web analytics
September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Who’s Watching The Store? Self-Regulation In Kashrut

Front-Page-052413

By and large these consumers are right to place their faith in the kosher certification system. Regular, unannounced inspections of kosher food production facilities serve many purposes, not the least of which is a general increase in vigilance. Such vigilance not only prevents contamination that would render a product “non-kosher” but also serves to prevent the kinds of pest infestations that occur all too often when such vigilance is lax.

A famous advertising campaign proclaimed, “We answer to a higher authority.” Whereas federal regulations allow for a certain threshold of contamination in food – for example, fewer than two maggots per 500 grams of canned tomatoes – kosher certification allows for zero tolerance when it comes to any such contaminants.

When our authority is God, there is not the same “wiggle room” that exists in governmental regulation.

While Dr. Lytton praises the kosher certification process as a model for government inspectors, he also notes that kosher certification is not a substitute for federal regulation. He acknowledges that kosher requirements often overlap with food safety standards – kosher inspectors are trained in Jewish dietary law, food chemistry, and food technology – but they do not have the training or expertise to address bacterial contamination or safe food handling practices.

From Dr. Lytton’s perspective, the most valuable contribution kosher certification offers to food safety might be a model of reliable private certification. The key to this, he suggests, is to yoke market demand for certification with the kind of competitive pressures that minimize corner cutting – that is, utilize the kosher certification model.

In an opinion piece he wrote for Food Safety News titled “Kosher Certification: A Model for Improving Private Food Safety Audits,” Dr. Lytton listed a number of features of the kosher certification system that make it so successful:

1. Sufficient consumer demand. As we have noted, the kosher food market is significant. In order to succeed in this market, companies are willing to allow kosher inspectors into their facilities.

2. A core of vigilant and active consumers. Ultimately, it is the consumers who hold producers’ “feet to the fire.”

3. Brand competition based on reliability among kosher certifiers vying for food company clients counteracts incentives to cut corners.

4. Interdependence among certifiers creates incentives for interagency oversight.

5. Concentration of market power in the hands of a few large certifiers. This simplifies the development and enforcement of industry-wide standards.

6. Certification agency personnel are motivated by a shared sense of mission that counteracts conflicts of interest and promotes cooperation even between competing certifiers. No one should ever doubt that the kosher certification is a business, a highly competitive business. But it is not just a business. For the rabbis who staff certification agencies, it is a sacred trust.

I can speak directly to that final point.

Geared with a divine mission, those of us who work in the kosher certification world dare not fail or err. We approach our task with yiras shomayim. Our awe of Heaven touches every attitude, decision, response and approach relating to the certification process.

At OU, the world’s largest and most renowned kosher certification agency, kashrut personnel agonize over each and every detail, nuance, and implication of kosher law as it pertains to each specific food product and producer. Only then, with knowledge, humility, and faith, is a decision made and a p’sak issued about how exactly to evaluate a specific ingredient, or kasher a particular piece of equipment.

Or perhaps a plant has erred and so a new evaluation and rekashering is required. Such issues are part of the daily kashrut agenda at every certification agency. Each issue, each product, each decision is confronted with a genuine sense of fear and trembling. Not only do we answer to a Higher Authority but countless consumers rely on our correct decisions in their own pious observance.

So weighty is our responsibility that it is extremely rare for any of the OU kashrut personnel to render a decision without consulting colleagues who match them in years of learning, training, expertise and erudition.

In many cases, they will seek out the invaluable scholarship and world-renowned expertise of OU’s senior halachic consultants Rabbi Yisroel Belsky and Rabbi Hershel Schachter. In these situations they will render the final p’sak, particularly when the question is new or novel. In all instances, the decisions are posted on OU Kosher’s halachic database for future reference and study.

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at e1948s@aol.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Who’s Watching The Store? Self-Regulation In Kashrut”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Sen. Ted Cruz acts senate for unanimous consent to pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act. Sept. 18, 2014.
Ds Reject Voting to Strip Citizenship From US Jihadi ISIS Volunteers
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF lone soldier and  David Menachem Gordon (z"l).

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

Starck-091914

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

Kohn-091914

Strategy? For the longest time Obama couldn’t be bothered to have one against a sworn enemy.

Miller-091914

Seventeen visual skills are needed for success in school, sports, and everyday life.

We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.

Fear alone is substantial; without fusing it to beauty, fear doesn’t reach its highest potential.

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

A little less than 10 percent of eligible Democratic voters came out on primary day, which translates into Mr. Cuomo having received the support of 6.2 percent of registered Democrats.

The reality, though, is that the Israeli “war crimes” scenario will likely be played out among highly partisan UN agencies, NGOs, and perhaps even the International Criminal Court.

Peace or the lack of it between Israel and the Palestinians matters not one whit when it comes to the long-term agenda of ISIS and other Islamists, nor does it affect any of the long-running inter-Arab conflicts and wars.

Rather than serving as a deterrent against terrorist attacks, Israel’s military strength and capabilities are instead looked at as an unfair advantage in the asymmetrical war in which it finds itself.

Sisi:”The religious nature of the Middle East creates challenges for the governing authorities.”

More Articles from Rabbi Eliyahu Safran
Eisenstock-082914

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

What defines kana’ut these days? Throwing rocks at passing cars on Shabbos? Burning an Israeli flag on Yom Ha’Atzmaut?

One who may leave his wife an agunah is not included in the general rule that we may not imprison on Shabbos.

“Fulfill my requests for good, grant my request, be mindful of us for deliverance and compassion…remember us for a good, long life…give us bread to eat, clothes to wear…”

Too often, as parents and teachers, we think it means talking at our children, delivering to them good and worthy content that they should simply hear and assimilate into their minds and hearts.

I was singing, dancing, jumping and, sweating. Just joy and happiness. One child on my shoulders after another. What happiness! And then, the little boy on my shoulders – he could not have been older than six – began to cry.

The only way for children to find a way back to the path is through parental love and understanding.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/whos-watching-the-store-self-regulation-in-kashrut/2013/05/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: