Loblaw, Canada’s largest food retailer, has announced that it will only be dealing with a single kashrut supervision organization from now on when it comes to its store brands. According to a Canadian Jewish News report, the company, which operates more than 1,000 corporate and franchised supermarkets, stores and warehouse-type outlets across Canada, said that going forward, it would work only with the Kashruth Council of Canada and it’s COR designation.
Until now, Loblaws has had ten different kashrut symbols on the packaging of its brands, such as President’s Choice, No name, and Blue Menu. The plan is for the products to continue to be supervised by the same heksher-granting agencies as before (including OU, the most widely recognized kashrut designation), but to have only COR printed on their labels.
Kashruth Council spokesman Richard Rabkin said that all ten current hekshers met COR standards. If another agency wanted to certify a Loblaw store brand, the Kashruth Council would have to ascertain that it met COR standards. If it did not, that agency would be required to work with Kashruth Council to come up to COR standards, and if it did not, Loblaw would make the ultimate decision as to whether to accept the product or not.
Despite claims that this new consolidation will lead to uniformity in packaging and expedited manufacturing without any additional cost to anyone involved — including the consumer — other heksher-ing agencies are somewhat wary. Rabbi Saul Emanuel, executive director of the Jewish Community Council of Montreal, which oversees the MK certification that until now could be found on many Loblaw store brand products told the CJN that he is adopting a wait-and-see approach.