Niagara College partners with Kashruth Council to integrate kosher and food safety guidelines

Seeking a more efficient way to make kosher certification integrate with food safety planning, the Kashruth Council of Canada recently partnered with Niagara College on an ambitious project to do just that.

Most of the worldโ€™s leading food retailers and manufacturers participate in the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), which sets standards for food safety, with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Safe Quality Food Program (SQF) as the most predominant GFSI regimes. At the same time, many food manufacturers carry kosher certification as more than 40 per cent of packaged food products sold in the United States are kosher certified, according to market research firm Mintel.

While there is much overlap between kosher and food safety programs, they have been kept markedly separate – until now.

The Kashruth Council of Canada (COR) and NCโ€™s Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre collaborated on a project to integrate kosher certification requirements into both SQF and BRC food safety programs.

โ€œWe are thrilled to offer this service to the food manufacturing community,โ€ said Rabbi Sholom H. Adler, CORโ€™s director of Industrial Kosher. โ€œWe are always looking for ways to make kosher certification more efficient and effective for our kosher certified companies, and we are hopeful that this project will do just that.โ€

โ€œFood manufacturers already speak a certain language, and that is the language of SQF and BRC,โ€ said Amy Proulx, NC professor, program coordinator with the Culinary Innovation and Food Technology program, and faculty lead on the project. โ€œWhat this project has done is translate kosher certification into that same language spoken by food safety professionals. As a result, I am confident that this initiative will be well received.โ€

The newly released kosher guidelines are meant to supplement existing kosher certification programs.

โ€œWhatever kosher certification partner a manufacturer has, this new framework will simply help organize oneโ€™s kosher program,โ€ said Richard Rabkin, CORโ€™s managing director. โ€œIn short, our hope is that it will make keeping kosher easier.โ€

This new initiative has support from across the kosher industry, as it has been endorsed by other leading kosher agencies including the Orthodox Union (OU), Stark-K Kosher Certification (Star-K), Kof-K Kosher Supervision (Kof-K), Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc) and the Rabbinical Council of New England (KVH).

The project, which also included student researchers from the Culinary Innovation and Food Technology program, was made possible by funding to the CFWI Innovation Centre from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Electronic copies of the newly published guidelines are available at the links below:

Guideline for Integrating Kosher Certification Requirements into BRC Food Safety Issue 7

Guideline for Integrating Kosher Certification Requirements into SQF Code 7.2

Located at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus of Niagara College, the CFWI Innovation Centre team offers a full suite of services to support industry innovation and commercialization of new products and processes in the food and beverage sector. From new recipe development to shelf-life testing and nutritional labelling, the Centre pairs industry partners with faculty, recent graduates and students with the right expertise and equipment to meet industry needs.

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