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    Dairy Equipment and
    Yoshon Categories
    Offered in Response to
    Community Requests
    Of the hundreds of
    weekly queries OU (Orthodox Union)
    Kosher fields from consumers via its Kosher
    Hotline and Webbe Rebbe forum, the most
    popular centers on Oreo cookies.
    “The most frequently asked shaila in
    America is whether Oreos are dairy, pareve,
    or simply made with dairy equipment,” says
    OU Kosher Chief
    Executive Officer
    Rabbi Menachem
    Genack. “While
    some Oreos are
    dairy, others are
    in fact pareve.
    But they are all
    marked OU-D in
    order to enable the
    manufacturers to
    change the formula,
    should they wish, without having to incur
    the tremendous costs of altering product

    The Oreo question is particularly
    meaningful to people who observe Cholov
    Yisroel, live in smaller Jewish communities
    devoid of pareve food options, have milk
    allergies, or simply wish to indulge in these
    treats following a meat meal.
    Thanks to OU Kosher’s recent addition of
    two new categories to its product search
    website, consumers can now obtain instant
    answers to their dairy equipment and
    yoshon-related questions. The site now also
    lists 2,000 additional products designated by
    OU Kosher as DE or
    yoshon that lack the
    official certification
    symbols on the
    product packaging.
    “We’re here to serve
    the community,”
    says OU Kosher
    Chief Operating
    Officer Rabbi
    Moshe Elefant.
    “That’s our mission.
    Consumers have increasingly conveyed
    that the DE and yoshon designations are
    important to them, and we have responded.

    OU Kosher’s objective is to provide
    timely kashrus information in the
    most sophisticated way possible.”
    As the world’s largest and most widely
    recognized international kosher
    certification agency, OU Kosher
    certifies over one million products
    manufactured in 13,000 plants in 105
    countries. The organization certifies
    two-thirds of all kosher food in the
    United States and has endorsed DE
    and yoshon products for over 20 years.
    Launched in 2011, OU Kosher’s consumer
    product search website already enabled
    visitors to search for meat, dairy, pareve,
    kosher for Passover, pas yisroel, cholov
    yisroel and gluten free products.
    Rabbi Genack notes that as with Oreos,
    other foods confirmed as DE or yoshon by
    OU Kosher may lack official symbols on the
    product packaging due to the prohibitive
    costs to manufacturers of updating product
    labels, in the event that ingredients change.
    Because manufacturers can potentially alter
    their formulas and re-add milk to DE items,
    certain foods listed as DE on the consumer
    product search website are marked as
    “Subject to change – Please check on DE
    status every few months.”
    “A company with an OU-D certified
    product can add milk to the recipe in
    the future and it’s their right,” says OU
    Kosher Executive Rabbinic Coordinator
    Rabbi Moshe Zywica, who worked on
    the website additions together with
    OU Chief Technology Officer Jeremy
    “Therefore, OU Kosher is saying, right
    now the item falls under DE according
    to our investigation, but don’t assume
    that it will always be DE. The website
    is updated daily; people should recheck
    items’ status every few months where
    indicated, because even if the recipe
    changes, it will take time for the updated
    product to reach store shelves.”
    As for products confirmed as yoshon on
    OU Kosher’s consumer product site but
    which appear unmarked, Rabbi Zywica
    explains that many lack certification
    symbols because companies prefer not
    to have extra writing on their products
    beyond the small OU symbol.
    The Torah forbids eating the new year’s
    grains until after the second day of
    Passover. This prohibition applies to
    five varieties of grain: wheat, barley,
    spelt, rye and oats. After the second day
    of Passover, all grain which took root
    before Passover is viewed as yoshon
    (old), and is permitted. Grain which

    took root after the second day of Passover
    is known as chodosh and is not permitted
    until after the second day of Passover the
    following year.
    In Israel all grain products are required to
    be yoshon, but whether this is required in
    Chutz la’Aretz is the subject of controversy.
    Rabbi Genack notes that it was Rabbi Ahron
    Soloveichik, zt”l, who spearheaded the
    movement of adherence to yoshon in North
    America. The concern for chodosh grain
    in the United States is a relatively recent
    phenomenon, Rabbi Genack explained.
    “Until the late 1960s, the U.S. had a huge
    wheat surplus,” he says, and therefore all
    grain that reached the market was yoshon.
    “During the Nixon era, there were massive
    grain sales to Russia and the U.S. no longer
    had that kind of surplus, so the issue of
    chodosh emerged. Rav Ahron Soloveichik
    believed very strongly in the importance
    of keeping yoshon even outside of Israel.
    While the number of people who kept
    yoshon was small in his day, it has become
    more widespread. Many others, however,
    continue to follow the lenient positions
    about chodosh in Chutz La’Aretz, such as
    that of the Bach and others.”
    Rabbi Elefant notes that significant time
    and resources were dedicated to adding the
    DE and yoshon options, and the project is
    “OU Kosher’s rabbinic coordinators
    spent considerable time researching each
    product, and the field representatives
    verify that each item’s composition remains
    consistent,” says Rabbi Elefant. “OU’s IT
    department also invested tremendous effort
    and countless hours to create the program
    and ensure that the information remains
    current. We are grateful to everyone for
    their dedication to OU Kosher consumers.”