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There are many hechsheirim in today's world, but unfortunately, not everyone considers all of them to be on par with their standards. Nonetheless, I am assuming (and you may correct me if I'm wrong) that certain certifications are stringent enough to be considered acceptable by all.

What are examples of such certifying agencies?

(this has practical relevance for buying someone a gift, if you know they are stringent, but don't want to ask which certifications they accept)

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Re "certain certifications are stringent enough to be considered acceptable by all": Note that stringency is not the only deciding factor; for example, there's a ban on Lubavitchers' using anything certified (only) by the CRC: it may have very stringent views, but they consider it unreliable because ‎— in their view ‎— it could not control its community's members. Or so is my understanding. (Note: not the cRc.) –  msh210 Oct 24 '11 at 7:02
    
What @msh210 said. A lot of the differences between Kashruyot (at least in Israel, though I hear the same of US/UK) has more to do with politics (and, perhaps, "business"), than with halachic stringencies. –  AviD Oct 24 '11 at 9:04
    
There are also several issues with conflicting stringencies, so it would anyway be impossible to get two opposing groups to agree on the halacha. For example, shmitta products - there are those who ban Jewish product, and there are those who ban product of land "sold" to gentiles. –  AviD Oct 24 '11 at 9:08
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@Dave, R' David Feinstein, the son of R' R'uven Feinstein (not R' R'uven's brother R' David), told me this years ago IIRC: "Every chumra is a kula." In your example of not accepting his grandfather's heter for American milk: I speak from experience in saying that that inconveniences your hosts when you're a guest: We've needed to kasher our oven so as not to serve stuff made in a dairy oven to my kid's classmate. It's not much of an inconvenience, but it is some, which is a kula, if you will, on the kid's part, in ben adam lachavero. –  msh210 Oct 24 '11 at 16:02
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@avi - you are referring to external "kulos" such as inconveniencing hosts and increasing economic pressure. This is not germane to the present discussion, which is focused on kashrus stringency. –  Dave Oct 24 '11 at 16:52

5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

"and you may correct me if I'm wrong"

You are wrong. No agency is universally accepted. Period.

(If you meant to ask for agencies that are widely accepted, just "not by all", then that is an entirely different question, and depends on many factors, most practically geography, as some of the other answers indicate)

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OU would be considered the largest hechsher, as they have a very wide influence; but I agree, there is no agency that is universally accepted. There are many people who will only accept a hechsher from their rabbi alone, for example. –  Barry Hammer Nov 28 '11 at 13:47

I know the following two Israeli hechsheirim are widely eaten:

  1. R' Yehuda Leib Landau's Hechsher
  2. The Bedatz Eida Hachareidis.

The following Chutz Laaretz Hechsherim are widely eaten:

  1. Montreal Va'ad Ha'ir
  2. Kedassia

This is just a small list. There obviously are many more.

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This is not accurate - the 2 Israeli ones are not allowed in many places. Though to be fair, you did say "widely eaten", and not universal... So I guess it is close enough. –  AviD Oct 24 '11 at 9:06
    
Chicago's cRc allows "chalav stam" dairy products; I wouldn't consider it more broadly-accepted than OU. –  Shalom Oct 24 '11 at 13:21
    
@Shalom, the OU allows them also. –  msh210 Oct 24 '11 at 16:03
    
@msh210; exactly. I figured the question was asking for something pickier than the "baseline" OU; cRc is usually considered pretty much on the same level as OU. –  Shalom Oct 24 '11 at 16:11
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@AviD who won't eat Eida haCharidis? –  Shmuel Brin Oct 24 '11 at 19:56

If you really want to cover as many bases as possible, it would be best to have a solid national hechsher (such as OU) plus one of the top-tier "heimishe" hechsheirim. A few that are very well-respected are the Volover Rav and his brother the Nirbatur Rav (in Brooklyn), and Rav Westheim (in England). The Badatz Eida HaChareidis in EY is also very widely recognized and accepted.

Of course, it's impossible to make everyone happy, but this will get you pretty close.

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I happen to know many who don't eat OU. Or are you saying that the product should have both? –  yydl Oct 24 '11 at 3:39
    
Also keep in mind that some people are stringent regarding yoshon, so between Sukkos and Pesach (roughly) you should check the package label for indications about yoshon status. Anything made in EY (with reliable hechsher) is automatically yoshon. I think Rav Westheim likewise gives supervision only to products that are yoshon. –  Dave Oct 24 '11 at 3:40
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There are also people who trust the OU more than the heimishe hechsherim (in certain respects), due to their technical expertise and greater experience. That's why having both is better. (I bolded the "plus" to make this clearer.) –  Dave Oct 24 '11 at 3:45
    
The Badatz Eidah Hacharedit is widely recognized and accepted, but they are also meikil in selected issues where standard Israeli Rabbanut is machmir. Case in point: is roasting sesame seeds by non-Jews considered bishul Akum? Rabbanut says yes, Badatz says no. There is a general "Rabbanut Artzit" that accepts any major kashrut organization, so you can verify this in Israeli supermarkets: pure ground tehina will often have only Badatz and general hashgacha, not local Rabbanut. –  JXG Oct 25 '11 at 12:52

I've heard of people in Israel who've insisted on everything being under "Rabbi Rubin's hechsher." Afraid I don't know a lot more about that.

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As I mentioned in a comment above, this is most often a political/business statement. There are just as many competing insistances on "everything only R'Machfoud" or "it has to be R'Landau" etc. –  AviD Oct 24 '11 at 20:25

The Chicago CRC gives out a card and has a website of Hechsherim they accept. Although this list includes Hechsherim that accept Cholov Stam and other Kulos, it is a good place to start.

http://www.crcweb.org/agency_list.php

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The question was about universally (or close to universally) acceptable hechsherim. The cRc list does not pretend to be anything other than what they personally deem acceptable. הגע בעצמך -- how many on that list would be acceptable to a Boro Park chossid, or a Yerushalmi? –  Dave Oct 24 '11 at 14:50
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Many Rabbonim rely on the Chicago CRC list, and deem acceptable whatever they accept. –  Gershon Gold Oct 24 '11 at 20:14

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