 4- kosher symbol requirements (“Group”); 5- specific requirements for that ingredient.
Let us explain:
1. The first component is ‘ingredient name.’ The name printed on the ingredient that your company receives must exactly match the name listed on Schedule A. Any additional letters or numerals on the product you received or on Schedule A do NOT constitute an exact match. The Schedule A listing would not permit that ingredient.
2. The ‘ingredient supplier’ must also be an exact match. Although the ingredient may be approved from one supplier, the identical ingredient may be non-kosher when coming from a different supplier.
3. The ingredient ‘pareve/dairy status’ is crucial because it informs you how an ingredient may be used. A dairy ingredient may not be used in a pareve-certified product. That means that when a product is labeled with an OU, no ingredients may contain dairy. In addition, unless approved by the OU, a dairy ingredient may not be used on equipment dedicated for pareve production, even if an allergy cleaning is performed after the dairy production.
4. ‘Kosher symbol’ requirements inform you whether or not a kosher symbol must be affixed to the packaged ingredient to be approved for receiving at your facility. A Group 3 requires the symbol whereas a Group 1 or 2 does not. Your Schedule A also lists other group numbers, 4-6, and what they mean.
5. The ‘specific requirement’ is perhaps the most confusing part of the document and therefore will be explained further.
This bulk cottonseed oil is approved; however the stipulation requires that the means of delivery also be approved by the OU. In general, this stipulation applies to most food grade bulk liquids and this can be discussed further with your account manager (RC) at the OU.
This basil leaf is approved from any source; however since the USDA permits more bugs in live produce than kosher regulatory standards, a rabbi must be present to inspect the leaves before usage.
This Papaya does not require a kosher symbol. However, it must have the special six-digit K-code on the certificate of analysis. Should this code be missing, the ingredient is not approved for use.
These are just a few examples of the various stipulations that are on Schedule A. Please familiarize yourself with the stipulations on your company’s Schedule A to verify that you are in compliance with all the requirements.
The details on Schedule A are as important as the ingredient name itself when it comes to protecting your company from liability. Best practices would encourage incorporation of Schedule A and its requirements into your company’s general approved supplier list. Should any questions arise over the permissibility of an ingredient, never hesitate to contact your account manager (RC) at OU Kosher headquarters.
RABBI AKIVA TENDLER SERVES AS OU KOSHER RABBINIC COORDINATOR SERVING THE OIL, TEA AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRIES. HIS ARTICLE, “ADDITIVES, COMPONENTS, INGREDIENTS, PROCESSING AIDS: KOSHER DEFINITIONS,” APPEARED IN THE FALL 2014 ISSUE OF BTUS.