kosher tank and truck washes

The kosher certifying industry has made great strides in the last several years. Companies have made efforts to transport kosher products, whether industrial products such as glycerin, or other food products. These kosher certifying companies transport these in kosher-approved tanker trucks. To this end, we now certify fleets of kosher dedicated tankers and kosher tank wash stations throughout the country. We send mashgichim to audit truck depots to monitor that dedicated trucks are only carrying kosher commodities (even on their backhaul). We also make efforts to ensure that companies use a kosher maintenance wash to clean them.

What Is A Kosher Tank Wash?

A kosher maintenance wash is a washing that will maintain the kosher status of an already kosher truck. It is not a kashering. After a truck delivers a load, the company must wash and sanitize it. Then the company can load new products. A kosher wash must meet certain kosher cleaning requirements. For example, it does not use non-kosher recycled water. It is the responsibility of the Mashgiach who visits the trucking depot to make sure that dedicated kosher tankers are only receiving a kosher maintenance wash. A mashgiach, shipping or receiving the product at a plant, only needs to verify that the tanker has a kosher certification. They do not need to verify that the truck had a kosher wash. The OU as well as other kosher certifying organizations have created a network of kosher maintenance wash stations. A certified wash facility such as this is available to service fleets across the country.

If a tanker is not part of a certified fleet it is sometimes permitted to transport kosher commodities. If the tanker recently underwent a kosher upgrade wash, it is eligible. The mashgiach must obtain a kosher upgrade wash ticket before loading the product. A kosher upgrade wash is a prolonged washing with roschim water. The kashering is in the presence of a mashgiach so they can ensure it is a sufficient kashering.

What is the Difference Between a Kosher Maintenance Wash and a Kashering?

One should not confuse a kosher maintenance wash with a kosher upgrade wash. While an upgraded wash is a kashering, a tank cleaning with a certified wash just preserves the status quo. It is common for companies and truckers to think that they can load a non-certified truck because they have paperwork showing that it had received a kosher maintenance wash. I recently spoke with the operator of a truck wash facility who had difficulty understanding this difference. It is important that this distinction be understood.

It is incumbent upon the mashgiach who visits a location that receives bulk tanker transports to review the bills of lading of all the products that arrived since his last visit. This allows them to ensure that the truck that delivered the product was from an approved fleet.  Similarly, a mashgiach that visits a plant that dispatches products in tanker trucks should make sure that these tankers have kosher certification.

What Should a Mashgiach Do if He Finds That a Tanker Was Not Certified?

Non-Heated Kosher Products

If the kosher commodity was non-heated, then the product will always be permissible bidieved. This is because kevisha only takes place after 24 hours. At that point, the tank will always be nosain ta’am lifgam. While this does not permit the lichatchila use of such tankers nonetheless the kosher product integrity remains kosher. Since the product was already sent, we may accept the product.

Heated Kosher Products

If the kosher commodity was a heated product or was a davar charif (alcohol, vinegar…) that can rejuvenate old bliahs (mechalya lay lishvach), then we have a more significant issue. We have found that tanker trucks in America typically carry loads that are more than 60 times the dimensions of the walls of the tank. In general, American 6000-gallon liquid tankers that are more than 75% full will meet this criterion. If the company loaded a heated commodity when the tanker was an aino ben yomo then it is a different scenario. The company can accept the product bidieved. However, if the product was a davar charif that was kavush in the tank for 24 hours and there was no bitul b’shishim then the company should contact the office immediately. It’s important to stress that commodities transported under kosher supervision should always be on kosher dedicated trailers only.

Uncertified companies often produce group one products. Therefore, it is beyond our control to ensure that they are sent on certified trailers. As noted above this situation is acceptable for products sent at ambient temperature. However, the certifying Rabbi should evaluate the transport of heated group one products. They can ensure that the criteria above are being met (e.g. that the tankers are sent full or do not carry non-kosher products).

Industrial Kosher

Transportation issues are by nature complex, as they involve many variables. The scope of Kosher Law cannot be adequately captured on one page. Industrial Kosher offers services for many businesses in Texas and across the South. This includes those in the chemical, manufacturing, transportation, and food service industries. Industrial Kosher offers teams of people who understand the in-depth, technical aspects of Kosher Laws and can help businesses navigate them. From the production of food-grade lubricants, storage, and shipment for a wide variety of products, Industrial Kosher is helping businesses find cost-efficient kosher solutions. They also work hard to maintain the environment the company is working in. Industrial Kosher prides itself on being able to address the unique needs of every company. If you’re looking for more information on kosher certification in an industrial field, contact us today to learn more.

Reprinted some information from the OU website.