By: Rabbi Tsvi Heber, Director of Community Kosher
In recent years, the Greater Toronto Area’s kosher community has experienced unprecedented growth so it is not surprising that COR now provides kosher supervision for more than 160 food service locations. These include restaurants and take-outs, caterers’ commissaries, bakeries, supermarkets, retail stores, synagogues, banquet halls, summer camps, Jewish institutions, hospitals, and retirement/nursing homes. In order to serve the needs of our kosher consumers at the high community standards which they seek, COR has designed a 3-tier supervision regime represented in the chart below.
The mashgiach (kosher supervisor) is directly responsible to ensure execution of COR's kashrut policies at his or her respective establishment. Mashgichim are supervised by one of our two esteemed Senior Mashgichim, who conduct regular independent audits at each of their assigned establishments. Finally, as Director of Community Kosher operations, I closely monitor all mashgichim and their establishments through regular meetings with mashgichim, intense weekly meetings with the Senior Mashgichim and frequent on-site inspections to ensure that each respective food service establishment’s kosher program is operating efficiently.
This 3-tiered system of supervision ensures that every establishment under COR is reviewed by multiple people with different perspectives. It also facilitates constant communication between ranks, which generates accountability and enables the discovery of potential inconsistencies and deficiencies.
All COR events, supermarkets, hospitals, and summer camps are supervised by a full-time mashgiach temidi (constant/or full time supervisor). Caterers' commissaries, retirement/nursing homes, and select restaurants that have opted for a higher level of supervision are supervised by a full-time working mashgiach. A working mashgiach has a dual responsibility. First and foremost, he is a COR trained kosher supervisor on-site. Second, he is employed by the establishment as a kitchen manager, chef, or as extra kitchen help for in-kitchen tasks that are not janitorial.
Restaurants, bakeries, and retail stores are supervised on a yotze v’nichnas regimen (spot checks). COR employs 7 yotze v’nichnas mashgichim (spot check supervisors) supervising in 7 geographic regions throughout the GTA. A yotze v'nichnas mashgiach visits his establishments multiple times daily, sometimes for several hours. This geographically based system places the mashgiach in close proximity to his establishments so that he is always able to pop in at any time. Furthermore, the Senior Mashgiach provides an extra layer of supervision by conducting constant independent audits of the establishments.
Meat establishments that are supervised by a yotze v'nichnas mashgiach are further required to maintain an on-site Shomer Shabbos (Sabbath observant) “resident” who must work inside the establishment in a full-time capacity. The resident’s responsibility would typically include opening and closing the establishment and some are tasked with turning on cooking flames. The owner can act as the Shomer Shabbos resident if he meets the criteria.
Thankfully, the Greater Toronto kosher community is of a size that can sustain over 160 food service locations. And thanks to the COR supervision model, consumers can rest assured that COR is keeping it kosher.