MSP Kosher maintains strict standards for the businesses and products that it certifies as kosher. Irrespective of the hashkafah or personal practice of any of the rabbis involved, the standards in place for the establishments and products supervised ensure that those who observe the laws of Kashrut will feel comfortable eating in the establishment or consuming the product. All details concerning the kosher certification of each business are outlined in the specific teudah (kosher certification letter). These letters are available on this website. Any questions about the kosher status of an MSP Kosher business should be directed to MSP Kosher’s Director of Supervision, Rabbi Avi S. Olitzky.
Dairy and Meat
Though MSP Kosher hopes to expand to supervision of full-service meat restaurants, with the exception of the Kosher Hot Dog Stand at Target Field, the restaurants / foodstuff for which MSP Kosher provides regular supervision are: Dairy, Pareve or Pareve made on Dairy Equipment. View hekhsherim »
Although the standard of supervision is detailed in each business description on this website, most establishments are under yotze v’nikhnas (unannounced spot checks) hashgachah. The frequency of the supervisory visits is based on the nature of the business. Much like the visit to a kitchen by a health inspector, the kosher supervisor is seeking to ensure that the agreed standard of practice is maintained. Moreover, the kosher supervisor ensures that no new ingredients have been introduced that were not previously approved for usage—as such, the standard remains constant. On the visit, the kosher supervisor also checks all vegetable products to ensure that proper washing has taken place and that there are no bug infestations. Each establishment signs on to an agreement with MSP Kosher, recognizing that should there be any contravention of the agreed upon policies and terms, MSP Kosher accepts that as a desire to terminate the supervision relationship.
All ingredients used in food production at establishments under MSP Kosher’s certification must be approved by the Director of Supervision and bear an approved kosher symbol (hekhsher). No new ingredients or products may be introduced without prior approval from the Director. Though there are some who are of the opinion that USDA-approved cheeses made in the U.S. and free of animal rennet may be permitted for consumption by the Kosher observant, patrons of MSP Kosher-supervised establishments can rest assured that these cheeses do not find their way into the products served at these establishments, nor do unsupervised wines and vinegars.
Display of Certification Letter
A prominently displayed, framed letter signed by the Director of Supervision must hang in each establishment under the supervision of MSP Kosher. Each letter is dated and an expiration date is clearly stated at the bottom of the letter. Each year, the certification may be renewed upon a thorough review. Should ownership of the business be transferred, the kosher certification is rendered immediately void. Additionally, some establishments may choose to post their signed Haskamat Kashrut complementing their Teudat Kashrut.
Sabbath and Jewish Holidays
In businesses owned by a Jewish individual (or individuals), it is forbidden for the business to operate on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays without a Sabbath lease agreement. This is based on Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chayyim Siman 243. MSP Kosher utilizes an adaptation of the Sabbath lease agreement produced by Judge Norman M. Krivosha (1995) and approved by Rabbi Joel Roth and the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the International Rabbinical Assembly. Should an establishment enter into a Sabbath lease agreement, the agreement is kept on file with MSP Kosher and are also readily viewable on this website.
The Kashering Process
Before an establishment may be certified kosher, MSP Kosher kashers the kitchen and production area(s). This includes a thorough cleaning of the kitchen and the necessary applications as directed by Jewish law (boiling at specific temperatures, heating ovens, firing, ritual immersion of vessels, etc.). Once the kashering process has been completed, another inspection takes place before granting the kosher certification. Additionally, should a business also produce non-kosher foodstuffs, standards are maintained so that the non-kosher utensils and process are kept explicitly separate, implementing secondary and tertiary measures of separation to ensure the highest standard of Kashrut.
Before an establishment may be certified kosher, MSP Kosher conducts an educational meeting with the owners and all full-time and part-time employees to educate them on the kosher laws. It will be explained that no outside food may be brought into the establishment (with the exception of a designated employee lunch room if approved by MSP Kosher). MSP Kosher also meets with new employees to educate them as well.