Consumer Kosher

Hydroponics and Greenhouses

August 20, 2008

One of the greatest challenges in kashrus for Rabanim Hamachshirim today is protecting consumers from tolaim. One method that has become popular, especially in Eretz Yisroel, is to grow vegetables in greenhouses. Also known as glasshouses or hothouses, their objective is to provide a pest-free environment. Farmers working in conjunction with Rabbanim Hamachshirim have successfully perfected this method, which has proven to be an invaluable tool in the fight against tolaim in produce.

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Transitioning Traditional Kosher Brands to the Mainstream

July 29, 2008

Last year more than 3,200 new foods products were certified kosher, according to a report by the Mintel International Group, a consumer, media and market research firm. Today’s kosher consumer looks for and finds wasabi horseradish sauce, frozen wraps and whole grain noodles on supermarket shelves.

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Kashruth Issues of Toothpaste

July 7, 2008

No household is complete without a basic toiletry, toothpaste. Although the use of modern forms of toothpaste became widespread by the early 20th century, tooth applications in crude forms have…

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Styrofoam Cups and Aluminum Foil

June 20, 2008

Over the past several decades the kosher industry has grown considerably. Food companies recognizing the profitability of the kosher market have pursued kosher certification in an effort to increase marketability and sales of their products. What has been especially remarkable is that the pursuit of kosher certification has not stopped with food. It is not unusual to find nowadays a hechsher on non-food items. Are there really any viable kashrus concerns with something that is inedible? This article will focus on three popular household items, aluminum foil and pans, Styrofoam cups, and paper towels.

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Chometz Sheavar Alav HaPesach

June 20, 2008

Pesach is a period full of kashrus related halachos. During this unique time we observe various dietary restrictions, which are part of the holiday’s special “halachic diet”. However, kashrus issues associated with Pesach do not end with havdalah after the last day of yom tov. Chometz sheavar alav hapesach, a term that describes chometz that was possessed or controlled by a Jew during Pesach, is strictly forbidden after yom tov is over. This issue is unfortunately quite relevant, since many food manufacturers, distributors, and retail stores may have either full or partial Jewish ownership. In each of these sectors, unless the party or parties involved are shomrei Torah u’mitzvos, any chometz in their possession may very well be forbidden after Pesach.

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Mission Not Impossible: The Kosher Jew in a Non-Kosher Milieu

June 12, 2008

It is well-known that when Robert A. Heinlein entitled his most famous novel, “Stranger in a Strange Land,” he adopted a phrase from the book of Exodus. Very often, the kosher consumer feels like a stranger in a strange land. Whether it’s an executive in a hotel during a business trip, or a Ba’al Teshuvah in his parents’ home, kosher consumers must sometimes navigate their way in a nonkosher kitchen. The purpose of this presentation is to offer some points of guidance to those faced with such challenges.

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Does wine vinegar present a concern of stam yainam?

May 1, 2008

Recently a housemaker called the OU’s front desk, concerned that her non-Jewish help had just used kosher red wine vinegar to prepare a salad dressing. Is the dressing, and the…

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What You Need to Know When Passover Arrives on Saturday Night

March 25, 2008

Every year, Jews around the world anticipate hearing the pivotal four questions at their seder tables: this year they’ll be asking themselves a fifth one: Why is this Passover different from most others?

This year, Passover arrives immediately following Shabbat – a rare occurrence that creates unique circumstances, directly affecting the typical Passover preparations. (You may remember that this last occurred back in 2005. Take heart, it will not recur until 2021.) The key adjustments may sound daunting at first, but taken step by step, they are definitely doable.

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Chametz She’avar Alav Ha-Pesach

March 24, 2008

The general rule is that any chametz for which a Jew violated the Biblical prohibitions of Bal Yiraeh U’bal Yimatzei becomes forbidden forever as chametz she’avar alav ha-Pesach. This penalty applies whether the transgression was violated knowingly or unknowingly, and even if the Jew was completely unaware of the prohibitions of chametz or the Yom Tov of Pesach .

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Meet Me Sunday Night at 10 PM: The Production of Cholov Yisroel Ricotta Cheese

March 6, 2008

On Sunday evening, November 25th, I joined Dr. Simcha Katz, Chairman of the OU’s Joint Kashrus Commission, Rabbi Avrohom Juravel, head of OU Kashrus Technical Services, and a group of senior OU Kashrus staff for a special kashering and production at a well-established ricotta cheese company. The evening’s protocol was to kasher the cheese facility’s cholov stam equipment and to supervise an overnight production of cholov Yisroel ricotta for an OU-certified ‘heimishe’ manufacturer of upscale Italian specialty products.

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