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The following news is from the Domains Name Wire and Jewish Journal posted on January 28, 2014.

Dot-Specific domain names are being assigned on the web. OK-Kosher applied in November 2012 to manage the .kosher gTLD. The OU, Star-K, Kof-K, Chicago Rabbinical Council and the COR filed a complaint in March, e013 that "OK-Kosher might use its control over the .kosher string to attain an unfair competitive advantage in the market for kosher certification services." The Jewish Journal reported that Rabbi Elefant said: "If one kosher certifying agency has control over which businesses could obtain web addresses ending in .kosher, Elefant said, any business that wanted to have such a presence on the web would be forced to sign up with OK-Kosher."
"On Jan. 14, 2014, an expert working for the International Chamber of Commerce, Luca G. Radicati di Brozolo, a law professor at the Catholic University of Milan, rebuffed their objection, and awarded the right to manage “.kosher” to a subsidiary of OK-Kosher called Kosher Marketing Assets, LLC. Luca G. Radicati di Brozolo said that the complaintants “has not convincingly proven its claim that the Application will impact negatively on itself, the community of [kosher certification organizations] or the broader community of persons or entities with a stake in kosher.”
"The expert adjudicator appeared to rely on assertions made by OK-Kosher that the gTLD will be used in ways that will benefit all kosher certification agencies.
The Jewish Journal quoted Timothy Lytton, a professor at Albany Law School and author of Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food saying that the .kosher disupte and ownership can tip the balance agencies have between rivalry and cooperation and that " that awarding control over .kosher to OK-Kosher could bring to the certification agency a difficult-to-quantify ancillary benefit, namely, increased internet traffic."

The following news is from the TheDomains.com and change.org posted on on July 17, 2013.

In a letter to ICANN, the OU, Star-K, cRc, Kof-K and COR, responsible for certification of approximately 63% of kosher ingredients worldwide, objected to the "unequal treatment of the new gTLD applications for .Kosher and .halal. Kosher Marketing Assets LLC of Brooklyn New York, whose mission of the .KOSHER TLD is to promote Kosher food certification in general, and OK Kosher Certification and its clients in particular has applied for the top level domain name .kosher. "In a letter to ICANN, several Kosher certification organizations, responsible for certification of approximately 63% of kosher ingredients worldwide, objected to the "unequal treatment of the new gTLD applications for .Kosher and .halal." ICANN has acknoledged to Saudi Arabia that they will not honor the application for the .halal and .islam names from a Shia group associated with Iran. The kashrus agencies are reminding ICANN that they should give .kosher the same consideration as .halal.

Ed. note: This will be decided in the following weeks
https://gtldcomment.icann.org is the website to comment on new GLDT applications.

The previous alert can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W159

The following information from New York Times and Jerusalem Post and http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/12/17/3823024/judge-orders-kosher-meals-at-state.html">Miami Herald posted on January 21, 2013.

On December 5, 2013 a federal judge has ordered the Florida Department of Corrections to offer kosher meals to "all prisoners with a sincere religious basis for keeping kosher" by July 1. " The lawsuit concerns the state's Religious Diet Program, or RDP, currently in place only at Union Correctional Institution. According to Seitz's ruling, the state has continuously changed its timeframe for expanding the program, first saying it would be available statewide this year, then saying kosher meals would be available at five institutions next month, and then announcing an implementation date for just three of those locations.
The state has also maintained that it is not required to offer kosher meals under federal laws protecting religious liberty.
Seitz barred DOC from enforcing four rules used in the kosher program at Union:

  • A 90-day waiting period that the state said it will no longer enforce.
  • A requirement that inmates undergo a "test" to determine whether they qualify for the program, including answering a question about the specific religious laws that require them to eat kosher.
  • The "10 percent rule," which drops a prisoner who fails to eat at least 90 percent of his or her meals.
  • The "zero-tolerance rule," which removes an inmate from the program for a period of time if he or she is found to eat something prison officials say is not kosher.

The state of Florida was worried that the cost of kosher food was higher and prisoners who were not Jewish or did not keep kosher were requesting kosher food Florida's prison system has a $58 million deficit. The cost of 3 kosher meals a day si $7 vs the cost of non-kosher food at $1.54. The demand for kosher meals jumps when they are first offered, since they are something different. The demand is reduced as people realize that there is little variety in the meals.

The previous alert can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W201

The following news story is from Foodmanufacturing.com on January 21, 2013.

The kitchen of the hotel where Pope Francis lives was kashered by Rabbi Yaakov Spizzichirino because Pope Francis hosted a dinner for about sixteen Argentine rabbis who came to Rome from Buenos Aires to visit their old friend. A Rome kosher restaurant Ba'Ghetto catered the dinner.

The previous alert can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W200

The following information from yeahthatskosher was posted on January 20, 2013.

The Conference of European Rabbis has established a database of kosher products in Europe. A link to the database can be found here.

The previous alert can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W199

The following news is from the bloomberg news on December 20, 2013.

The New York City Council voted on Dec 19th to prohibit restaurants, food carts and stores from selling or providing single-use cups, clamshells and trays, as well as peanut-shaped packing materials, made from a type of thermoplastic petrochemical called expanded polystyrene.
"An amendment gives officials a year to determine whether the substance can be recycled in an “environmentally effective, economically feasible and safe” way. If not, the ban will take effect as passed July 2015."

