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OU ADDS SEARCHABLE DATA BASE

This story is hot off the Kosher Today news service:

OU Kosher Creates Product Search Feature on Website to Assist Both Consumers and Companies
(New York) Providing more accessible information to kosher consumers and kosher manufacturers, OU Kosher has created a product search feature on its website, www.oukosher.org, listing all OU certified products. The feature can be accessed by clicking on /Products/ on the OU Kosher homepage.

The product search enables both companies and consumers to find out in a simple and straightforward manner which products and ingredients are certified by the OU,? explained Rabbi Yonatan Kaganoff, Rabbinic Coordinator and marketing specialist for OU Kosher, who had a major responsibility for creating the feature. Companies requiring an acid or enzyme for a product can now check the OU website and obtain information on which products are certified by the OU, Rabbi Kaganoff explained. For example, stearic acid is often used in vitamins but can be manufactured from a beef derivative. If companies want to know which stearic acid is OU certified they can get an answer in a matter of seconds. Whereas prior to the product search feature companies had to get in touch with OU rabbis, now they have online access to the necessary information.
?For companies searching for a kosher ingredient, such as MSG, this feature will make it as simple as clicking on an icon to determine which MSG is OU Kosher,? said Rabbi Kaganoff. He pointed out, however, that while the feature gives companies access to information, the companies will still have to apply to the OU to use any ingredient in their product. There are numerous ways that consumers can benefit from the feature. ?Instead of searching through the supermarket shelves trying to find a pareve margarine, they can find out before they go to the market which ones they can use,? said Rabbi Kaganoff. Consumers interested in learning about the range of products available will also find the feature useful. For example, if a consumer wanted a list the numerous kosher sushi products available, the product search can provide the information easily. However, the most common use, according to Rabbi Kaganoff, is from consumers searching to verify that a product is OU Kosher. ?They might see an OU pareve on an all-natural butter-flavored oil and want verification that the product is indeed pareve,? he explained. While the web project has been almost a year in the making, a product listing is not a new concept for OU Kosher. Previously, the OU published a book listing all of their certified products. However, certification was subject to change and these changes took place often. ?The books could become outdated within a few days,? said Rabbi Kaganoff. The website, however, allows for up-to-the-minute changes, making all the information as accurate and timely as possible. Already, the feature has become one of the most popular on the OU Kosher website, according to Rabbi Kaganoff. ?The product search went up a month ago and we can already tell that many people are using it, making their search for information much more simple,? he said. ?We hope that as the word spreads, more people will be able to utilize this very helpful and informative product search.?