August 20, 2018

Growing Kosher Industry Demands More Mashgichim

Chicago…A growing concern for kashrus officials is the constant supply of mashgichim (kosher supervisors) in the rapidly expanding kosher food industry. Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, Kashrus Administrator of the Chicago Rabbinical Council and Executive Director of the Association of Kashrus Organizations (AKO) says that the need is particularly acute in local kosher establishments where the pay scale is lower and where turnover is widespread. Many of the larger kashrus organizations sponsor regular training sessions for would be mashgichim.  There were many such seminars by the Orthodox Union (OU) and Star-K, for example, this past summer. Increasingly, technology is a part of the training as many local establishments use surveillance video cameras and other high tech tools to monitor operations even in catering kitchen. There are an estimated 1500 mashgichim in the US. In most cases, the mashgichim are paid by the local establishments with few exceptions. Many of the participants in the seminars are exploring whether to enter the field while others are determined to make a career out of hashgacha, using a position in a local establishment as a stepping stone to a more lucrative supervisory position. With an increasing number of restaurants, caterers, and other such establishments, the demand for mashgichim rises.