July 7, 2021

Party Planners Must Adhere to Strict Kashrus Standards, AKO Mini Conference Concludes

Chicago…The caterer is known as a reliable kosher caterer; the event is held at a well-known venue and the party planner is known for doing an outstanding job in pulling it all together. Yet, say leading kashrus authorities, it is the party planners who frequently allow certain products to slip through the cracks, namely with questionable products and ingredients. This was the conclusion of a cross section of kashrus leaders at a Mini Conference sponsored by the Association of Kashrus Organizations (AKO) that deliberated on how to deal with non-certified Home Food Businesses, Party Planners, and Community/Shul Backyard Events. The session was led by Rabbi Hayim Arking, the Administrator of the Jersey Shore Orthodox Rabbinate. According to Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, Executive Director of AKO, “all the agencies agreed that the biggest undermining entity to kosher foodservice are “party planners”. They get away with things those under certification cannot do but they are able to hide behind the “we are not cooking anything”.

The rabbis agreed that the only way to remedy the situation is through education, primarily rabbis of communities. Rabbi Fishbane announced that AKO will be establishing a sub-committee to put together educational materials and practical solutions for rabbis and their communities.