So, you’ve chosen to pursue kosher certification. Your visit from the rabbi is looming, so what can you do to prepare for the kosher inspection? Each department must keep up with certain routine tasks to ensure that the facility is ready for a visit from the rabbi representing the kosher certification agency.
Kosher Inspection Preparation by Department
Research and Development
To prepare for the kosher inspection, research and development must keep accurate records of formulas and consult QA or the rabbi before making changes that might affect kosher or pareve status. R&D must also keep track of and document any changes in raw materials. This department should also consult with the kosher certifier if the company is considering changes to formulas.
Your engineering department should verify that utilities are separated as needed for kosher and non-kosher products. The department should keep track of how equipment is used to ensure there is no cross-contamination and keep records of equipment purchases, especially if equipment is purchased used.
Purchasing must check every raw material against kosher guidelines prior to purchasing. To prepare for the kosher inspection, the department must purchase orders to ensure they clearly reflect kosher guidelines and maintain accurate records in case the rabbi needs to check them.
As the kosher inspection gets closer, receiving should ensure they keep accurate records of incoming products and check all incoming materials for kosher status, labeling, and correct handling. They should verify Rabbi’s signature, specific lot numbers, holograms, etc. on materials with special kosher specifications. The receiving department must also maintain separation and clear identification of kosher sensitive materials.
Production and Scheduling
Production and Scheduling should review schedules to ensure that there are no conflicts with kosher production order and verify that changes to production order (e.g., cuts/ add-ins) conform with kosher requirements. This department should pay special attention to equipment that runs kosher/non-kosher or dairy/pareve to avoid cross-contamination. Note kosher occurrences on production records and/or charts. Lastly, they should schedule kosherizations as needed, and allow for downtime in preparation for each kosherization.
Maintenance and/or sanitation can prepare for the kosher inspection by kosherizing equipment as needed. They’ll need to establish protocols for cleaning and maintaining equipment and storage areas to prevent contamination of kosher products. This department must keep accurate records of cleaning, kosherization, and equipment usage, particularly when it can be cross-used.
QA should communicate with all other departments to makesure any changes will not affect kosher status and maintain accurate records in case the rabbi needs to check them. The department must stay up to date on protocols, ingredients, and formulas. Lastly, they should review production records, production schedules, and raw materials in inventory to verify kosher compliance.
Zosi Resources for Your Kosher Food
Production and Certification
To further prepare for kosher food certification and ensure your kosher program includes all of the essential, consider Managing Kosher Production Online. This in-depth course leverages the Orthodox Union’s Rabbi Avrohom Stone experience and knowledge to provide participants with a step-by-step walkthrough of kosher rules, concepts, and program components. Start learning today!