PDA

View Full Version : Kosher Certification Questions


keturah
01-14-2009, 09:10 PM
Does any one know the difference between the circle U and circle K certifications especially as it relates to dairy products? Any information would be appreciated!
Thanks!

Kyla
01-14-2009, 09:29 PM
It looks like (according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashrut#Product_labelling)) the K indicates that the manufacturer is asserting that the product is kosher, while the U indicates that the product has been reviewed by the Orthodox rabbinate and approved by them to be kosher.

Scuba_Ben
01-14-2009, 09:33 PM
The unadorned K is a claim; I believe (but am not certain) that circle-K is a valid kashrut certification. Added on preview: Circle-K is the certification mark of OK Kosher: okkosher.com

The circle-U is the certification of the Orthodox Union, the primary kashrut certification authority. But hardly the only one: Two Jews, three opinions.

mks57
01-14-2009, 10:33 PM
If you have questions about the trustworthiness or standards of a particular mark, you should ask your local rabbi. They are often the first ones to know about problems.

GilaB
01-14-2009, 11:02 PM
Both the OU and the OK are widely accepted kosher-certifying organizations. They do differ a bit with regard to the dairy certification. The OK distinguishes between products that contain actual dairy ingredients (which will be labeled OK-D or OK-Dairy), and products that don't contain dairy ingredients but are made on equipment lines that also process foods with dairy ingredients (these will be labeled OK-DE or OK-Dairy Equipment). The OU, on the other hand, holds that most such equipment lines aren't cleaned out thoroughly enough in between runs, and labels both categories of foods as OU-D.

Does that answer your question, or is there another dairy-related issue you were wondering about? It's the most prominent difference between the two (as far as I know) with regard to dairy foods.

Bricker
01-15-2009, 05:15 AM
You know, Wikipedia is all well and good, but we do have a more recognized authority (https://academicpursuits.us/columns/read/313/what-do-k-r-and-u-mean-on-food-and-other-packages) to consult around here.

keturah
01-15-2009, 08:19 AM
Both the OU and the OK are widely accepted kosher-certifying organizations. They do differ a bit with regard to the dairy certification. The OK distinguishes between products that contain actual dairy ingredients (which will be labeled OK-D or OK-Dairy), and products that don't contain dairy ingredients but are made on equipment lines that also process foods with dairy ingredients (these will be labeled OK-DE or OK-Dairy Equipment). The OU, on the other hand, holds that most such equipment lines aren't cleaned out thoroughly enough in between runs, and labels both categories of foods as OU-D.

Does that answer your question, or is there another dairy-related issue you were wondering about? It's the most prominent difference between the two (as far as I know) with regard to dairy foods.

Thanks everyone for the responses. I am most interested if one is considered more stringent than another, is there a large cohort of people who would drink milk from an OU dairy, but not from a dairy that is OK certified--or vice versa and the reasons that would be so. Also, I should have made it more clear in my op but I am especially talking about kosher milk only. Thanks again for the responses.

cmkeller
01-15-2009, 08:59 AM
I am most interested if one is considered more stringent than another, is there a large cohort of people who would drink milk from an OU dairy, but not from a dairy that is OK certified--or vice versa and the reasons that would be so. Also, I should have made it more clear in my op but I am especially talking about kosher milk only.

I don't think anyone who accepts the OU won't accept the OK or vice versa. However, there IS a common stringency on milk that some Jews accept upon themselves, that is to use only dairy products that are "Chalav Yisroel", which pretty much means, Jewish-produced. Both OU and OK will certify dairy products as kosher that are not Chalav Yisroel. To know whether or not a dair product is Chalav Yisroel, you pretty much need to look for those words on the label. The biggest brands of Chalav Yisroel milk are Golden Flow and New Square, and will likely only be found in Jewish-owned grocery stores, or at least in supermarkets in heavily Jewish neighborhoods.

It's Not Rocket Surgery!
01-15-2009, 10:44 AM
I don't think anyone who accepts the OU won't accept the OK or vice versa. However, there IS a common stringency on milk that some Jews accept upon themselves, that is to use only dairy products that are "Chalav Yisroel", which pretty much means, Jewish-produced. Both OU and OK will certify dairy products as kosher that are not Chalav Yisroel. To know whether or not a dair product is Chalav Yisroel, you pretty much need to look for those words on the label. The biggest brands of Chalav Yisroel milk are Golden Flow and New Square, and will likely only be found in Jewish-owned grocery stores, or at least in supermarkets in heavily Jewish neighborhoods.


Is this just to encourage buying from other Jews, or is it considered an assurance that the cattle were fed kosher feed?

cmkeller
01-15-2009, 11:05 AM
Is this just to encourage buying from other Jews, or is it considered an assurance that the cattle were fed kosher feed?

