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House passes bill protecting circumcision, ritual slaughter

May 18, 2016 from the Arutz 7:
The US House of Representatives has passed a bill that you extend the religious protections in the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to advocates of circumcision and ritual slaughter as well as atheists.
"The bill's tier system for how well or poorly countries protect religious freedom would be similar to the one used in the annual State Department report on human trafficking. That report is influential, and countries seeking the good graces of the United States strive to improve their ranking by cracking down on the practice"

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W424

Do you really want to know what's in your burger?

May 11, 2016 from the CNBC and Clear Labs:
Clear Labs examined 258 samples of burgers from 79 brands and 22 different retailers. The samples included ground meat, frozen patties, veggie burgers and fast food burgers.
Clear labs "determined that 6.6 percent of the products contained an ingredient that was not listed on the label. In fact, there was beef DNA found in five products that were not supposed to contain beef, including two vegetarian burger products."
"One vegetarian burger was determined to contain human DNA. The company notes that it was unable to uncover the source of the DNA, but it was likely from hair or skin cells."
Clear Labs also found issues with the meat samples that it tested. A fast food burger and a ground meat sample both contained rat DNA, in addition to one vegetarian burger. "

The majority of ground meat samples were ground beef, but we also tested ground turkey, ground lamb, ground pork, ground chicken, ground veal, ground bison, ground buffalo, and ground venison.
Unexpected ingredients pose safety risks - when ingredients are present in a product and not reported on the label there is an increased potential for adverse allergic reactions. They also have important cultural implications. Certain religions, for example, forbid the consumption of some meat products.
Tests revealed evidence of substitution in 16 products3, or 6.6% of all samples. We found beef in 5 samples, chicken in 4 samples, turkey in 3 samples, pork in 2 samples, rye in 2 samples, and sunchoke in 1 sample that were not supposed to contain these ingredients.
Beef DNA was found in 1 sample of ground lamb, 1 sample of ground bison, and 1 sample of ground chicken patties. Trace amounts of beef DNA was found in 2 vegetarian burger products. Pork DNA was in 1 sample of beef patties and in 1 sample of ground beef.
All 14 samples missing ingredients listed on their labels were vegetarian products. 15.7% of vegetarian products tested had at least 1 missing ingredient.
"Seven of the 258 samples of meat tested contained a pathogen that had the potential to cause a foodborne illness. The report notes that the pathogens found in the cooked burgers were less likely to be alive and pose a smaller health risk. In addition, seven of the 258 samples of meat tested contained a pathogen that had the potential to cause a foodborne illness. The report notes that the pathogens found in the cooked burgers were less likely to be alive and pose a smaller health risk." n addition, seven of the 258 samples of meat tested contained a pathogen that had the potential to cause a foodborne illness. The report notes that the pathogens found in the cooked burgers were less likely to be alive and pose a smaller health risk.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W423

The Rabbis Are Here to Inspect the (Legal) Weed

May 6, 2016: From New York Times:
"Vireo, a subsidiary of Vireo Health, is one of at least two companies aiming to sell kosher medical marijuana products like tinctures or cannabis oil. The Orthodox Union, one of the United States’ most prominent Jewish groups, gave its first medical marijuana certification to Vireo in January. Another company, Cresco Labs in Illinois, is in the final stages of getting certified from" the Chicago Rabbinical Council.
"Every ingredient in a marijuana brownie, for example, needs to be kosher. The leaves, if eaten, would need to come from a bug-free plant. Marijuana gelcaps cannot be made out of pig gelatin. There are also rules for the equipment that processes kosher food. Vireo’s products that have been certified by the Orthodox Union can have the recognizable “OU” stamp on their packaging, and must submit to periodic inspections from the group’s rabbis."
"Representatives of the Orthodox Union and the Chicago Rabbinical Council, which inspected Cresco, said that the idea of kosher medical marijuana had stirred much internal debate, and that they would certify only medical marijuana and not products intended for the recreational market."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W422

C & S Wholesale Grocers to Acquire Davidson Specialty Foods

May 4, 2016: From Businesswsire.com and Specialty Food News:
"C&S Wholesale Grocers has acquired Davidson Specialty Foods. Davidson distributes specialty, kosher and ethnic products to retailers in New England and the New York metropolitan area. It will continue to operate under owners Bob and Jim Rowe as a separate organization."
"Davidson provides direct store delivery (DSD) services for over 6,000 specialty, kosher, and ethnic products to independent and chain retailers across New England and the New York metropolitan area."

