OU is celebrating its one hundredth anniversary of kosher certification this week, having begun in 1923.

OU Kosher CEO Rabbi Menachem Genack and OU Kosher COO Rabbi Moshe Elefant tell Israel National News about the amazing success of the organization in the United States and internationally.

"It’s just incredible. When the OU began in 1923 food was changing in America and in the world, where until then people basically were preparing food at home, you bought the ingredients and you made the food at home, and now food is being prepared in factories all around the world and being shipped all around the world and the OU with its international reach certifies thousands of factories, thousands of companies in 105 countries around the world and in every [state in the] United States,” Elefant says. “The world is extremely small [in this era], and we in the world of kosher feel so much is happening and we're there at the forefront.”

Genack emphasizes that “100 years represents a major milestone.”

“But the OU has grown over the the last several decades,” he says. “It is now by far the largest kosher agency in the world and represents about 70 percent in the United States of of kosher certifications.”

Elefant explains that the longevity and power of the OU has resulted from its emphasis on staying out of politics.

“In the United States that's been the power of the OU,” he says. “We only have one thing that we think about: Is it kosher or is it not kosher? And the fact that we don't let politics and ideology and all of that get involved with us have made us so powerful.”

Genack adds that the OU is also a nonprofit organization.

“Aside from the expertise that we have within our office and the growth, it is also that it’s a completely nonprofit organization and all the money, which is not an insignificant number, it goes into different programs in the United States and in Israel.”

Elefant describes the OU as a “communal organization, not a private business.”

“There is no one individual or individuals who are profiting from the OU. Everything is done for the community and therefore our decisions are just on what's right,” he says.

Speaking about Coca-Cola, which they certify, and its secret formula, Genack explains that every OU mashgiach (kosher certification supervisor) knows that confidentiality is essential in everything they do.

“The one that we have the most rigorous confidential requirements is at Coca-Cola with its secret formula and how we initially were able to give the supervision that itself is a secret,” he says.

Elefant adds that there are many other companies they certify whose only connection to Jews is OU.

“Kosher is hot,” he notes. “Many companies and many consumers are looking for kosher so the manufacturers of the raw materials need to be kosher so they can sell product and sell ingredients to companies that are making kosher product and a lot of people are looking for kosher and it can make the difference of being a little more profitable.”

When asked about OU's vision for the next hundred years, Elefant replies: “Keeping up and maintaining what we’re doing and growing. The way we are continuously growing is more than enough of a challenge.”