Magen Tzedek Certification Program is Officially “Open for Business”

Posted on March 19, 2012

First-Ever Ethical Seal for Kosher Food Invites Applications from Kosher Food Manufacturers and Processors


Harvey Popolow


Manufacturers of kosher foods can now show that their products meet or exceed industry best practices in the ethical treatment of workers, animals and the earth because the much anticipated Magen Tzedek Certification program is now officially “open for business”. The cornerstone of the program, unveiled by Rabbi Morris Allen of Beth Jacob Congregation in Mendota Heights Minnesota and a founder of the Magen Tzedek Commission, is the Magen Tzedek Standard, a proprietary set of principles that details the criteria a food manufacturer must meet to achieve certification.

Upon successful certification, the Magen Tzedek Commission will award its Shield of Justice seal which can be displayed on food packaging.

“The Magen Tzedek, is an opportunity to combine the Jewish tradition of kashrut with the universal ideals of social justice,” said Rabbi Allen. “Observers of the kosher food industry are watching avidly to see which food product will carry the distinction.” Named by Newsweek as one of America’s most influential rabbis, Rabbi Allen shares the leadership of the venture with Rabbi Michael Siegel of Chicago, also named a top influential rabbi by the magazine. Through their efforts, Magen Tzedek is being promoted to over 500 synagogues and millions of constituents.

The mission of the Magen Tzedek Commission is to bring the Jewish commitment to ethics and social justice directly into the marketplace. The Commission’s seal of approval will help assure consumers that kosher food products were produced in keeping with the highest possible Jewish ethical values and ideals for social justice in the area of labor concerns, animal welfare, environmental impact, consumer issues and corporate integrity. Shortly after the announcement, the Commission received phone calls from workers in kosher food plants requesting their work facilities be audited for compliance with Magen Tzedek’s standards.

The Magen Tzedek seal is available only for products that currently carry a traditional hekhsher seal from an authorized kosher certification agency. As such, it is not intended as a replacement for a hekhsher, but rather a complementary enhancement to a brand’s reputation. The Magen Tzedek seal can be placed on a wide range of grocery products including meat/poultry, dairy, dry grocery, canned/bottled goods, refrigerated/frozen products and baked goods.

Magen Tzedek is a sign of the times, appearing on the market as an ever-increasing number of mainstream as well as specialty producers are adding socially responsible practices to help differentiate their brands in the marketplace… with measurable results. “Magen Tzedek synthesizes the aspirations of a burgeoning international movement for sustainable, responsible consumption and promotes increased sensitivity to the vast and complex web of global relationships that bring food to our tables,” said Rabbi Siegel of Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago.

“We encourage food manufacturers to learn more about Magen Tzedek certification, and to participate in the proprietary auditable standards system developed and operated by Social Accountability Accreditation Services, a global leader in marketplace standards”, said Harvey Popolow, executive director of Magen Tzedek. “This is a unique opportunity that adds a new dimension to complement your current kosher certifications”.

Visit the Magen Tzedek website for information about the certification process and to download application forms. Contact to reach a member of the Commission.

The Commission functions as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation as of January 31, 2011 and operates under IRS 501(c)3 status as the Magen Tzedek Commission NFP. Seed funding provided by the Nathan Cummings Foundation.