There is no requirement in Jewish law or tradition to eat animals that eat kosher feed.

It's assurance that the milk is purely cow/goat milk and not mixed with milk from a non-kosher source like camel, horse, donkey or pig. Once upon a time, in some parts of the world, this was a serious concern with regard to milk bought from non-Jewish farmers.

In modern America (and probably in other modern Western countries, I can only speak for the USA), government regulations ensure that milk being sold is purely milk from the source it is labeled as being from (if unspecified, then cow). Therefore, Rabbi Moses Feinstein declared that one need not drink milk only from a Jewish dairy, and many Kosher-observant Jews (myself included) follow that ruling. However, tradition being what it had been, there are still many Rabbis who disagreed that this eliminates the need for Jews to consume only Chalav Yisroel dairy products.

Anne Neville
01-15-2009, 11:06 AM
Is this just to encourage buying from other Jews, or is it considered an assurance that the cattle were fed kosher feed?

The original idea seems to have been preventing adulteration of the milk with milk from a non-kosher animal.

Anne Neville
01-15-2009, 11:19 AM
There is no requirement in Jewish law or tradition to eat animals that eat kosher feed.

The kosher laws don't apply to animals. Exodus 22:31 specifically says that, if meat from your animals in the field is torn (by wild beasts or other farm animals, which would make it non-kosher), you should not eat it, but should throw it to the dogs. It's clear from that that dogs are not expected to eat only kosher meat. Salmon eat insects and crustaceans (the pink color of salmon comes from shellfish in the fish's diet), neither of which are kosher, yet salmon is still a kosher fish.

cmkeller
01-15-2009, 12:42 PM
The kosher laws don't apply to animals.

True, although there are certain classes of food which a Jewish animal owner cannot feed his animal - such as a milk and meat mixture, untithed foods (in Israel), or leavened foods on Passover - because those are forbidden in benefit (for the human, and feeding it to his animal benefits him) as well as in consumption.

My point was that even if an animal is owned by a non-Jew and fed such things, or owned by a Jew who sinned and fed his animal those things, that will not render the animal non-Kosher.

Bricker
01-15-2009, 01:16 PM
The kosher laws don't apply to animals.

Of course they don't. Where would a salmon find a shochet?

Hari Seldon
01-15-2009, 01:40 PM
The original idea seems to have been preventing adulteration of the milk with milk from a non-kosher animal.

What animal do you have in mind? Can you buy mare's milk commercially? Or sow's milk? Or camel's? The only milk I have ever seen for sale are from cows, ewes, and goats, all perfectly kosher. I would imagine that yak's milk would be too, since yaks are bovids.

Anne Neville
01-15-2009, 01:54 PM
What animal do you have in mind? Can you buy mare's milk commercially? Or sow's milk? Or camel's? The only milk I have ever seen for sale are from cows, ewes, and goats, all perfectly kosher. I would imagine that yak's milk would be too, since yaks are bovids.

At some times and in some places, people have used camel's milk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camel#Dairy) and mare's milk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumis), neither of which would be kosher. I agree that milk sold in the US today is very unlikely to contain camel's or mare's milk.

I don't observe the prohibition on non-Chalav Yisroel milk myself, and I don't know anyone who does. I'm Conservative Jewish, and most of the Jews I know IRL are Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, or unaffiliated. I don't think I've seen Chalav Yisroel milk in my local grocery store (one of the grocery stores I go to has a lot of observant Jewish or at least yarmulke-wearing customers). I haven't noticed it at the kosher butcher, either, but I don't look for milk at the kosher butcher, since the regular milk they sell at the grocery store is kosher enough for me and probably cheaper.

Keeve
01-15-2009, 02:09 PM
You can't buy those milks today commercially. But back in the day when "commercial" meant "the guy down the block", it was indeed not unusual to adulterate cow milk with those others. So the rabbis required inspection to guarantee purity.

The facts that it isn't done today, and that the gov't inspector makes sure of it, are why (as cmkeller wrote) many in the US today rely on the gov't and don't insist on rabbinic supervision.

Keeve
01-15-2009, 02:17 PM
I don't think I've seen Chalav Yisroel milk in my local grocery store (one of the grocery stores I go to has a lot of observant Jewish or at least yarmulke-wearing customers). I haven't noticed it at the kosher butcher, either, but I don't look for milk at the kosher butcher, since the regular milk they sell at the grocery store is kosher enough for me and probably cheaper.It's a marketing thing. Until about 10-20 years ago, it was pretty hard to find outside of Brooklyn. Milk is very hard to transport and keep fresh. Even where there was a demand for it, the demand wasn't big enough to keep the price down. Combined with a bad reputation for quick spoilage...

But it has changed a lot recently. (I think the technology has enabled milk to stay fresh longer.) Several supermarkets in my NJ town do carry it, though it's about 10-20% more expensive. Eventually, maybe even Pittsburgh! :)

Billdo
01-15-2009, 02:23 PM
Going back to the question of how highly observant Jews consider OU certifications, I have a vague recollection that there was some flap several years ago about Hebrew National hot dogs (and other products) which led some to be distrustful of the OU?

I know that here in New York City there are quite a number of Rabbis and Rabbinic organizations which will certify restaurants as Kosher under some significantly varying standards (e.g. can they be open on the Sabbath/holidays, must there be someone present to certify operations, and even can there be places partially Kosher, with some non-Kosher food delineated as such). The most observant Jews will only eat at places with certifications they approve of, and consider other places "not really Kosher."

Keeve
01-15-2009, 02:40 PM
Yes, indeed, there are many organizations, and they do have differing standards. Kashrus Magazine's website (http://kashrusmagazine.com/ksg/Old%20and%20deleted/ksg_index.html) lists about 400 of them, and their printed version has almost a thousand. It's quite an industry. In theory, it's not much different from other advocacy groups who might put their Seal Of Approval on a product.

Anne Neville
01-15-2009, 02:47 PM
Several supermarkets in my NJ town do carry it, though it's about 10-20% more expensive. Eventually, maybe even Pittsburgh! :)

We might even have it already, but I've never noticed it. When I'm in the dairy aisle, all I'm looking for is the cheap fat-free milk with an expiration date as far in the future as possible. I couldn't tell you if my grocery store carries lactose-free milk or half-and-half, because I never look for those things.

please921
01-15-2009, 08:36 PM
Going back to the question of how highly observant Jews consider OU certifications, I have a vague recollection that there was some flap several years ago about Hebrew National hot dogs (and other products) which led some to be distrustful of the OU?

As far as I am aware, the OU never certified Hebrew National hot dogs as kosher. Perhaps you're thinking of Triangle-K which has been used to certify Hebrew National for the past few years. Many Orthodox Jews consider the Triangle-K symbol to be unreliable, due to the fact that the organization tends to rely on many leniencies when certifying products.

When it comes to Hebrew National hot dogs in particular, (Modern) Orthodox Jews generally consider them kosher. However, most Orthodox Jews refrain from eating them because they are not glatt kosher. There is a common misconception that glatt kosher means "extra kosher". The true definition of the term is that after all the fundamental kashrut conditions were met in the slaughtering of the animal, an additional step is taken as the rabbi checks to see that the animal has no defects on its lungs. Although there is no Jewish law to eat meat that is strictly glatt kosher, most Orthodox Jews traditionally take on this extra level of stringency, thus refraining from eating Hebrew National hot dogs and other meat that is not glatt. This article (http://forward.com/article/hebrew-national-certified-kosher-%E2%80%94-but-not-koshe/) on the topic of the kashrut of Hebrew National hot dogs is fascinating.

IMHO, Hebrew National's business model is not based around attracting Jews who already keep kashrut, rather on taking advantage of the fact that "kosher" is generally synonymous with "clean", which is a significant factor when it comes to the soccer mom standing in the grocery store, trying to decide which brand of hot dogs to buy for her family. It all goes back to semantics.

Best Topics: chevy corvair problems ex machina pronounced jackie swanson naked maroon slang the objective movie homemade taser 714 quaalude alcohol and bactrim tts beatbox discord reticulated splines orifice plural apr chipping sell herbalife products doctor visit costs thin tires fancy feast review dim fluorescent lights 4 head vcrs fan dimmer switches is alldaychemist legal us army cape keg of odouls cartman speaking german greenies baseball bamboo lumber lowes rgp plunger social register 2014 stewie accent cement drink words without rhymes did cannonballs explode rutabaga wax what kind of bug makes a clicking sound navy bell ringing protocol how to get a wet dreams peeing on the toilet seat how to say i love you so much in spanish how tall is paul newman charlotte church 9 11 can you eat vaseline ending of crouching tiger hidden dragon george montgomery and dinah shore police damage to property compensation capital loss carryover worksheet 2014 relationship between heart rate and blood pressure aaa non emergency towing is harvard hard once you get in why doesn't gandalf use more magic get the fuck off my board plant leaves turning brown and crispy swords in the civil war how was the play mrs lincoln half and half instead of milk shrunken heads for sale what is unlocked fire stick jury duty massachusetts how often difference between max ac and ac what do you mix whiskey with 10 types of people binary 96 hours without sleep weight limit for kayak bathtub overflow drain cover contacts make my eyes red how to refill mccormick salt grinder advice from a singer sewing machine manual from 1949 robert f kennedy jr speech impediment how long do generators last