Having your product or establishment certified kosher, means that shoppers know that you comply with a strict policy of kosher food laws, including cleanliness, purity and quality. It means responsible food preparation, but it doesn’t ends there. Kosher refers to a set of intricate biblical laws that detail the types of food that a Jewish person may eat and the ways in which it may be prepared.
As for 2016, there are more than 1400 kosher certifying agencies around the world, including international, national, regional, Israeli, specialty, and non-Orthodox agencies. Those agencies are organizations that grants a hechsher (seal of approval). First this evaluation goes to the facilities in which kosher articles will be made and served, then to the service providers, and finally to the ingredients, packages and certain materials. So it’s in your company’s best interests to have an experienced, capable kosher agency by your side. Yosef Meystel suggests you take into consideration these items when you’re choosing a kosher certification agency:
- Consider the agency’s reliability among kosher authorities and its symbol recognition among consumers. Broad acceptance in both spaces means considerably greater value.
- The agency should know about your particular market, product or service.
- Be sure your company’s data will be secure, while your certificates and kosher status updates will be easily accessible.
- Swift and responsive attention to your account and compliance needs is essential throughout production.
- Implementing a kosher program can present unique needs for each company and plant. Experience plays a vital role in being able to lay a solid foundation for your kosher program.
In addition, you can visit some of these kosher restaurants in Chicago and maybe review their certifications: Top 6 kosher certified restaurants Chicago
So if you are located in Chicago or the Midwest, you should consider the Chicago Rabbinical Council certification agency. It is located in 2701 W. Howard Street, Chicago. It is the largest regional Orthodox rabbinical organization in America. The cRc is a not-for-profit offering a wide variety of Jewish services, including kosher product supervision and kosher certification. The cRc is also involved in community relations, funeral standards legislative issues, singles programming, youth education, and other activities benefiting the Jewish and general communities. The cRc provides a beth din, a court of rabbis who are experts in Jewish law. In addition to dealing in the area of Jewish divorce, the Jewish court deals with Jewish adoption, conversion, certification of Jewish status, cases of mediation, and legal disputes. You can contact Rabbi Sholem Fishbane by calling the number 773-465-3900.
In this next link, whether you are in Chicago or in some other city in the world, you can find a large list of agencies that you can use depending on your location and needs: Directory of kosher certifying agencies
After choosing your certification agency, prepare for the following steps in order to get your proper kosher certification:
Your application is the first active step toward certification. If you have any questions about the application, any member of the professional staff will be happy to assist you. All submitted information is strictly confidential. There is no obligation on your part to apply for kosher certification in a specific kosher certification agency. There are different applications depending on your business, like the application for General Manufacturing, Truck Wash Companies or an application for Trucking Companies.
Soon after, the company will be contacted by a rabbinic coordinator, who is an expert in your field of production, will contact you to discuss your production process and outline the basics of compliance. You need to have that information very clear in order to avoid complications and delays in the process.
A thorough inspection of your production facilities will be conducted. The procedures necessary to certify your facilities will be detailed at this time. The Rabbinic Coordinator will outline the procedures that your company must adhere to in order to receive and maintain kosher certification. There is usually a nominal fee for the initial inspection. That amount will be determined before the visit is made after which you have the choice to proceed with the inspection.
A contract and fee structure will be drawn up and signed, confirming the terms and requirements to obtain and maintain kosher compliance. The fee structure is based on a variety of factors, including the nature of the production, the location and the amount of effort necessary to maintain your kosher program.
Then, the certification agency will issue kosher certificates, and you will receive a copy of the fully executed contract. This will grant you the right to display the registered OK symbol on certified products depending of the kosher certification agency you chose.
Now you are ready to succeed with your kosher business!