By Yoel Gross, First Choice Baby Foods
I have read Rabbi Adlerstein’s article posted on Matzav on May 4. While I agree with everything he wrote about the OU (we are also OU certified), I do not think he understood the point I was trying to make.
While many people shop at local kosher supermarkets and groceries in their neighborhoods, many shop at national chains such as Target, WalMart, ShopRite, etc. While some of the products of the national baby food brands are certified, the vast majority are not certified at all. The national brands also do not have any poultry products or kosher for Passover products, and many products are not consistently certified – the same product can be certified for some runs and not for others.
Although it is obvious that the OU does not need my approval or accolades, I do want to mention that in all of my dealings with the OU, collectively and individually, they have acted in a manner beyond reproach, regarding both halacha standards and professional standards. However, while the hechsherim agencies do collaborate, as well they should, every hechsher has its own stringencies and chumros that they are specifically makpid on, and there are consumers who look to see certain hechsherim on the products they purchase.
We feel that with our product, you really can get the best of both worlds. Our entire line is certified always. Wherever you pick it up, in a local store or a national chain store (where we will iy”H be starting distribution shortly), you can be assured that the kashrus standards are impeccable. We have the chumros of both the OU and Hisachdus Harabbonim and the freshness that the national brands do not (because of our different manufacturing practices).
In short, I do not believe that Rabbi Adlerstein’s comments of “exchanging basic competence for hiddurm” was at all justified or respectful towards the many, many, serious hechsheirim in the market today.
With thanks for this forum that allows us to exchange our opinions and ideas,