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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.

ECJ rules that halal and kosher meat can be labelled organic

September 27,2018 from the Courthouse News:

"The European Court of Justice advocate general has ruled that animals not stunned before slaughter in order to comply with religious rites for halal and kosher meat can be labelled organic so long as they comply with other standards of organic production."
"The ruling, delivered by advocate general Nils Wahl, follows a case brought by the French animal welfare group Oeuvre d’Assistance aux Betes d’Abattoirs (OABA). OABA has lobbied France’s minister for agriculture to drop the ‘organic farming’ label from beef products from cattle slaughtered without pre-stunning."
"EU organic regulations specifically require “high animal welfare standards” and also contain instructions that slaughtering methods should use state of the art approaches and minimise animal suffering."
"The question submitted is not so much whether the certifications ‘organic farming’ and ‘halal’ are compatible, but rather whether an ‘organic farming’ certification may be issued for products from animals killed without pre- stunning, which, ultimately, seems to me to be quite a different question."
"However, an adviser to the ECJ found that this legislation 'does not precisely define the procedures that allow the suffering of animals to be kept at a minimum at the time of killing'."
"Wahl concluded: 'In the absence of detail as to the slaughtering methods prescribed by the legislation on organic farming, it is necessary to refer to the body of rules governing animal welfare at the time of killing… In that context, the rules governing ritual slaughter cannot be excluded.' "

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W758

3 farmers plead guilty in organic grain fraud scheme

October 13,2018 from WGNTV:

"Three farmers who pleaded guilty Friday in a large-scale organic grain fraud scheme were lured into participation by a Missouri businessman who was its mastermind, a defense lawyer said."
"The farmers “convinced themselves to look the other way” while Randy Constant marketed the non-organic corn and soybeans they grew in Overton, Nebraska, as certified organic, attorney Clarence Mock said. They received significantly higher prices for their grain than they would have on the open market, and improperly rationalized their involvement because they weren’t personally making misrepresentations to customers, he said."
"The case is getting attention in the fast-growing organic agriculture industry, which usually handles violations of federal standards through regulatory action instead of criminal prosecution."
"The three admitted that they knew the grain being marketed as organic was mostly non-organic because it came from non-certified fields or from certified fields where they applied pesticides and nitrogen in violation of USDA standards."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W757

Jerusalem Butcher Shop Fined $5,500 for Selling Shark Meat

October 14,2018 from the Jewish Press:

"The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court convicted a local butcher shop company, its owner and manager, who engaged in illegal trading and selling of shark meat, Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority reported on Sunday. The defendants were fined 20,000 shekel ($5,518) altogether."
"The offense, which led to the indictment and the conviction, took place on March 28, 2017. Police and Border Police officers seized a suspicious hand truck that was pushed through the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem with four dead sharks in it. The cart was being pushed by employees of the butcher shop, who were bringing the sharks for sale there."
"Following the seizure of the sharks, inspectors from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority were summoned to investigate the incident. Upon the completion of the investigation, an indictment was filed against the defendants for illegal possession and trafficking of protected natural assets."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W756

About one-third of ‘gluten-free’ foods in U.S. restaurants may contain gluten

October 11, 2018 from the IFT and Eventscribe:

"Research presented at a meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology suggests that approximately one-third of gluten-free foods sold in U.S. restaurants may contain trace levels of the substance."
"The researchers analyzed data from a portable gluten detection device (Nima), collected across the United States during an 18-month period by 804 users who opted to share results of their point-of-care tests. Each test included a date/time, food item, restaurant name and address, presence/absence of gluten-free label, and presence/absence of gluten. Data was sorted by region, time of day, median household income in the restaurant’s vicinity, restaurant genre, and food item. "

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W755

Meat Labs Pursue a Once-Impossible Goal: Kosher Bacon

October 4, 2018 from the OU and New York Times:

