Consumer Kosher Articles

Retail Dairy Products: Whats, Hows and Whys

Previous installments in this series have investigated dairy foods from the perspective of the posek, mashgiach and kashrus administrator. We delved into halachic and highly-technical material, attempting to gain insight into the many complexities of dairy kashrus.

It’s Anchovy Time

For generations, shoppers used to greet the grocer with the same refrain, “What’s in season?” Season means little to today’s consumer, save for the difference in price. After all, modern technology can keep apples fresh until the next fall; tomatoes on demand in the winter; and who remembers clementines as a December treat anymore? Well […]

The Birds of the Bible, or, Solving the Mystery of Which of the Species are Kosher and Which are Not

In the books of Leviticus (Ch. 11) and Deuteronomy (Ch. 14), the Bible discusses the species of animals, fowl, and fish which are kosher and can therefore be consumed. The Bible identifies two characteristics through which kosher mammals can be identified: chewing the cud and having split hooves. The kosher species of fish are likewise […]

Hydroponics and Greenhouses

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.

Transitioning Traditional Kosher Brands to the Mainstream

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.

Kashruth Issues of Toothpaste

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 existed for hundreds of years. Today, toothpastes have come a long way and its manufacturing process is fairly sophisticated. Toothpastes, even the simplest kinds, contain […]

Styrofoam Cups and Aluminum Foil

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.

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

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.

Does Wine Vinegar Present a Concern of Stam Yeinam?

Recently a homemaker 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 red wine vinegar, still kosher? To put this question in other terms: is red wine vinegar, like non-mevushal wine, subject to the laws of מגע […]

Avoiding the Pesach Pounds

(Reprinted from the Spring 2008 issue of Jewish Action, the quarterly magazine of the Orthodox Union. To obtain a copy of Jewish Action or to subscribe, call 212-613-8137.)