Monday, January 20, 2020

In a statement emailed to Jewish Link and JNS staff last week, Bimbo Bakeries USA announced that products under the Arnold, Sara Lee and Ball Park brands will again be produced under kosher certification.

“As three of our largest brands, many of which are distributed nationally, Bimbo Bakeries USA is confident that kosher consumers will be able to find the products they are looking for to enjoy themselves and with their families. We’d like to thank both the Orthodox Union and KOF-K for their guidance as we reviewed our options,” they wrote.

The company rescinded its 2017 plan to end certification after discussions over the last several weeks with the Orthodox Union and KOF-K, responding to a recent public outcry from a geographically diverse group of kosher consumers, hundreds of whom contacted the company to register their concern earlier in the month. While the plans to drop certification from a number of products had been made public some 20 months prior, many kosher-keeping consumers had only recently begun to notice the certifications being dropped from favorite brands in places like Memphis, South Carolina, Denver and Northern California. Kosher brands of breads and buns in such places became all but impossible to find. The company, at that time, told The Jewish Link and JNS that it would be dropping certification from all its brands.

Bimbo Bakeries USA is a subsidiary of Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo, which is one of the world’s largest baked-goods businesses with America’s largest privately labeled bread-baking services. In addition to Arnold, Sara Lee and Ball Park, it owns close to a dozen other bread and baked-goods lines, including Entenmann’s and Thomas’s iconic English muffin line.

Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kashrus, applauded the move. “We are very pleased by Bimbo’s decision to continue a line of Arnold’s pareve bread,” he said. “It is of enormous importance to our community,” he told The Jewish Link.