How does one determine the level of acceptability of a certification?
The best way to begin is by asking your customers, distributors, or companies selling products similar to yours, about their experiences with a particular certification.
Try contacting local Rabbinical groups in several different cities where you are already selling your product or hope to do so in the future. A Rabbi responsible for kashruth in his own city will be able to tell you easily which certifications are most popular among his congregants. Any kosher certification agency should easily be able to supply you with the name and phone number of individuals who are responsible for kashruth in any given local area.
You should be aware that customer preferences may not be the same in different geographical areas, and kosher consumers in one American or European city may not accept the certification of another local Rabbinical group. In such cases, you are best served by seeking a certification agency that is national or international in scope, and that is likely to give you worldwide acceptance. Even with a reputable international agency do not expect 100% acceptability as there will always be some small groups insisting on their own local Rabbi’s certification.
Another factor to consider is whether the certification is likely to be accepted by Moslem, Seventh Day Adventist, or Vegetarian groups who regularly look for kosher certification before making a purchase.
What kind of service can you expect?
In addition to acceptability, you should be equally concerned about the level of service provided by the agency under consideration.
How quickly can they respond to your needs? If you are a flavor company and your
customer requires posthaste a kosher certified flavor, does the agency have adequate and sufficient staff to provide assistance on very short notice?
If you are having difficulty obtaining a kosher certified raw ingredient, does the agency have the resources to help you locate an acceptable source for this ingredient?
If information regarding the kosher status of an ingredient sourced from a distant location needs verification does the agency have experts in kashruth all over the world who can easily do a plant inspection? Or do they always seem to demand, at considerable expense and delay in time, to visit the distant manufacturing plant themselves?
If your customer has a problem with the kosher status of an ingredient that you are selling will the agency offer to contact your customer’s certifying Rabbi to resolve any misunderstandings or otherwise seek to assure that your product meets all of your customer’s kosher specifications?
When you call with a question or submit a new ingredient for approval, do you get a response in a reasonable amount of time?
Is the agency willing to help with marketing suggestions on how to best target kosher consumers with your newly certified product, or to suggest names of distributors familiar with the kosher market?