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            Once upon a time, organic produce and processed foods were found only in health food stores. Today, not only can you walk into most any mainstream grocery store and find a variety of organically certified foods, you can find them in stores catering to the most selective kosher consumer, as well.

 

            The rapidly rising global demand for kosher products bearing a trusted, recognizable kosher logo now parallels that of labeled certified organic products. The two intersecting trends have given rise to a flourishing new specialty food category – kosher organic – which meets both the strict requirements of Jewish dietary laws and the USDA National Organic Program specifications. The major impact on sales of these doubly certified products is reflected in Mintel International’s 2008 research data; both “kosher” and “organic” were amongst the top 10 claims for new products.

 

            In response to the growing numbers of kosher manufacturers worldwide that opt for both kosher and organic certification, STAR-K has recently announced a new joint kosher and organic auditing program with Quality Assurance International (QAI).

 

            QAI is the organic industry leader in certification services with operations in the U.S., Canada, Japan and the European Union. QAI’s programs verify organic compliance at every link of the product handling chain, thereby helping to assure consumers that product integrity is preserved in the marketplace.

 

             Effective as of January 1, the joint program offers several advantages, including streamlining the auditing process and reducing overall certification costs. To accomplish these goals, a number of STAR-K kosher inspectors are now trained organic processing inspectors, allowing both audits to be completed in one visit.

 

            Organic farming practices are designed to promote soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. There are several differences between conventional and organic farming practices. Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Organically produced foods are also produced without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering and other excluded practices, sewage sludge, or irradiation.

 

            Cloning animals or using their products is considered inconsistent with organic practices, and organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food. [The Organic Trade Association.]

 

            “The new alliance between STAR-K and QAI highlights our shared commitment to help companies provide high-quality kosher certified organic products in a more efficient and cost-effective manner,” said STAR-K president, Dr. Avrom Pollak. “Having realized that many companies have both certifications, we feel that the bundling of our certification efforts will add further efficiency and value on behalf of consumers throughout the world.” 


            Added QAI president, Kristen Holt, “We are thrilled to announce this new alliance with STAR-K. By combining our respective expertise, together QAI and STAR-K will offer two certifications, providing clients both cost and time savings, while continuing to provide the highest levels of service our clients have come to expect.”

 

            For more information on the new certification program, contact Steve Sichel at steve@starkosher.com or 410-484-4110, ext. 224. 

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