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Hasgacha Pratit, an independent kashrut authority, will close and its businesses absorbed by Tzohar.

February 28, 2018 from the Jerusalem Post

"The Hashgacha Pratit independent kashrut authority that has pioneered Orthodox kashrut supervision outside of the Chief Rabbinate has decided to end operations and transfer its clients to the nascent supervision authority being established by the Tzohar rabbinical association."
"This process was coordinated with Hashgacha Pratit and Tzohar, and the latter will take on the 39 restaurants and food outlets currently under the supervision of Hashgacha Pratit, as well as the five kashrut supervisors it has employed."
"Also moving from Hashgacha Pratit to Tzohar’s new supervision authority is Rabbi Oren Duvdevani, a widely respected expert on the laws of kashrut who used to work with the Chief Rabbinate but who defected to Hashgacha Pratit and served as the head of its kashrut supervision."

Kosher competition? Tzohar launches new Kashrut authority in Israel

February 26, 2018: The Arutz 7 and Voizneis:

"The Tzohar rabbinic organization announced Monday that the group would launch an independent oversight body to offer kosher food certification to restaurants and hotels around the country."
"The new certification will avoid the word 'kosher' in accordance with Israeli law, which limits the use of the word to the Chief Rabbinate. Instead, the certificate only lists the halachic (Jewish law) requirements guiding Tzohar inspectors, and affirms that those standards have been met."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W695

Grocery Stores Could Lose Millions Due to Cuts in Food Stamps Program

February 22, 2018 from the Abasco.com/en:

"President Donald Trump’s administration’s proposal to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, known as “food stamps”) for low-income people would have a serious impact on not only millions of beneficiaries, but also for the industry of supermarkets."

"The unemployed, the elderly and low-income working families with children would be the most affected by the proposed food stamps cuts of more than $213 billion in the next ten years, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities."

"CNBC also reported that according to data prepared by the retail consultancy AlixPartners, retailers could lose up to $70.7 billion in sales over the ten-year period."

"The largest savings in the food stamps program budget would come from cutting family benefits by more than $260,000 million over ten years – about 40% – and using approximately half of these funds to provide households with a package of non-perishable food purchased by the government, instead of the food that is purchased by the SNAP beneficiaries in the supermarkets."

"According to Fortune, the retailer with the highest risk of lost sales is Walmart. The largest grocery chain in the US gets 56% of its food sales. AlixPartners estimates that Walmart, where 18% of all food stamps were redeemed in 2013 (the last year in which the figure was disclosed), would lose $12,700 million in sales during the decade that SNAP cuts are made."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W694

Whirlpool Recalls KitchenAid Electric Kettles Due to Burn Hazard

February 20, 2018 from the CPSC in conjunction in conjunction with Mexico and Healthy Canada:

KitchenAid electric kettles have been recalled because the handle can loosen and separate from the kettle, causing hot contents to spill, posing a burn hazard.

This recall involves KitchenAid 1.7 Liter Electric Kettles. The kettles were sold in stainless steel, red, black, white, liquid graphite and cocoa silver. Model numbers and serial numbers are located on the bottom of the kettle. KitchenAid is written on the front of the kettles. A complete list of model and serial numbers included in this recall is posted on the firm’s website at http://repair.whirlpool.com.

                    Model Numbers

                      Serial Numbers

KEK1722SX (Stainless)

YA325***** thru YA724*****

KEK1722ER (Red)

YA325***** thru YA724*****

KEK1722OB (Black)

YA325***** thru YA724*****

KEK1722WH (White)

YA325***** thru YA724*****

KEK1722QG (Liquid Graphite)

YA325***** thru YA724*****

KEK1722CS (Cocoa Silver)

YA325***** thru YA724*****

RKEK1722SX (Stainless)

YA325***** thru YA724*****

RKEK1722ER (Red)

YA325***** thru YA724*****

RKEK1722OB (Black)

YA325***** thru YA724*****

RKEK1722WH (White)

YA325***** thru YA724*****

RKEK1722QG (Liquid)

YA325***** thru YA724*****

RKEK1722CS (Cocoa Silver)

YA325***** thru YA724*****

Sold At: Bed Bath & Beyond, Dillard's, Fry’s Electronics, Kitchen Kaboodle, Kohl’s, Navy Exchange, Target, Williams Sonoma, and other home improvement, home appliance and retail stores and online at Amazon.com as well as other online retailers from September 2013 through February 2018 for about $100 to $120.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled kettles and contact Whirlpool for a free replacement.
Consumer Contact: Whirlpool Corporation at 800-874-0608 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or online at http://repair.whirlpool.com for more information.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W693

Will Britain force separate labeling for kosher meat?

February 15, 2018: The Arutz 7:

"Britain’s Labour Party announced its support for separate labeling for meat from animals slaughtered without stunning in keeping with Jewish and Muslim traditions."

"Jewish groups in the United Kingdom and beyond in Europe oppose the proposed measure, which appeared in Labour’s Animal Welfare Plan published by the opposition party earlier this week, because they deem it discriminatory."

"But Labour's manifesto on animal welfare states it will seek “mandatory labeling of meat, both domestic and imported. This would include details on country of origin, method of production and method of slaughter (stun or non-stun)."

