Just like the government has health inspectors who visit restaurants to ensure compliance with the government’s health and safety standards, in simple terms, a mashgiach or a kosher supervisor, ensures that an establishment, caterer or event is in compliance with kosher standards.
COR certified kosher caterers typically cook in their own kitchens (called commissaries) where they have an onsite mashgiach who ensures that kosher standards are being complied with. But what happens when a caterer delivers food to an offsite event venue, such as a hotel a museum or even a dinner party in someone’s home? If the event organizer has requested that this be a “supervised event” it means that a COR mashgiach will be present at the event and will for example, be responsible for making sure that the kosher food is not reheated with non-kosher equipment, served on non-kosher dishes, or that no non-kosher beverages or food are brought into the event. At “supervised events” COR certificates signage will be placed at the entrance of the event so guests will know that the event is under COR supervision. If there is no mashgiach present however, there is no one overseeing the event’s kosher program. As a result, there could be a number of problems with the event’s kosher status including the fact that non-kosher dishes may have been used, that the food may have been reheated with non-kosher equipment, that fruits and vegetables may not have been cleaned properly to remove inspects, that food may have been cooked without the required Jewish involvement (bishul yisrael), or that non-kosher food or beverages may also be present at the event. This is what we call an “unsupervised event.”
In order to verify that you are attending a supervised event, look for the COR certificates at the entrance of the event. Alternatively, you can check in advance by contacting the COR office at 416 635-9550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An easy way to remember the difference is the following adage, “un-supervised could be un-kosher.”