PRESS RELEASE: VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (11/21/2013) – Apart from their appeal to Jewish consumers, Kosher foods are embraced by a diverse community world-wide. In fact, Kosher certified food products are one of the fastest growing segments of the food industry, with annual sales exceeding $200 billion in North America, and year-over-year increases of 15% or more.
Consumer studies have revealed for years that large segments of Jewish, and non-Jewish customers alike, buy Kosher certified foods based on their belief that such products are manufactured to superior standards of food safety.
Understanding the nature and quality of that public confidence has inspired Rabbi Avraham Feigelstock, recognized scholar and Av Beth Din of the Vancouver Beth Din, to create an innovative Kosher food certification program named, ‘Kosher Check.’ The hallmark of this new Kosher certification is that, for the first time in history, enhanced food-safety manufacturing protocol will be a principal requirement.
According to Rabbi Feigelstock, Kosher Check has been designed specifically to inform consumers that the products it certifies not only meet strict Kosher standards, but also, that the manufacturers of such foods have warranted that their operational activities conform to enhanced food-safety protocols.
He said the existing Kosher certification program, BC Kosher, has in place contracts with clients for over ten-years that require a commitment on the part of every Kosher certified manufacturer that they comply with applicable government food-safety regulations. “Under the new Kosher Check,” he said, “Approval will be predicated on food manufacturers giving clear assurance they are observing additional, elevated standards for food-safety – beyond those regulations mandated by government authorities.”
Among the food-safety programs considered benchmarks for Kosher Check are those regarded as ‘best-practice’ by quality assurance authorities and food professionals, world-wide. They include the HACCP program (Hazard Awareness Critical Control Points) as well as GFSI (Global Food Standard Initiative), FSSC 22000 (Foundation for Food Safety Certification) and BRC (British Retail Council), among others.
In discussing the value of the program, Rabbi Feigelstock said, “Certainly, Kosher Check is intended to be value-added for customers, since it will provide them an extra measure of confidence concerning food-safety.” He said that benefits will accrue to stakeholders, as well, like product brand owners and grocery retailers, “Both can expect to profit from incremental sales as foods certified Kosher Check achieve greater consumer awareness in the marketplace.”
Responsibility for implementing the new program falls to Richard Wood, Kosher Check business manager. He said, “Information kits describing the benefits of Kosher Check certification and all details of the program are being sent to existing BC Kosher certified brand holders, manufacturers, major food retailers, and new Kosher applicants this week.”
Mr. Wood added that an initiative to promote awareness among consumers of the distinctive Kosher Check identification – a conjoined capital ‘K’ and ‘check-mark,’ with the program name and tag line, ‘Kosher Checked. Globally Accepted.’ – would follow soon after.
Kosher Check, originally known as BC Kosher, is a non-profit Kosher certification agency headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. With regional offices located throughout Asia, Europe and North America, the organization serves over 600 food manufacturers throughout the United States, Canada, the Pacific Rim and Far East. Kosher Check is a member of the Association of Kashrut Organizations (AKO), a not-for-profit Kosher agency, serving domestic and international manufacturers and brand holders, recognized by all rabbinical associations throughout the world.
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