About Certification

About the South Shore Vaad ‘SSVK’:

The South Shore Vaad is the official Rabbinical Council of the South Shore, a non-profit organization. The Kosher supervision department certifies an array establishments that service the Jewish community and kosher customers in the greater region and is the recognized and accepted certification on the island. Kosher consumers will only purchase items with a proper Kosher certification such as ours; Jewish law prohibits eating uncertified foods. Our market consists primarily of consumers from Long Beach, Lido Beach, Atlantic Beach, Oceanside, Island Park, Merrick and the Five Towns who look for our Vaad certification when considering a purchase.


What is Kosher?

“Kosher” refers to foodstuffs that meet the dietary requirements of Jewish Law. One of the biggest myths about kosher, is that food becomes kosher when ‘a Rabbi blesses it’. That is quite far from factual, rather the Jewish religion (Torah) requires a regimen of dietary codes. There are three major factors in determining the kosher status of a product: the source of the ingredients, the status of the production equipment and the process of production. There are myriad complex details of these kosher laws. A proper Kosher supervision makes it easy and streamlined for you to implement and certifies that the products meet the criteria.


What is Kosher Supervision/Certification?

A Kosher certifying agency is a third party body that verifies that all aspects of a product and operation meet kosher law standards. This includes ingredients, equipment, procedures, utensils and hygiene. Not all Kosher certifications are considered equal. Customers look for a recognized Kosher symbol and certifying Rabbi that they can trust has ensured adherence to the universal kosher standard. All kosher certified facilities must have a ‘Mashgiach’ or kosher supervisor assigned to oversee and assist in implementing the kosher laws.


How does one know what is kosher certified?

A Kosher certified product or establishment will always display a Letter of Certification which attests to the Kosher status and who certifies it. Most will include the agency symbol on packaging, advertising and in the public view to attract kosher consumers.


Advantages of SSVK Kosher certification?

Ability to reach the Jewish kosher market of the beaches and the greater Long Island region including many summer visitors. Others who seek a seal of quality and integrity search for the kosher symbol too, expanding your customer base. Market studies repeatedly indicate that even the non-Jewish consumer, when given the choice, will express a distinct preference for kosher certified products. They regard the kosher symbol as a sign of quality. SSVK, a community based not-for-profit, provides you with a respected professional and efficient supervision/certification. At the SSVK, we see it as our mission to support the business owners and consumers and charge minimal fees for our services.


Some Basic rules of Kosher?

 Meat – Dairy – Pareve.

One of the fundamentals in Kashrus is that milk and meat, or any derivatives of them, cannot be combined in any way, shape or form. The commercial ramifications of this concept are numerous. On the most basic level, it means that a meat product may contain no dairy ingredients and vice versa. Of course there are products that contain neither meat nor dairy ingredients. These are called “pareve,” a Hebrew word meaning “neutral.” A “pareve” product may be eaten with either a meat, poultry or dairy meal. From a kosher marketing point of view, products that bear a pareve designation understandably are the most marketable, since they are universally usable in conjunction with any type of meal. Furthermore, vegetarians and lactose intolerant individuals specifically seek out kosher certified pareve products.


Fish and Meat:

Fish and meat are also not cooked or consumed together.


Fruits and Vegetables:

Raw fruits and vegetables are approved for kosher use naturally. However, though fresh greenery may seem innocuous, Kosher law prohibits the ingestion of insects. Many common produce items have challenges with insect infestation. A kosher supervisor will either wash and check for insects such as thrips which the untrained eye would not notice or require only specially produced produce that does not contain insects.


Equipment: Keeping it Kosher.

In addition to food ingredients being kosher, the equipment used in food processing must also be kosher. Equipment used to manufacture products containing non-kosher ingredients can cause the equipment to attain a non-kosher status. Thus, production that takes place after non-kosher production is completed, can be rendered non-kosher by virtue of the equipment used, even if the ingredients are kosher. A special process called ‘kashering’ may be used depending on certain factors to subsequently enable equipment or utensils that were not kosher be used for kosher production.

 

What else?

There are many other regulations that need to be in place to be kosher certified, thankfully being a multibillion dollar industry millions of kosher products are available.

Some other items that require certification involveigniting fires, ovens or stoves in a kosher fashion. Wine and spirits, and logistical operations.


Becoming Certified:

To set up a kosher program tailored to your needs, a rabbi will come to your facility to get a firsthand understanding of your company and operating procedures. After the Initial Inspection, you will be presented with your company’s specific kosher program and related costs. These will be outlined in a contract that specifies the requirements and obligations of both parties.


Letter of Certification:

Once certified, a Letter of Certification is provided which is to be displayed in a prominent place and confirms the Kosher status. Certified establishments have the right to use the SSVK sign and logo on their advertisements and packaging during the period they are certified in good standing. Most display the Letter in a frame near the counter and a sign or logo in the window for consumers to see and be assured. All certified establishments are listed on the websites of our affiliated synagogues and upon new certification are shared on a list with all members.

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