What was the first product to receive Kosher certification?

  • 12
    I do believe that was the 'all the fruit of the garden ^tm', certified by HKBH :)
    – avi
    Sep 3 '11 at 20:52
  • @avi My father-in-law is fond of the following joke: a charedi man dies and goes up to Gan Eden and sees lots of people sitting around a table eating a delicious meal. The waiter comes up to the man and asks what he wants. The man asks the waiter, "Who certifies the kashrus here?" The waiter replies, "This is Gan Eden! The food is certified 100% kosher by Hashem!" The man replies, "Thanks. I'll just have a glass of water."
    – Daniel
    Jul 6 '15 at 23:05
  • Vote to move to History.stackexchange?
    – mevaqesh
    Oct 22 '15 at 14:39
  • @mevaqesh, it's very much on-topic here. I recommend judaism.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic
    – msh210
    Oct 22 '15 at 14:43
  • There is a medrash that hashem will serve the tzadikim the meat of the "behemot" anf the fish livyason. Why both? For those who do not eat of Hashem's shechita. Dec 7 '15 at 18:01

The Gemara (Bab. Shabbath 21a) tells us that this practice, on some level, dates way back at least to the time of the Ḥashmonaim. the Kohanim would light the Menorah in the Beith HaMikdash using oil in sealed containers bearing an official seal that, unless tampered with, marked that the oil was pure and usable for the Menorah.


Modern-day kashrus certification hasn't been around for that long. The honors for "first to be certified" under the current system would seem to belong to Heinz Vegetarian Beans, which in 1923 became the first product to carry the OU symbol. The OU is the oldest certifying agency.

  • 2
    OU is not the oldest certifying agency. Shochtim-uvodkim put symbols in meat to show they had checked it.
    – msh210
    Oct 10 '10 at 5:19
  • 1
    I don't think they operated as a separate agency. The symbols used by the shochtim were more like an anti-fraud sticker.
    – Dave
    Oct 10 '10 at 13:36
  • 2
    Kosher Nation corroborates your claim around p. 50.
    – WAF
    Sep 4 '11 at 16:50

I believe there was a proto-OU organization that certified Sunbeam crackers. There's an ad for them in Yiddish with celebrity endorsement by -- Yossele Rosenblatt! (See link -- the Rosenblatt ad was with OU, but I recall hearing that Sunbeam hechsher predates the OU. The PDF was too fuzzy to read the ad's text.)

There's also Rabbi Tobias Geffen's famous responsum on Coca-Cola, which involved some reformulating to make it kosher. But that was an individual rabbi not an organization?

There have been products with hechsher in the past, but not as formalized as today. In the late 1700s the Chayei Adam writes that the two ports of arrival for sugar in Europe were Hamburg and Amsterdam -- a mashgiach would meet the boat and seal some packages of sugar, "kosher for Passover" -- as the sugar you'd usually buy in Europe may have been adulterated with flour.

  • 1
    Rabbi Gefen's certification of Coca-Cola was in the 1930's, way after the OU's certification of Heinz.
    – Dave
    Oct 10 '10 at 13:39

There is some evidence that the Jewish population of Rome had Kosher supervision 2,000 years ago. See this article: The Garum Debate: Was There a Kosher Roman Delicacy at Pompeii?


Using the principle of עד אחד נאמן באסורין, I suppose it's the first food served by a Jew to another.


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