Waynesboro, PA …It was described as one of the most important Vaadim conferences ever by a host of participants at the AKO (Association of Kashrus Organizations) Vaadim Conference that took place November 3 - 4th at the Capital Retreat Center, approximately one and a half hours from Baltimore. The Vaadim (or kashrus committees) have taken on added importance as so many of the local kashrus committees play a pivotal role in kashrus supervision and certification. Amongst the major topics of discussion was the issue of security. Rabbi Chaim Ribiat of the COR demonstrated how common locks can be picked or bypassed in less than a minute. This was very helpful for Vaadim in their effort to safely and halachically secure kitchens, a major concern for kashrus agencies. Kosher certifiers nowadays rely on a number of security measures to safeguard the integrity of kashrus. They include locks, “kosher tape,” video cameras, alarms, and other technological security measures. Also discussed was how to encourage whistleblowers by Rabbi Taub. Other topics included shemitah (Rabbi Usher Anshel Eckstein), and seals and packaging (Rabbi Moshe Heinemann). Rabbi Yaakov Vann presented tips on how to use the latest technology tools to help a mashgiach.One session was devoted to kashrus problems posed by party planners, led by Rabbi Moshe Berger and Rabbi Dov Schreier. A very engaging and important session was how the large agencies and small agencies can work together so that each one stays competitive. According to Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, the executive director of AKO, the Vaadim conference was in lieu of the annual conference held the day after Kosherfest.