Shailah of the Week by Rabbi Zvi Nussbaum
Rabbinic Coordinator, Kosher Hotline Administrator for the Orthodox Union
Some kosher dairy products under supervision by the OU are labeled OU-D, while others are labeled OU-D Cholov Yisrael. What’s the difference? To clarify, here are the nuances between the different certification statuses:
- Milk has Chalav Yisrael status when the milking and bottling is done under the supervision of a reliable Jewish person who ensures that the milk comes only from a kosher animal. The OU follows the opinion of Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, and others, that government inspection of dairies is equivalent to a mashgiach’s supervision, whereby the status of the milk from these dairies is halachically equivalent to that of Chalav Yisrael. (Read more about the kashrut requirement of Chalav Yisrael.)
- Not all poskim accept the position of Rav Moshe, and those who follow the more stringent opinion should only use OU products which are specifically labeled “OU-D Cholov Yisroel,” an indication that the milking and bottling were supervised by a mashgiach.
- People who follow the opinion of the Chatam Sofer or who are of chasidish background tend not to eat from non- Chalav Yisrael equipment. Others follow the more lenient opinion of Rav Henken, zt”l, who allowed food cooked on clean non- Chalav Yisrael (colloquially known as “chalav stam”) equipment. The OU advises consumers to ask their personal rabbis for guidance in this matter.
If uncertain about a particular certification status, feel free to call the OU Kosher office at 212-613-8241 or email: [email protected].