OU Kosher Publishes Manual on Fish Industry, 3rd in Series

03 May 2011


In its continuing initiative to establish uniform standards for kosher certification, the Orthodox Union, the world’s largest and most respected certification agency, today announced the publication of the third in a series of manuals for different industries, this time, fish. It follows the publication of manuals for the kosher oil and baking industries, both of which now are in their second printings.

The concept of the manuals was conceived by Dr. Simcha Katz, who was then Chairman of the OU Kashrut Commission and is now President of the Orthodox Union.

The “OU Manual for the Fish Industry,” like its predecessors which were published over the past year, is intended for kashrut professionals not only at the Orthodox Union, but in other kosher agencies (including vaadim), and for rabbis who provide certification. Laymen wanting to explore the intricacies of kosher law will be fascinated as well.

The second printing of the first two manuals indicates how widely used they have become in the world of kashrut. The manuals are another in a series of departmental initiatives that make OU Kosher a major force in kashrut education as well as in certification.

The 78-page fish industry manual, printed in full color with many illustrations, was written by Rabbi Chaim Goldberg, who for many years has traveled the world as Rabbinic Coordinator for OU fish companies. Rabbi Goldberg, who has lectured extensively on fish supervision, and is one of the experts OU Kosher features in its various ASK OU programs at synagogues and yeshivot across a range of Orthodox communities, shares his knowledge and expertise in the manual on a wide range of topics related to fish production.

Like its predecessors, the manual focuses on three important areas of concern for its specific industry – technology; practical kashrut concerns and the methodology of supervision; and halachic rulings of the OU poskim, Rav Hershel Schachter of Yeshiva University, and Rav Yisroel Belsky of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath.

“The work is very significant on several levels,” explained Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher. “It’s important to know that each industry has its own requirements and specifications; each of these manuals represents the standards for its industry and what a mashgiach has to be aware of. They enhance the departmental goal of kosher education. And in terms of our corporate culture, they provide transparent standards to be met.”

Rabbi Goldberg’s text was read by Rabbis Moshe Zywica, Chananel Herbsman and Donneal Epstein, OU Rabbinic Coordinators with a background in the fish industry; Rabbi Zywica coordinated production. The manual was prepared under the general supervision of Rabbi Genack; Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of OU Kosher; and Rabbi Yaaakov Luban, Executive Rabbinic Coordinator.

Chapters include: General Issues, including level of supervision; identifying a kosher fish; by-catch (including sharks); other fish in the plant; sealing product; and infestation.

There are sections on tuna, salmon, canned sardines and herring; smoked fish; pickled herring; fish oil (such as Omega 3); purchasing fish in a non-kosher fish store; fish roe (eggs); and canning, pickling and curing. About half of the manual is devoted to halachic source material, in both Hebrew and English.

Rabbi Genack declared, “This new manual will be a great addition to sources explaining Jewish law for our times. The halachic guidelines of Rabbis Belsky and Schachter, our poskim, will certainly make an extraordinary resource for the kosher world. Only the OU, with its knowledge and emphasis on education, could have done it.”

Next manual in the series will be food service (hotels, catering halls and the like). It is now in the writing stage.

To obtain copies of the fish manual, contact Rabbi Chaim Goldberg at {encode=”mailto:goldbergc@ou.org” title=”goldbergc@ou.org”} or call 212.613.8340.

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