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Food News


THIS SECTION IS FOR NEWS AND INTERESTING STORIES RELATED TO FOOD, NUTRITION AND FOOD PROCESSING. THEY ARE NOT NECESSARILY RELATED TO KOSHER BUT MAY BE OF INTEREST TO THE KOSHER CONSUMER, MANUFACTURER OR MASHGIACH.

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FYI - SUKKOS 5777

October 10, 2016: From the Star-K:

Please note that schach mats are certified by the Star-K only when the letter of certification is attached, and require placement according to the instructions in the letter. Click here to view letter.
Click here for information on the proper storage of schach to avoid infestation.

Please note that if you have an oven with Sabbath Mode, the Sabbath Mode features do not in any way circumvent the regular restrictions involved in food preparation on Shabbos Kodesh. The laws of Bishul, Havarah, Shehiyah and Chazarah must still be observed even when using a Sabbath Mode oven. See memo regarding oven use on Shabbos .


cRc Hadassim Alert Click here.


Information on Schach from Home Depot from the Atlanta Kashruth Commission:

  • The Home Depot is selling 6 feet X 16 feet variety with the UPC Code 48037 06164 model Model # 0406164 marked as having a natural finish. This is available online at: here
  • A second variety is 6 feet X 16 feet with the Backyard X-Scapes brand name, UPC code 71746 00530 marked as being Natural "peeled" Reed Fencing, Model Model # HDD-BIN-RF01. This is available online at here
    These varieties may be used as schach only if:
    • The reeds are placed perpendicular to the schach support‐beams rather than parallel to the beams.
    • A piece of wood or some other piece of kosher schach should be placed on top of the fencing, so that the fencing is secure enough to not blow off during Succos. [This extra piece of wood should not be nailed or otherwise fastened to the schach, and it should be placed perpendicular to the reeds.] This condition applies to all lightweight schach including mats.
    • As with all schach, the schach‐portions of the mat must be thick enough that they provide more shaded area than open space [In this context, there is reason to assume that broken reeds do not “count” towards the calculation of shaded areas.] It may be necessary to place a double layer of mats in order to accomplish this.

    For more information please contact the CRC at: 773-465-3900 OR crcweb.org

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W478

Researchers Create Bioplastic Wheypack from Cheese Waste

October 6, 2016: The DairyReporter:

Researchers in Spain have created a bioplastic "Wheypack" from surplus cheese whey. They fermented the whey, a by-produdct of the cheese industry and produced polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), a biopolymer. The whey created from making the cheese could replace the plactic in the package precting the cheese.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W477

Public Pre-Yom Kippur 'Kapparot' Ceremonies Banned in 3 Israeli Cities

October 10, 2016: The Jewish Press:

The annual ritual of kapparot has been banned this year – at least in public places in the cities of Petah Tikva, Rishon Lezion and in Tel Aviv.
In Petah Tikva the municipality warned that performance of the kapparot ritual, even without slaughtering the chicken afterwards – as is customary in many places requires the approval of the city’s veterinary service.
The issue of religious practice versus "animal rights" has long been a bitter dispute in the United States and Europe, but has gradually become an issue in Israel as well.


The Israeli Agricultural Ministry is Launching a Campaign to Discourate Using Chickens for Kapporot

October 6, 2016: The Jewish Press:

"Israel's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has launched a campaign to raise public consciousness regarding the ancient Jewish custom of Kapparot on the Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, encouraging people to redeem themselves with money instead of chickens."

On a weekday before Yom Kippur, many Jews take a rooster or a chicken (depending on one’s sex), recite two biblical passages — Psalms 107:17-20 and Job 33:23-24 — and swing the bird, which one is holding by its feet, over one’s head three times while reciting a short prayer three times. The recitation is: “This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement. This rooster (hen) will go to its death, while I will enter and proceed to a good long life and to peace.”"

"After the Kapparot ritual is concluded, the rooster is slaughtered given to charity, preferably for the meal before the Yom Kippur fast."

"The Agriculture Ministry suggests the ritual is causing the birds needless suffering, which, incidentally, is against Jewish Law. Also, the presence of hundreds of chickens in and out of their cages in the middle of towns and villages may lead to the spread of disease. And so, the ministry would much prefer that faithful Jews donate their money to charity rather than do it with chickens."

