Magen Tzedek Certification Offers Ethical Assurance

After 3 years of development with SAI & SAAS, the Magen Tzedek Certification program is 'open for business'

Description: The Magen Tzedek 'seal of justice' certification

The Magen Tzedek 'Shield of Justice' certification seal

In 2008, a commission was formed by prominent leaders of Conservative Judaism to develop a set of ethical standards to certify kosher food manufacturers in the US. After three years, the Magen Tzedek Certification program is officially "open for business."

Since the beginning, SAI and SAAS partnered with the Magen Tzedek Commission to leverage expertise in building socially responsible audit programs. SAAS and SAI worked with the commission to develop policies and procedures needed for sustainable implementation of the Magen Tzedek standards. The team also worked to design and implement an effective system for verifying that practices are just and sustainable.

The cornerstone of the program  is the Magen Tzedek Standard, a proprietary set of requirements that meet or exceed  industry best practices for treatment of workers, animals, and the Earth; delineating the criteria a food manufacturer must meet to achieve certification. This 'Shield of Justice' certification seal is available only for products that already carry a traditional Hekhsher seal from an authorized kosher certification agency. It is not a replacement, but rather a complementary enhancement to a brand's reputation.

For kosher food manufacturers and processors interested in becoming certified, the program assures that their products are manufactured consistent with the Jewish tradition of justice and ethics. The complete Magen Tzedek Standard, initially posted on the Magen Tzedek website in 2009 for public comment, has been finalized and outlines the criteria for earning certification to the Magen Tzedek seal:

Magen Tzedek Standard -The complete and final standard governing compliance with the Magen Tzedek Seal of Justice.

Magen Tzedek Certification Application

  • Self-Study Form allows applicants the opportunity to gauge their degree of compliance with the requirements of the Magen Tzedek Certification Standard, prior to a formal application.
  • Pre-Screen Application Form identifies and collects relevant company information and practices for the formal audit process. This document must be completed and submitted to the Magen Tzedek Commission as the first step in the application process.
  • Certification Process Manual Prescribes the procedures, criteria and methodologies that an audit firm must follow in carrying out the assessment of an entity that applies for Magen Tzedek Certification. This document also informs kosher food manufacturers and processors on how the audit process will proceed.

The U.S. kosher food industry is important in the overall food industry. It is estimated that over 40% of packaged foods in America have a kosher mark. The Magen Tzedek certification 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.

February 2012