Ed. note: This may present chometz after Passover issues for 2017.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W421

Walmart Recalls Rival Electric Water Kettles Due to Burn and Shock Hazards

March 3, 2016: The CPSC is announcing a recall of Rival brand electric water kettles because the heating element can fail and rupture, posing burn and shock hazards to the user.
This recall involves Rival brand electric water kettles with model numbers WK8283CU and WK8283CUY. The model numbers are printed on a product label on the underside of the water kettle. The white plastic water kettles were sold with a warming base and a pitcher. A window on the side pitcher has markings that measure the water levels. “Rival” is printed beneath the window.
Walmart has received 80 reports of incidents, including seven reports of burns. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled kettle and return it to any Walmart store for a full refund.
Sold exclusively at Walmart stores nationwide and online at Walmart.com from March 2011 through October 2015 for about $14.
onsumer Contact: Walmart at 800-925-6278 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Saturday, or noon and 6 p.m. Sunday; or visit the company’s website at www.Walmart.com and click "Product Recalls." Consumers can also visit http://walmartstores.com/contactus/feedback.aspx.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W420

FDA releases final rule to ensure food safety during transport

April 5, 2016 - FDA:
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today finalized a new food safety rule under the landmark FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that will help to prevent food contamination during transportation. The rule will require those involved in transporting human and animal food by motor or rail vehicle to follow recognized best practices for sanitary transportation, such as properly refrigerating food, adequately cleaning vehicles between loads and properly protecting food during transportation." "Shippers, loaders, carriers and receivers engaged in transportation operations of food imported by motor or rail vehicle and consumed or distributed in the United States are also subject to the final rule."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W419

Spoiled meat was smuggled into Israel and sold to some of Israel's most renowned restaurants and meat stores.

April 5, 2016 - Globes.co.il:
"The Ministry of Agriculture enforcement and investigation unit today found 700 kilograms of meat in the Tel Aviv Tikva market smuggled into Israel from Judea and Samaria. The unit also intercepted enormous quantities of smuggled meat at the Dragot checkpoint near the Dead Sea."
Today's report follows one from yesterday, according to which enforcement and investigation unit inspectors exposed a ring smuggling meat into Israel from the Palestinian Authority (PA). The smuggled meat, which was sold to leading restaurants and various meat shops, bore forged expiration dates, slaughter dates, and kashrut certificates."
"The Ministry of Agriculture bans the import of animal products from the PA to Israel because of improper storage conditions, and in order to prevent the entry of spoiled meat into the country. The smuggled goods reached a warehouse in the Atarot industrial zone, where they were repackaged and kashrut certificates, expiration dates, and veterinary authorization documents were forged. The meat, which was unfit for human consumption, was distributed to restaurants and various meat shops. Concealment of transactions and income in Israel is also suspected."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W418

Food fraud: If ‘price is too good to be true, it probably is

March 30, 2016 - From Barfblog.com:
Chris Elliott, the founder of the Institute for Global Food Security, a laboratory in Northern Ireland is quoted saying "Many, many forms of food fraud manifest themselves in different parts of the world virtually every day of the week. It’s absolutely cheating. But it goes beyond cheating — this is criminal activity, very well organized criminal activity, with people making a huge amount of money out of fraud in food systems."
"The world trade in groceries is about $11 trillion. And the level of fraud is somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of that."
"My advice to people is always buy your food from bonafide sources. If you buy your stuff from the back of vans and so forth, you can expect what you’ll get. And the second thing is if you buy something that’s too good to be true price-wise, it probably is."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W417

Swiss study finds E. coli bacteria in ice cubes

March 30, 2016 - From Barfblog.com: m
A Swiss study found that "more than a quarter of ice cubes used in Swiss bars and restaurants contain fecal bacteria such as E. coli." "The presence of bacteria including pseudomonas, E. coli and enterococci is “a clear sign of unsanitary production of ice cubes'. "The primary cause is a lack of hygiene in bars and restaurants, where ice machines may be badly cleaned and maintained."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W416

Largest-ever seizures of fake food and drink in INTERPOL-Europol operation

March 30, 2016 - From Interpol.int:
"More than 10,000 tonnes and one million litres of hazardous fake food and drink have been seized in operations across 57 countries in an INTERPOL-Europol coordinated initiative to protect public health and safety."
"Operation Opson V resulted in seizures ranging from nearly nine tonnes of counterfeit sugar contaminated with fertilizer in Khartoum, Sudan to Italian officers recovering more than 85 tonnes of olives which had been ‘painted’ with copper sulphate solutions to enhance their colour."
Police found coouterfeit alcohol in Greece and the UK>
30 tons of illegal beef and buffalo meat unfit for human consumption and bound for supermarkets was found in Thailand
"In Australia, testing of 450 kg of honey revealed it had been blended or adulterated, and a consignment of peanuts had been repackaged and relabelled as pine nuts."
"In Indonesia, officials seized 70 kg of chicken intestines which had been preserved in formalin, which is prohibited as a food additive. "
"First launched in 2011, the Opson operations have grown from involving just 10 countries across Europe, to involving nearly 60 countries in every region of the world and resulting in the seizure of tens of thousands of tonnes of fake and substandard food and drink."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W415
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