by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director
Since 2007, EarthKosher® has offered affordable kosher certification services to companies around the world. Founder and CEO Rabbi Zecharyah Tzvi Goldman has a particular interest in certifying "…companies that embody a regard for human health, human dignity and respect the environment." As of December 2011, EarthKosher® certifies over 150 companies in seventeen countries.
Kashrus administration for EarthKosher® is provided by Rabbi Zushe Blech who has years of experience in kosher certification. EarthKosher is recognized as a recommended kosher symbol by Rav Eliezer Eidlitz of KosherQuest.org. EarthKosher® is also a member of the Association of Kashrus Organizations.
Rabbi Goldman told The VRG that at the request of an EarthKosher® client, Audrey Darrow of Earth Source Organics®, EarthKosher® began a Joint Kosher-Vegan Certification Program. "A company must be certified kosher by us first before seeking vegan verification," he said. What is unique about this vegan certification compared to others is that EarthKosher® inspects a company's food production facility before granting vegan certification and visits on an ongoing basis to ensure strict compliance with their vegan standards. "Mailing a check with a list of ingredients is not enough to gain our vegan certification," according to Rabbi Goldman.
EarthKosher's® standards for its Vegan Verification Program are that "a product contains no animal products or animal product derivatives whatsoever, i.e., zero tolerance. In addition, we do not permit under any circumstances vegan products bearing our vegan symbol to be manufactured on equipment that is employed for non-vegan products." Rabbi Goldman told The VRG that "a company must reveal the identity of anything that come in contact with the final food product including processing aids, incidental additives, release agents, etc., (excluding equipment cleaning agents)."
Rabbi Goldman distinguishes his Joint Kosher-Vegan Certification Program from others because "I have no broader agenda like other organizations do. I certify with great integrity."
Darrow told The VRG that larger kosher certifying agencies "wouldn't even talk to me because I was such a small company." As a small business, she couldn't afford the thousands of dollars required to get kosher certified. "With EarthKosher®, on the other hand, their program is much more affordable and payments plans are possible. And I can get vegan certified, too, which is very important to me." Rabbi Goldman told us "that a large kosher agency typically charges a small company with a few products between $6,000-$10,000 for kosher certification. I provide the same certification for $2,000-$3,000."
Darrow also told The VRG that she is very impressed with the regular onsite visits by EarthKosher® and their superb customer service. "EarthKosher® shows compassion for new businesses and provides constant communication and feedback," she said.
To learn more about EarthKosher's® Joint Kosher-Vegan Certification program, visit their website at http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2006issue3/vj2006issue3labels.htm
For information on food ingredients, fast food, and for other information of interest to vegetarians and vegans, please subscribe to our free e-newsletter at http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews/
There are many ways to stay connected to The Vegetarian Resource Group!
Get our blog delivered right to your inbox: http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheVRGBlog
Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/VegResourceGrp
And like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thevegetarianresourcegroup