Strengthening Kashrut Standards

OU Kosher combines expertise in halacha with an understanding of modern food production to ensure consumers have access to kosher food meeting the highest quality kashrut supervision. Thanks to the over 700 rabbinic field representatives located across North America and throughout the world – from Europe to Australia, and from China to South Africa – the OU kosher symbol now appears on the labels of nearly 70% of America’s kosher-certified food products.

Visit OU Kosher
Photo on left: Artisan nut company Pizootz proudly proclaims their OU Kosher certification at the Summer Fancy Foods Showin New York.
Photo on right: Over 700 Rabbinic Field Representatives (RFRs), traverse the globe to supervise the over 1 million products under OU Kosher certification.
products under certification
OU certified production facilities
Inspections by rabbinic field representatives in 2019
Countries reached through OU Kosher
kosher food products certified with the OU kosher symbol

Education and Support

ASK OU (Advanced Seminars on Kashrut)

Keeping a kosher kitchen involves more than purchasing kosher products. In order to educate families about hilchot kashrut, the Harry H. Beren ASK OU seminars bring OU Kosher experts to schools and synagogues throughout North America, and ASK OU offers online kashrut lectures for communities worldwide.

OU Rabbinic Field Team Gathers from Around the World

The OU Kosher annual conference brings the OU rabbinic field team, which comes from their posts around the world, together with OU headquarters administration. Over the course of two days, kashrut best practices, halacha, and new information is shared. An important part of the conference is thanking client companies for their commitment to producing kosher food. This past year, Jim Calhoun, R & D manager of Pepsico, was honored.

Resources for Passover Questions

In order to meet the kashrut standards the Jewish community demands on Passover, OU Kosher invests in additional Passover resources each year. This includes increased support staff and hours of operation, radio appearances by OU administrators, and the distribution of over 80,000 Passover guides for consumers.

OU Kosher App: Real-Time Product Search

Kosher consumers are able to access kosher resources on the go with the OU Kosher app. The app features OU product alerts, a Passover product guide, and a link to the information hotline for immediate assistance with kashrut questions.

Answering All Kashrut Questions

The OU Kosher Hotline and Webbe Rebbe email service respond to 150 inquiries a day, with questions ranging from current certification news to complicated issues requiring real-time assistance. As Passover approaches, the inquiries increase to over 800 per day.

Rabbi Hillel Karelitz; Rabbi Genack, CEO, OU Kosher; and Rabbi Elefant, COO, OU Kosher inspect a field of a grower in Israel who was observing Shemittah Year.

An RFR enters a silo to verify cleanliness before kosherizing for Passover use. The mashgiach must have training and special certification for this process.
From L to R: OU Kosher CEO Rabbi Menachem Genack, OU Kosher Posek Rabbi Hershel Schachter, and OU Kosher COO Rabbi Moshe Elefant discuss current kashrut issues.

Managing the OU Kosher Enterprise

Supervising Thousands of Facilities across 30 Time Zones

Over the course of each month, administrative offices at 11 Broadway coordinate and monitor over 4,000 inspections along with innumerable requests by client companies to add new products or change production processes in plants around the world. The resources needed to support this extraordinary enterprise include over 700 Rabbinic Field Representatives (RFRs), an administrative team of approximately 80, plus 60 account representatives. Regular training is provided for all those RFRs who are the face of the OU in the field.

Bringing New Kosher Products to Consumers

Hundreds of new products are certified each month, including food, flavors, medicine and technology. The OU partnered with GE to create hardware for refrigerators and ovens to help keep Shabbos. After the requests for certification are received by our new products team, they’re handed to the account representative for that region. Many of these products simply require sourcing of new ingredients, while others require an in-depth understanding of food production technology and chemistry. The OU’s staff includes experts in all of these areas, many of whom will visit these prospective facilities.

OU Kosher for Passover

The Passover Season Is OU Kosher’s Busiest Time of the Year

The Kosher Consumer Hotline has three operators and receives over 7,500 calls with product and kashering questions, along with 4,400 emails.

Over 80,000 copies of the OU Guide to Passover are distributed. The Guide features a consumer guide to Passover products, halachic zmanim, a Kashering Primer, Inedibles and medication guidelines. OU Kosher’s online Passover website receives over 980,000 views during Passover.

The site includes a Passover product search function and a downloadable Guide.

One of the most popular sections of the Guide to Passover are the basic product listings. Staples and everyday items are available at a glance.

The Guide to Passover includes a kashering primer, zmanim information, product listings, articles, recipes, and more.

Behind the Scenes at OU Kosher

OUDirect – OU Kosher’s Customer Management Platform, OU Kosher’s global customer service platform, is critical to supporting the kosher program management of the OU’s 5,800+ certified companies. Both our customers and Rabbinic Field Representatives enjoy 24x7 access to the most current information available for their programs. Our customers are able to easily search, filter and print their kosher certificates, product listings, and ingredient listings. They can submit and track requests to update their products and ingredients, and easily communicate with the OU Kosher staff.

The World’s Largest Database of Kosher Products

Within OUDirect, OU Kosher customers can source ingredients by seamlessly searching the Universal Kosher Database to find a suitable product. They can be assured that all available ingredients meet OU’s Kosher standards, as it includes only those products certified by the OU and our partner agencies. Consumers, distributors, and source companies can use to download Kosher certificates for OU products as needed.

Caption for certificate

Letters of certification are given to all companies under OU Kosher supervision. Companies can download them in the Universal Kosher Database for proof of supervision and to source new products

Letters of certification are given to all companies under OU Kosher supervision. Companies can download them in the Universal Kosher Database for proof of supervision and to source new products.

OU Center for Communal Research