"Shechita UK, an organization representing communal interests in the matter, in the past has called labeling meat as 'not stunned' discriminatory because “it suggests that shechita-slaughtered meat comes from a non-humane process, and there will be no label to indicate how non-kosher meat is slaughtered or if their stunning methods have failed (as they so frequently do)."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W692

Trump's budget proposes a radical change to food stamps that would make it a 'Blue Apron-type' program

February 13, 2018 from BusinessInsider:

"President Donald Trump's new fiscal year 2019 budget includes a radical proposed change to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, typically referred to as food stamps, that would see part of the program turn into a meal-delivery service. "

"As part of the budget, the Department of Agriculture — which runs the SNAP program — would send basic food items to households receiving more than $90 a month in SNAP assistance in boxes. "

"'Under the proposal, households receiving $90 or more per month in SNAP benefits will receive a portion of their benefits in the form of a USDA Foods package, which would include items such as shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit, vegetables, and meat, poultry or fish,' the budget reads. "

"According to the proposal states would be allowed to determine the method of delivery 'through existing infrastructure, partnerships, and/or directly to residences through commercial and/or retail delivery services.'"

"The USDA boxes would have "shelf-stable" foods meaning that the produce and meats would not be fresh and come in non-perishable form like cans."

" The Food Research and Action Center, a nonprofit working to end hunger in the US, blasted the proposal.

"The new boxes will be 'a Rube-Goldberg designed system of commodity distribution via food boxes that will be administratively costly, inefficient, stigmatizing, and prone to failure, and that will return the country to Depression-era anti-hunger approaches,' said the group in a statement."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W691

After Holocaust law, Poland moves to ban kosher slaughter

February 12, 2018 from YnetNews:

Poland's "ruling party has submitted a new bill restricting kosher slaughter and threatening anyone who violates the restrictions with up to four years in prison."
"The new restrictions are included in a 48-page general bill on animal welfare, which the lower house of the Polish parliament is expected to vote on this week."
"The restrictions include a ban on exporting kosher meat from Poland, which is expected to affect many of Europe's Jewish communities, as well as meat exports to Israel. Some of Israel's supermarket chains import and sell kosher meat from Poland, increasing the competition in the Israeli meat market. A drop in meat exports from Poland could lead to a hike in meat prices in Israel. "
"The bill also seeks to ban slaughter when the animals are in an "unnatural state"—in other words, when the animal isn't standing on all four feet, making a kosher Jewish slaughter practically impossible. According to European Jewish Association (EJA) Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, 'Kashrut laws forbid to apply any pressure on the knife to protect the animal from unnecessary pain. Preventing this pressure is impossible when the animal is standing with its head leaning heavily on the knife.' "
"The Polish parliament banned kosher slaughter in 2013, but the decision was struck down by the constitutional court. The judges accepted an EJA petition and ruled that the Polish law contradicted the principle of freedom of religion. "

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W690

Ireland Advances Bill Making it Criminal to Buy Israeli Goods

January 31, 2018 from UnitedWithIsrael:

"The Irish parliament gave initial approval to a bill that would boycott goods produced by Israeli companies. Israel is enraged."

"he Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 would make it a violation of Irish criminal law to purchase goods and services from Israeli companies based in Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights. It would punish violators with up to five years in prison."

"There are several contentious occupations closer to Europe, including Russia’s occupation of Crimea, Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus, Armenia’s occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, and Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara, the bill’s sponsors suggest that the Irish legislation is carefully drafted to apply only to territories connected to Israel."

"No other law prohibiting trade with Israel as a criminal offense has been enacted in other European countries."

"Further discussion on the bill has been postponed until July at the request of Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W689

2 related articles: Parliament 'bans' kosher meat in its restaurants and Is it too much to ask that Parliament provides kosher and halal food in its restaurants?

January 30, 2018 from The JC and The JC:

An employee "inquired about the possibility of kosher food being provided in Parliament’s nine restaurants and canteens, but was told menus were governed by guidelines written by groups including the RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association – a long-standing critic of non-stun slaughter."

"Parliament’s on-site catering options include a range of restaurants, snack bars, coffee shops and vending machines and can be used by MPs, peers, their staff and more than 10,000 parliamentary pass-holders."

"Asked whether pre-made kosher food, such as sandwiches which are readily available in supermarkets, could be sold on the parliamentary estate, the spokesperson said: 'Following careful consideration, the provision of kosher products when weighed against demand, is not viable in terms of costs, logistics and supplier management.'"

The European Parliament provide kosher meals.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W688

Israeli Lawsuit Charges Supermarkets Selling Salmonella-Infected Chicken

January 26, 2018 from Hamodia:

"Attorneys representing consumer groups have requested the courts to approve a huge class-action lawsuit against some of Israel’s largest supermarket chains – for selling tainted chicken. According to the lawsuit, as many as half, or even more, of the fresh chickens sold in large supermarket chains like Shufersal and Yeinot Bitan were contaminated, many of them with salmonella."

"According to scientists, salmonella is not uncommon in fresh chicken, and the germ can be killed and the chicken rendered safe to eat if it is cooked to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit."

"The lawsuit cites statistics of recent veterinary studies that established the high levels of salmonella at some supermarket chains. At the Shufersal supermarkets checked, 55 percent of the chickens carried the germ, as did 55 percent of the Yeinot Bitan chickens. At Rami Levy, that figure was “only” 27 percent."

The Israeli "Health Ministry said that the issue of salmonella in raw processed chicken was well-known, and that the Health Ministry regularly published alerts on how to prepare chicken safely for eating."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W687

England: Animal Welfare Bill ‘must outlaw’ non-stun halal and kosher slaughter

January 23 2018: from the Havest Public Media:

Humanists UK has called on Ministers to make non-stun halal and kosher slaughter illegal.

"Under current UK law, owners of animals are responsible for their welfare, but there is no duty on the state to consider animal welfare in policy making." The Humanists are trying to get the government define pre-stunning as a welfare need.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W685
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