"For those Jews in Israel who insist on using chickens, the ministry has issued guidelines to regulate the distribution and slaughtering of the birds in locations outside the supervised abattoirs. The guidelines are intended to prevent the spread of disease, as well as minimize animal suffering."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W475

Agudath Israel Advocacy Continues to Ease Way for Arba Minim

October 7, 2016: The YeshivaWorld:

"As in past years, Agudath Israel of America’s Washington Office has worked closely with agencies of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help avoid potential problems for travelers carrying arba minim."
Both the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have notified their respective field personnel about the upcoming Sukkos holiday and the increased level of travel by persons of the Jewish faith, many of whom will be carrying arba minim. The TSA Notice makes clear that the arba minim carried in airports, through security checkpoints or on aircraft, are not on the “prohibited items list” and provides instructions for travelers needing “special accommodations” in regard to checkpoint screening. The CBP Guidance sets forth detailed information regarding the inspection process for arba minim entering the United States from foreign countries through designated American ports and points out that the agency is “committed to treating all travelers, including travelers who may be observing Sukkot, with respect and dignity at all U.S. ports of entry.”

Guidelines for Travel with Arba Minim.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W476

Staff of life can pose food safety dangers

September 23, 2016: The FoodSafetyNews:

"Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria. So if an animal heeds the call of nature in the field, bacteria from the animal waste could contaminate the grain, which is then harvested and milled into flour." "The previous use of cropland is part of the food-safety equation."
The wheat cleaning process "involves removing unwanted objects, such as stones, pieces of metal, and kernels with color differences. It is, however, not designed to remove foodborne pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella."
"In fact, nowhere in the milling process does that happen, although food safety standards are followed when it comes to keeping equipment and trucks clean, training employees, abiding by good manufacturing practices, and conducting an analysis of possible contamination points in the process."
"Milling is a simple, mechanical process." "It doesn’t address microbial pathogens."
"Even though CDC warns the public that flour is actually a raw, uncooked food, most people don’t see it that way."
"Flour, especially white flour, doesn’t look raw. It looks processed. And the very process of milling wheat into flour can spread contamination from a few wheat kernels to large quantities of flour."
"It’s extremely rare for people to become ill from eating flour for one simple reason: Flour is rarely eaten raw. Instead, it’s added to other ingredients and baked, fried, boiled or microwaved, which generally kills pathogens. But with raw dough, there is no kill step."

Myths from Ardent Mills Flour food Safety

  • "MYTH: Pathogens such as Salmonella are not of importance to low-moisture ingredients such as flour simply because these ingredients do not support its growth."
    "FACT: Salmonella does not need to grow to cause illness. In some instances, infection has occurred from consuming low-moisture products contaminated with less that 1 cfu/g. It’s also important, says Akins, to note that flour may be added to ingredients such as batters and mixes that are more conducive to growth."
  • "MYTH: Sample testing is a reliable way to assure food safety."
    "FACT: Microbiological testing of a production lot of a food product does not guarantee that the entire lot is pathogen-free. Production lots of flour are usually very large, so only a fraction of a lot can be tested. Pathogens generally are not homogeneously distributed throughout the lot; they tend to clump together in groups.
"This means that a sample tested for a pathogen can test negative when other areas in the same lot may contain pathogens. Considering how much testing would be needed, is not realistic because it’s cost prohibitive."


Recall & Advice to Consumers & Retailers from the CDC on the Multistate Outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli Infections Linked to Flour

A link tinformation on the multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli infections linked to flour from the is here. (posted September 28, 2016).

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W474

10 sick: Unpasteurized, this time ‘green for life’ camel milk in Israel

September 13, 2016: from Barfblog

"Ten additional people have come down with brucellosis after consuming camel milk,". The Israeli "Ministry of Health extended the administrative closure of a business dealing with this product." "The Acting DMO’s decision stated that the closure order was extended because during an inspection/control visit to the enterprise, performed about 2 weeks ago, it was found that — in breach with the previous order — camel milk was encountered in the premises. Even worse, since the decree was issued last month, information on 10 additional brucellosis patients, infected by the consumption of the milk, has been obtained."


