Keeping kosher is an act of love and discipline. For many, it can add a profound sense of depth and meaning to their religious observance. However, keeping kosher is not for the faint of heart and there are many rules to consider. These days there are many kosher recipe sites to peruse. And, although limited, there are kosher sections in most mainstream grocery stores these days as well. Still, there are several different kosher labels to look out for so you know you are making the right choice for you and your family. The following is a list of symbols from the “Big Four” kosher certification organizations to help you navigate the choppy kosher shopping waters out there.
When you see an OU on a package (designated by a U inside a circle, or O), you know that product was certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union. It is cited as the most recognizable kosher symbol in the world. Appearing on over 800,000 products, produced, per the OU, “in over 6,000 plants located in 92 countries….” To maintain this reach, the OU employs 600 Rabbinic Field Representatives, who travel to food production facilities around the world, inspect equipment and ingredients, and supervise manufacturing processes to ensure they adhere to strict kosher standards.
Blake Hill Preserves, Chiquita, Coca Cola, H.J. Heinz, Hershey’s, Kinnikinnick Foods, Kraft/Nabisco, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Li-Lac Chocolates, Michel Cluizel, Minute Maid, McCormick & Co., Pillsbury, Pom Wonderful, Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle, The Cheese Guy, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Trader Joe’s
For more information please visit www.oukosher.org.
The Kof-K has been around for nearly 50 years, and notes that it was “the first kashrus organization to introduce computer technology to the complexities of kashrus supervision/management.” This organization maintains comprehensive databases of kosher ingredients and suppliers and makes them accessible to its kosher supervision clients. This helps them make informed choices regarding product development and reformulation.
Breyer’s, Cadbury Schwepps, ConAgra Foods, Ghirardelli, Good Humor, Hain Celestial Group, Lipton, Pepsi, Rich’s, Stash Teas, Terra Chips
For more information please visit www.kof-k.org.
OK – Organized Kashrut Labs
Established in 1935, Organized Kashrut Laboratories — better known as “the OK” – was established in 1935 and bestows kosher certification to over 400,000 products produced by more than 2,400 companies. The agency employs over 4,500 kosher supervisors, and is proud of its pioneering embrace of technology in its kosher supervision efforts. The OK’s proprietary DigitalKosher system enables its team to track “nearly 800,000 products, ingredients, formulas and manufacturing processes, and the effective dates for each.”
Athenos, Baked by Melissa, Barkan Winery, Blue Diamond, Capri Sun, Cream of Wheat, Domino, Dorot, Eden Foods, Hunt’s, La Choy, Nantucket Nectars, Ortega, Pam, Perrier, Post, Swiss Miss, Tropicana and Yoplait.
For more information please visit www.ok.org.
When the Star-K was established over 50 years ago, it primarily served the Baltimore Jewish community exclusively. However, it has grown to become one of the largest kashrut organizations in the world all while still maintaining its hometown roots. In addition to providing kosher supervision for consumer foodstuffs and industrial ingredients, the Star-K is notable for its certification of “Sabbath Mode” kitchen appliances.
Aunt Gussies, Del Monte, Empire Kosher, General Mills, Herr Foods, Kikkoman, Kol Foods, Lake Champlain Chocolates, La Tourangelle, Marukan, Roland Food, Theo Chocolate, Trader Joe’s, Utz, Whole Foods
For more information please visit www.star-k.org.