The previous alert can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W198

The following safety alert from the CPSC, on December 18, 2013.

Libbey Glass Inc., Toledo, OH is recalling Bristol Valley Cocktail Glasses with Sheer Rim have been recalled because the glasses can break unexpectedly, posing a laceration hazard. This recall involves Bristol Valley, model 8555SR, cocktail glasses with sheer rims. The glasses are made of clear, colorless glass in a 7.75 ounce cocktail design with a thin rim. The glasses measure about 6¼ inches high, 3¼ inches wide at the base, and 4¼ inches wide at the top. They were sold individually and in 24-piece cartons for commercial users.
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled glasses and return them to the store where purchased for a refund. Commercial customers should contact Libbey Glass Inc. to arrange for destruction of the product and receipt of a credit, refund or replacement. Consumers can contact Libbey Glass at (800) 982-7063 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.libbey.com and click on “Product Recall” for more information.

The previous alert can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W197

The following health alert is from Barfblog.com on December 16 2013.

Barfblog.com reported that there has been an ongoing Hepatitis A outbreak in Europr that has been linked to frozen fruits. Barfblog reports that the best guesses at this time are that the fruit was from Eastern Europe possibly Poland and were crops that were irrigated with sewage.

The previous alert can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W196

The following new story about kosher from Forbes on December 2, 2013.

Laura Faw has written an interesting article "Is Kosher The Next Big Food Trend?" describing food trends in the United States and offers suggestions on how to make this happen and to educate consumers on how kosher products can be useful to them.

The previous alert can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W194

The following safety alert from the CPSC, on November 21, 2013.

Cuisinart 7-cup food processors have been recalled because the reversible slicing/shredding disc can loosen when in use and the blade can strike and break the food processor’s cover. The cover’s broken plastic pieces can hit consumers, posing a laceration hazard.
This recall involves nine models of Cuisinart food processors including, MFP-107, MFP-107BC, MFP-107BCWS, MFP-107BK, MFP-107BKWS, MFP-107DCWS, MFP-107MGSLT, MFP-107MR or MFP-107WS. The model number is on the underside of the food processor base. The food processors were sold in white, black, brush chrome, metallic gray, metallic red and silver colors. They have a seven cup plastic work bowl and three push buttons “On,” “Pulse” and “Off.” Cuisinart is stamped on the front.
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled food processors and contact Cuisinart to receive a free replacement lid and reversible slicing/shredding disc. Consumer can contact Cuisinart toll-free at (877) 339-2534 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday or Sunday, or online www.cuisinart.com and click on Recall for more information.
These products were sold at Belk, Best Buy, Dillards, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Sears, Williams-Sonoma and other stores nationwide, and online at Amazon.com and Zappos.com from October 2012 through June 2013 for about $100.

The previous alert can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W193

FDA guidance on acrylamide in food at Processing Magazine and FDA posted on November 21, 2013.

The FDA has issued a draft guidance on acrylamide in food. "Acrylamide forms from sugars and an amino acid (asparagine) during certain types of high-temperature cooking, such as frying, roasting, and baking." Acrylamide at higher levels than found in food have been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.
"Food choice and acrylamide exposure

  • Acrylamide has been found primarily in food made from plants, such as potatoes, grain products, and coffee. Acrylamide is not typically associated with meat, dairy, or seafood products.
  • Acrylamide is typically found in plant-based foods cooked with high heat (e.g., frying, roasting, and baking), not raw plant-based foods or foods cooked by steaming or boiling.
  • Some foods are larger sources of acrylamide in the diet, including certain potato products (especially French fries and potato chips), coffee, and foods made of grains (such as breakfast cereal, cookies, and toast). These foods are all part of a regular diet. However, if you want to lower acrylamide intake, reducing consumption of these foods is one way to do so, keeping in mind that it's best to limit intake of foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. FDA does not recommend reducing intake of healthful grain products (e.g., whole grain cereals) that are a good source of whole grains and fiber."

Food storage and preparation methods to reduce acrylamide exposure

  • "Comparing frying, roasting, and baking potatoes, frying causes the highest acrylamide formation. Roasting potato pieces causes less acrylamide formation, followed by baking whole potatoes. Boiling potatoes and microwaving whole potatoes with skin on to make “microwaved baked potatoes” does not produce acrylamide.1
  • Soaking raw potato slices in water for 15-30 minutes before frying or roasting helps reduce acrylamide formation during cooking. (Soaked potatoes should be drained and blotted dry before cooking to prevent splattering or fires.)
  • Storing potatoes in the refrigerator can result in increased acrylamide during cooking. Therefore, store potatoes outside the refrigerator, preferably in a dark, cool place, such as a closet or a pantry, to prevent sprouting.
  • Generally, more acrylamide accumulates when cooking is done for longer periods or at higher temperatures. Cooking cut potato products, such as frozen French fries or potato slices, to a golden yellow color rather than a brown color helps reduce acrylamide formation (see Picture A). Brown areas tend to contain more acrylamide.
  • Toasting bread to a light brown color, rather than a dark brown color, lowers the amount of acrylamide (see Picture B). Very brown areas should be avoided, since they contain the most acrylamide.
  • Acrylamide forms in coffee when coffee beans are roasted, not when coffee is brewed at home or in a restaurant. So far, scientists have not found good ways to reduce acrylamide formation in coffee."

The previous alert can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W192
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