Loaves of bread of Mexican breadmaker Grupo Bimbo are pictured at a convenience store in Monterrey, Mexico, August 6, 2018.
(photo credit: DANIEL BECERRIL/REUTERS)
The largest baking company in the United States is once again selling kosher-certified bread products.
Bimbo Bakeries USA announced this week that it will reverse a November decision to remove kosher certification from almost all of its bread products, a decision that created an uproar among kosher-abiding consumers.
Bimbo Bakeries USA, a subsidiary of Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo, entered the US bread market in 1997, and currently owns almost all of the baking brands in the US. They produce many well-known brands, including Sara Lee, Entenmann’s, Thomas and Freihofer’s.
“After hearing from our loyal kosher consumers and after productive meetings with our kosher certifiers, Bimbo Bakeries USA is pleased to announce that we will once again be offering kosher products under the Arnold, Sara Lee and Ball Park brands,” the company announced.
“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,” they added. “We’d like to thank both the Orthodox Union and KOF-K for their guidance as we reviewed our options.”
The original decision to remove kosher certification was based on business concerns, Rabbi Daniel Senter, administrator for the KOF-K kosher agency, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Senter explained that bakery businesses have conglomerated in the US, and multiple items are produced under multiple labels in various factories. Kosher certification restricts which baked goods can be produced in which factories and could hamper efficient business operations.
“Removing the kosher certification from some of our products was strictly a business-process decision to enable more efficient operations, and it was one we did not make lightly,” Bimbo said in a statement at the time. “Thomas’ and Entenmann’s products as well as Arnold’s and Levy’s Rye Breads will remain kosher-certified. It is important to note that we have heard our consumers’ concerns and are working with kosher certification organizations and discussing alternative solutions.”
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