Brucellosis linked to unpasteurized camel milk in Israel

August 18, 2016: from Barfblog

A number of people including children in Isreal have been hospitalized "suffering from brucellosis linked to the consumption of unpasteurized camel milk produced by the dairy company 'Genesis'." Following this, four tons of camel milk was distroyed.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W464

Report Finds 20 Percent Fraud Rate In Global Seafood Labeling

September 12, 2016: The FoodManufacturing.com, FoodNavigator.com and Oceana:

Oceana reviewed more than 200 published studies from 55 countries and found that about one in five seafood samples tested worldwide were found to be improperly labeled.

"About 65% of the studies included evidence of economically motivated adulteration of seafood products. Cheaper or less desirable fish were mislabeled as more expensive varieties.

In 141 instances, pangasius was swapped for 18 different types but mostly perch, grouper and sole.

Seafood fraud includes species substitution often a low-value or less desirable item swapped for a more expensive or desirable choice, improper labeling, including hiding the origin of seafood products, or adding extra breading, water o

More than half of the mislabeled species could pose a health risk to consumers, and the report also found said that mislabeling could affect endangered species and could be caught or processed using slave labor.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W472

Researchers Debunk “Five-Second Rule"

September 12, 2016: The FoodIngredientsFirst and Barfblog:

"Rutgers researchers have disproven the widely accepted notion that it's OK to scoop up food and eat it within a "safe" five-second window. Donald Schaffner, professor and extension specialist in food science, found that moisture, type of surface and contact time all contribute to cross-contamination. In some instances, the transfer begins in less than one second. Their findings appear online in the American Society for Microbiology's journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology
The type of surface is also a factor. Carpet has very low transfer rates compared with those of tile and stainless steel, whereas transfer from wood is more variable.
"So while the researchers demonstrate that the five-second rule is 'real' in the sense that longer contact time results in more bacterial transfer, it also shows other factors, including the nature of the food and the surface it falls on, are of equal or greater importance." The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has announced an enhanced funding partnership with Israel to better leverage new agricultural research for mutual scientific benefit. The updated agreement is administered by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD)."
"Beginning in early 2017, Israeli scientists can align their research with fiscal year 2016 NIFA-funded competitive grant research projects of mutual benefit to both nations. This new opportunity builds on an existing 2013 NIFA-BARD agreement to promote joint research, which has already resulted in the development of a model wastewater reuse program and analysis of hydrophobic soil in dry climates."
"Through this agreement, U.S. scientists have two ways to collaborate with Israeli researchers either through new joint research projects or by coupling Israeli scientists’ new projects to NIFA projects on the same topic. In both cases the Israeli scientists will receive funding through BARD, and the U.S. scientists will receive funding through NIFA. The resulting research will amplify both the funds and knowledge base to strengthen research outcomes. Some of the research areas of interest for this U.S.-Israel collaborative initiative include food security, water for agriculture, food safety, sustainable bioenergy, and bioproducts."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W471

USDA to partner with Israel on agricultural science

September 6, 2016: The USDA and IFT:

"The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has announced an enhanced funding partnership with Israel to better leverage new agricultural research for mutual scientific benefit. The updated agreement is administered by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD)."
"Beginning in early 2017, Israeli scientists can align their research with fiscal year 2016 NIFA-funded competitive grant research projects of mutual benefit to both nations. This new opportunity builds on an existing 2013 NIFA-BARD agreement to promote joint research, which has already resulted in the development of a model wastewater reuse program and analysis of hydrophobic soil in dry climates."
"Through this agreement, U.S. scientists have two ways to collaborate with Israeli researchers either through new joint research projects or by coupling Israeli scientists’ new projects to NIFA projects on the same topic. In both cases the Israeli scientists will receive funding through BARD, and the U.S. scientists will receive funding through NIFA. The resulting research will amplify both the funds and knowledge base to strengthen research outcomes. Some of the research areas of interest for this U.S.-Israel collaborative initiative include food security, water for agriculture, food safety, sustainable bioenergy, and bioproducts."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W470

Swine Brew: New Jersey Beer Celebrates Pork Roll

September 9, 2016: The FoodManufacturing

Flying Fish Brewing Co. released a Pork Roll Porter beer made with pork roll and spices in the brew kettle. The beer's aroma features cocoa and hints of maple and smoke.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W469
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