Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon of KSA Kosher notes that kosher certification is a growing trend in the food industry. In this interview, Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon explains how kosher certification improves food sales and encourages healthy eating for Americans.
Q: Are kosher foods truly that popular with consumers?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Most people eat some type of kosher food each day, even if they may not be aware of it.
Q: What are the average sales of kosher-certified products each year?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: More than $150 billion of kosher-certified products are consumed annually, and consumer spending continues to increase dramatically.
Q: How has kosher certification influenced the food industry?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Kosher certification has prompted an increase in sales while promoting a company’s private label business.
Q: In particular, what does the KSA logo indicate?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: As a marketing device, the KSA logo has generated more revenue and expanded the scope of the market. More importantly, it signifies food quality to the consumer.
Q: Where can the KSA logo be found?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: The KSA logo is a prominent feature on products sold in restaurants, supermarket chains, food distributors and food manufacturers.
Q: Why do these businesses favor kosher foods?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: In a recent survey, consumers said that they favored kosher products over regular products by approximately 25 percent.
Q: Aren’t most kosher consumers from the Jewish community?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Only 8 percent of kosher consumers are religious Jews.
Q: How do kosher certification practices improve overall food safety?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Regular kosher inspections performed at production facilities will often increase attention to preventing insect infestation. In these cases, it’s more likely that inspectors will detect non-kosher remnants.
Q: Are kosher standards more stringent than general food industry regulations?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Kosher inspectors are not health professionals, of course. However, many times they hold higher standards than industry regulations.
Q: Such as?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Government regulations allow trace amounts of contamination in produced foods before they are deemed unsafe. However, kosher certification carries a no-tolerance policy.
Q: How do kosher inspectors monitor food production?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Kosher inspectors are extremely vigilant in monitoring bugs or any other impurities related to the food.
Q: How are kosher inspectors qualified for this task?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: These inspectors are trained in the areas of food technology, food chemistry and Jewish dietary law.
Q: Have food safety reforms been successfully enacted?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: The government has made significant progress in promoting food safety, but outcomes are still short of expectations.
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Administrative delays and inadequate funding have both contributed to the lessened impact of these reforms.
Q: What is the key to success of kosher products?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Quite simply, market demand. The more consumers request kosher food, the more products are introduced to the public.
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon leads all certification efforts for Kosher Supervision of America (KSA), located in Los Angeles, Calif. KSA is the most prominent kosher certification agency based in the Western United States.