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More than 100 representatives of kashrus organizations from around the world gathered last Thursday at the headquarters of the Orthodox Union in Lower Manhattan.
The occasion was the annual conference of the Association of Kashrus Organizations (AKO), which was established in 1985 to unite kashrus agencies and maintain the highest level of kashrus.
Organizers said that although there was no crisis or central issue that dominated the conference as in past years, the kashrus officials dealt with a number of issues that currently face the kashrus world.
One concern that was raised at the conference were processes used in beverage including using a hot process in cold fountains. The addition of grape juice at a bottling plant was another example given to point out the increased vigilance that is necessary in the production of beverages.
Products from Israel that may have been subject to “shmittah” laws was another concern addressed by the conference as was infestation of asparagus.
As is customary at these conferences, many “housekeeping” issues were discussed, including the branding of kashrus symbols and unauthorized logos.
Kashrus officials say that these conferences are vital to keep the kashrus community on the “same page.” Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, the executive director of AKO, called it an “extremely productive” event for the kashrus community.
The Executive Committee of AKO include Rabbi Sholom Adler, Rabbi Moshe Elefant, Rabbi Saul Emanuel, Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, Rabbi Menachem Genack, Rabbi Yitzchok Glick, Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, Dr. Avrom Pollak, Rabbi Ari Senter and Rabbi Avraham Teichman.