Kosherization: How one food factory transitions for Passover

Whipped topping maker Hanan Merchandise runs a kosher manufacturing facility all 12 months lengthy, so the corporate is used to the rigorous requirements at its plant in Brooklyn, New York — and the almost fixed presence of rabbis to make it possible for the whole lot runs correctly.

These rabbis are observing both Hanan’s processes for its personal branded merchandise, or they signify private-label manufacturers made there, in accordance with Chief Working Officer Ryan Hanan. He estimated there is a rabbi within the plant about 90% of the time.

However when it’s time to make kosher for Passover licensed merchandise, there’s rather more that must be carried out to make the plant prepared by way of a course of referred to as kosherizing.

Merchandise which can be kosher observe Jewish dietary legal guidelines that had been set down within the Bible. Kosher has been mentioned to be the preferred CPG product certification, and totally different certification teams examine amenities, substances and processes to make it possible for merchandise adjust to these dietary legal guidelines. 

Through the eight days of Passover, there’s a a lot stricter set of dietary legal guidelines that have to be adopted. Any grains that could possibly be fermented are prohibited, and the one bread-like product that could be eaten is the flatbread matzo. Corn, beans and rice have typically been included on this grains prohibition, that means that any ingredient produced from these substances is prohibited throughout Passover. 

Through the kosherization course of, Hanan Merchandise first must clear its manufacturing facility of substances that aren’t kosher for Passover. The first offender is corn — Hanan mentioned the corporate makes use of excessive fructose corn syrup as an ingredient in a few of its merchandise — however there are another substances that don’t meet the requirements. Palm kernel oil, utilized in some merchandise, additionally have to be cleared out of all the tanks and features to make sure that the whole lot that goes into completed merchandise meets kosher for Passover requirements.

Rabbis examine Hanan Merchandise’ facility main as much as its kosher for Passover manufacturing interval.

Permission granted by Hanan Merchandise


The rabbis usually ask Hanan Merchandise to do particular issues within the plant kosherization, often modifying the manufacturing facility’s pastuerization course of. Whereas the corporate at all times pasteurizes its substances at a temperature hotter than 165 levels, Hanan mentioned that typically the rabbis request hotter temperatures, or holding them at that temperature for longer. The rabbis may even typically ask the corporate to sanitize all the containers used for measuring and mixing substances to very exacting requirements.

Throughout this era, when manufacturing is completed for the day, the rabbis — a few of whom are within the plant always — seal the strains in tape with rabbinical symbols and fill out very particular types, Hanan mentioned. 

If tapes or seals are damaged, Hanan mentioned, the rabbis will know that the strains might have been cross-contaminated.

“They will not allow us to use it once more, after which we’d be required to undergo that very same kosherization once more,” he mentioned.

Hanan Merchandise, which commonly manufactures licensed kosher merchandise all year long, is used to having to make sure that substances are kosher all through the provision chain. Hanan mentioned the palm kernel oil provider additionally has on-site rabbis who guarantee kosher for Passover requirements are adopted in its facility.

“They supervise the loading of the cargo tanks, the vehicles that ship the oil to us,” Hanan mentioned. “After which our rabbis, who’re right here who’re supervising our manufacturing, they […] supervise the cleansing of our tanks after which the unloading of the kosher for Passover oil into the tanks. They be certain our tanks are clear and as much as their requirements, as nicely.”

Hanan Merchandise is considered one of only a few whipped topping corporations that dedicates itself to creating kosher for Passover merchandise. Different producers of whipped toppings additionally make merchandise which can be positively not kosher for Passover, like French toast sticks or frozen shrimp, and so would wish to cease or modify these strains for a time period to serve the market.

“All people is aware of it is positively a ache with a purpose to do it. However the advantages are there. I can not deny that,” Hanan mentioned. 

Rabbis focus on the kosherization course of at Hanan Merchandise.

Permission granted by Hanan Merchandise


This 12 months, Hanan Merchandise made about 250,000 kilos of kosher for Passover gadgets. It is too early to take a position on gross sales figures, Hanan mentioned, however the firm sees gross sales progress within the single digits on this line yearly.

As soon as the kosher for Passover manufacturing interval is over, Hanan mentioned the corporate principally rips off the particular rabbinical sealed tape and goes again to enterprise as normal. If something, kosher for Passover manufacturing requires extra stringent cleansing and pasteurizing, so there’s nothing that it must do within the manufacturing facility to return to regular. Hanan mentioned it’s type of unusual to simply shift again — as a result of there’s not that a lot of a distinction from enterprise as normal — although the corporate often has to begin working laborious instantly to catch as much as manufacturing demand for Valentine’s Day.

As a result of Hanan Merchandise does numerous manufacturing for wholesale and bakeries, Hanan mentioned that he doesn’t at all times see the corporate’s merchandise on cabinets. However round this time of 12 months, he can make sure that the kosher for Passover whipped toppings on the firm’s clients got here from Hanan Merchandise.

“I stroll into any grocery store, and I can go within the frozen part and have a look at the merchandise that we made. And it is actually the one time of 12 months that we are able to do it,” he mentioned.

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