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US Customs Revives Dormant Law that Requires Labeling of West Bank Products

The US Customs and Border Protection Service has decided to enforce an April 1995 law passed by Congress that "products made in the West Bank or Gaza “shall be marked as 'West Bank,' 'Gaza,' or 'Gaza Strip'and shall not contain the words 'Israel,' 'Made in Israel,' 'Occupied Territories-Israel' or words of similar meaning.” Moreover, it states, “Failure to mark an article in accordance with the requirements…shall result in the levy of a duty of 10 percent” of the product’s value." This law has been dorment for 20 years. When it was passed it was aimed at boosting the Palestinian economy and was supported by then Israeli government under Yizhak Rabin. It is not clear why the US Customs service has just started to enforce it.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) introduced legislation on February 1, 2016 that would rescind the Obama administration's recent policy directive requiring the special labeling of Israeli goods produced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The preceeding news is from the The Forward and cotton.senate.govposted on February 1, 2016 .

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W397

i play Recalls Glass Food Storage Cubes Due to Injury Hazard

January 28, 2016: The CPSC posted that i play., inc., of Asheville, N.C. has recalled green sprouts® glass food cubes because the glass containers can break unexpectedly, posing a risk of injury.
The recalled glass food storage cubes are sold in a set of four with colored, rubberized plastic lids and fit into one storage tray. The cubes are sold in 2-ounce and 4-ounce sizes. The lid colors and trays of the affected lot of 2-ounce cubes include blue, green and pink. The lid colors and trays of the affected 4-ounce cubes include blue, green, pink and yellow. “green sprouts” is molded into each plastic lid, on edges of the matching plastic storage tray and on the bottom of each quadrant of the storage tray. "green sprouts® by i play., Inc." and “Made in China” are molded into the bottom of each glass cube. On the bottom of the plastic storage tray is a tracking dial with one of the following markings:
An arrow that points to “11” and the numbers on the sides of the arrow read “4” on the left of the arrow and “1” on the right.
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled food cubes and contact i play. for instructions on receiving a coupon toward the purchase of a new i play. product and shipping.
Sold at buybuy Baby and Whole Foods nationwide and online at amazon.com, babyhaven.com, diapers.com, drugstore,com and target.com from June 2015 through December 2015 for about $15 for the 2-ounce size and $20 for the 4-ounce size.
An arrow that points to “5” and the numbers on the sides of the arrow read “1” on the left of the arrow and “5” on the right.
Consumer Contact i play. at 800-876-1574 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email at contactus@iplaybaby.com or online at www.iplaybaby.com and click on the “Health & Safety” link at the bottom of the right side of the homepage under the Support column for more information.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W399

H-E-B Recalls Stainless Steel Cookware Due to Injury Hazard

January 28, 2016: The CPSC posted that H-E-B is recalling stainless steel cookware because the metal discs that cover the cookware’s rivets can pop off and hit consumers, posing an injury hazard.
This recalls includes the Connect by H-E-B tri-ply stainless steel cookware. It was sold as a 12-piece set or as individual pieces. "Connect" is stamped into the base of the handle and the Connect by H-E-B logo is stamped on the underside of the cookware. Cookware included in this recall does not have a date code on the underside. The UPC code can be found on the back of the product packaging:

>Product Name UPC
Connect by H-E-B  8in Tri Ply Stainless Steel Fry Pan 4122032279
Connect by H-E-B 12Pc Cookware Set  Tri Ply Stainless Steel 4122032277
Connect by H-E-B 10in Tri Ply Stainless Steel Fry Pan 4122032280
Connect by H-E-B 12in Deep Sauté w/Lid & Handle 4122032297
Connect by H-E-B 10in Tri Ply Non-Stick  Stainless Steel Fry Pan 4122032281

Connect by H-E-B 8in Tri Ply Non-Stick  Stainless Steel Fry Pan

Connect by H-E-B 6Qt Dutch Oven 4122032293
Connect by H-E-B 12in Tri Ply Non-Stick  Stainless Steel Fry Pan w/handle 4122032290
Connect by H-E-B 12Qt Stock Pot w/Lid 4122032296

Connect by H-E-B 12in Tri Ply Stainless Steel Fry Pan w/handle 4122032286

The firm has received seven reports of the metal discs popping off the cookware. No injuries have been reported.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled cookware and return it to H-E-B for a full refund.  

