One issue which may not be so obvious when first negotiating terms of kosher certification, but may be a very serious concern later on, is your need to know in advance if your raw ingredient suppliers will require kosher certification. If they do, will their present certification which they may already have, be acceptable? Although in most instances reputable agencies accept the certifications of other reputable agencies, there are a disturbing number of exceptions to this rule. You should be forewarned if one of your suppliers is going to present a problem. You have a right to expect a certification agency to be perfectly candid and to offer a rational explanation if they reject any of your suppliers. If they fail to provide you with a convincing explanation, it may very well be your signal to begin looking elsewhere.
With respect to fees charged for kosher supervision there are some very significant differences even between the large and well-known agencies. Making sure that you fully understand a particular agency’s fee structure is worth the time and effort spent acquiring this information. It is advisable to get quotes from several different agencies. Ask in advance about annual fee charges, travel reimbursement, per diem charges, if applicable, and initial inspection charges. We strongly object to the practice of fees being set for kosher certification based on the volume of sales. In our opinion, the certification agency in effect becomes your partner and thus they have no business certifying themselves. If the fees quoted seem unreasonable, try using your negotiating skills; many agencies, in some circumstances, are willing to reduce their regular charges for a period of time. They may allow your company to test the kosher market and make a final determination if kosher certification is in your company’s best interest.
In summary, we wish to reiterate the importance of doing the necessary homework. Before you engage a kosher certification agency, it is essential that you understand both the positive and negative aspects of that agency. If, as you prepare to sign on the dotted line, you have the feeling that you are now about to become a member of their family and that they will be there working for you, you have probably made the right choice.
Assuming that your company has done some market research to determine that it
would benefit from by acquiring a kosher certification