Sold exclusively at H-E-B stores in Texas from September 2014 through December 2015 for between $20 and $250.
Manufacturer(s) HEB Grocery Company LLC, of San Antonio, Texas

Consumer Contact: H-E-B at 800-432-3113 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.heb.com and click on Product Recalls under the Customer Service section at the bottom of the homepage for more information.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W398

Safety Risks Are Higher with Food Imported from Low-GDP Nations

A study by the FDA of 10 year's of food import violations found that food imported into the US from countries with a low GDP. "'The size of a country's economy appears to be a more important determinant of food safety than its wealth,' or GDP per capita." "The researchers kept in mind that high-GDP countries may be better able to reduce risks through standards and regulations. As a result, importers may wish to pay more for products from high-GDP countries or work more closely with suppliers from low-GDP countries to ensure good safety practices."

The preceeding news is from the specialtyfood.com and bizjournals.com on January 27, 2016 .

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W396

Interesting Tidbits about TuBishvat

"The original spirit of Tu Bishvat""is planting trees in the land of Israel and eating their fruits." The custom of planting trees on Tu Bishvat is 126 years old, started by Ze’ev Ya’abetz who was the rabbi of Zichron Ya’akiv colony on the Carmel Mountains. He had the idea of having his students plant trees on Tu Bishvat. This idea spread.
The Israeli Fruit Growers association suggests that eating fresh fruit on Tu Bishvat is more in the spirit of TuBishvat. The custom of eating dried fruits started in Europe, where people did not have access to fresh fruit.

The preceeding news is from the JewishPress on January 25, 2016 .

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W394

This is an interesting article on how to keep produce fresh. They suggest to keep aspargus in water like cut flowers in the refrigerator, keep a dry paper towel with lettuce, coat avocado with lime or lemon juice to prevent oxidation, keep bananas bunched in the refrigerator to reduce ripening, keep tomatoes in the warmest part of the refrigerator, keep berrries out of the crisper so they can breathe and put potatoes in a brown paper bag and store in a cool place but not the refrigerator.
More information at usnews: 8 Genius Hacks to Keep Your Produce From Going Bad.

posted on January 25, 2016 .

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W395

The following news is from the FoodNavigator on January 20, 2015 .

The Dutch food safety authority released a list of 1800 companies that were customers of the company that was found to that may have been contaminated with horsemeat.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W392

The following information is from the USDA and the IFT posted on January 20, 2015 .

"The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has posted data from the 2014 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary, which confirms that overall pesticide chemical residues found on the foods tested are at levels below the tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and do not pose a safety concern." "99% of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the EPA tolerances." Only 0.36% of the samples tested had residues exceeding the EPA tolernances. "n 2014, the USDA tested for pesticides in 10,619 samples of food, including 8,582 samples of fruits and vegetables; 314 samples of oats; 314 samples of rice; 1,055 samples of infant formula; and 354 samples of salmon. Domestic samples accounted for 75.5% the samples while 22.9% were imports, 0.7% were of mixed origin, and 0.9% were of unknown origin." "The PDP generally confirms the U.S. food supply is safe with respect to pesticide chemical residues."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W393

The following news is from the FoodSafetynews on January 19, 2015 .

A pilot project was started to teach deli operators the proper way to handle food, clean and sanitize to prevent Listeria monocytogenes. A previous study had found that more than a third of delis did not know what to do. Deli's who underwent training had a much higher compliance.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W391

The following news is from the Linked-in and HalalNews posted on January 20, 2015 .

"The French government confirms the legality of ritual slaughter Responding to a question from a member, the Ministry of Agriculture recalled on January 5 that ritual slaughter, directed by Jews and Muslims without stunning the animal, was legal and consistent with secularism. Indeed, Jews believe that meat is not kosher if the animal was stunned before bleeding." "The text recalls that the derogation from the obligation to stun animals, "under the free exercise of religion" is framed by the French and European law and that this possibility 'does not undermine secularism.'"
"In its response, the Department states that 'slaughter without stunning may be made after immobilization of the animal and respecting all the measures stipulated by the regulations on animal protection and food safety'."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W385
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