The OU is working with companies that are producing "clean meat"
"Clean meat, also known by names like cell-based agriculture, begins with cells taken from an animal, often stem cells that are primed to grow. Once these cells are isolated, they are put into a solution that mimics blood and encourages the cells to replicate."
The OU is concerned about where the cells come from. The cells cannot be scraped off a live animal. If the cells come from animal saliva or hair these are not considered to be meat so could be used to produce "clean meat". Another concern is and the constituents in the growth media. The New York Times article says that " just as kosher cows can eat non-kosher insects, he is working from the assumption that the growth solution will not have to be certified as kosher as long as it is cleaned from the surface of the final cells."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W754

Seasons Kosher Supermarkets files for Chapter 11

September 24, 2018 from the Supermarket News:

"Flushing, N.Y.-based Seasons Kosher Supermarkets has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection."
"The kosher grocery chain, with eight stores in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, said it has gained a commitment of up to $6 million in private funding that will enable it to fully stock the shelves, meet current vendor obligations and continue to operate normally during the restructuring."
"Although the original stores saw increased sales and operated profitably, costs, complications and delays with opening new locations drained cash flow, according to Seasons’ bankruptcy filing."


Saddled With $42M In Debt, Seasons Kosher Supermarket Files For Bankruptcy

September 18, 2018 from the Matzav.com:

"A chain of kosher grocery stores, Seasons, with locations on the Upper West Side and Queens, has filed for bankruptcy with $42 million in debt, Commercial Observer reports."
"The company only has $5 million in assets but owes millions to vendors, landlords and banks, according to the Chapter 11 filing obtained via Nationwide Research Company."
"The chain was started in 2010 with a location in Flushing, Queens and eventually grew to include supermarkets in Lakewood, N.J., Clifton, N.J. Scarsdale, N.Y., and two in Lawrence, N.Y."
"After years of delays, Seasons opened its Baltimore, M.D., outpost last year and was still working on a Cleveland store."
"It’s unclear if Seasons will close any stores or is looking for a buyer."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W750

Establishments with a Sukkah 5779 (2018)

Ed. note: Additional information will be added as it becomes available.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W752

Kaz Recalls Stinger Insect Zappers Due to Shock Hazard

September 20, 2018 from the CPSC :
Stinger Insect Zappers are recalled because the insect kill grid can detach inside the housing, posing a shock hazard.
This recall involves Stinger BK series Insect Zapper electric insect/mosquito zapper including the Stinger Insect Zapper (Model BK 110v3), the Stinger 3-in-1 Insect Zapper (Model BK310v3) and the Stinger 5-in-1 Insect & Mosquito Zapper (Model BK510v3). They are black or gray plastic and stand or hang vertically. The units are about 19 inches high and 6 inches wide and require an extension cord to operate outside. The recalled models have codes ending in YTG and Made in China printed on the silver label on the bottom of the product.

Model Number

Product Name

BK510v3 (ULG510YTG)

Stinger 5-in-1 Insect & Mosquito Zapper

BK310v3 (ULG310YTG)

Stinger 3-in-1 Insect Zapper

BK110v3 (ULG110YTG)

Stinger Insect Zapper


Sold At: Home Depot, Ace Hardware, other stores nationwide, and online from April 2018 through August 2018 for between $30 and $80.
Consumer Contact: Kaz toll-free at 888-480-2880 from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday or online at www.Kaz.com or www.stingerproducts.com and click on “Recall” for more information.
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Stinger Insect Zappers, unplug them, and contact Kaz to return the product for a full refund.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W753

U.S. Customs & Border Protection Release Guidelines Regarding Travel With The Arba Minim

September 17, 2018 from the Yeshiva World:

"U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminds travelers of guidance related to the annual Jewish holiday of Sukkos."
"The estimated travel period for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot is from Sept. 14 through Oct. 8. The holiday begins Sept. 23 (after sundown) until Sept. 30 (after nightfall). CBP understands that observant Jewish travelers entering the United States during the Sukkot holiday might carry religious items (ethrogs, palm fronds, twigs of willow and myrtle) in their vehicles if arriving at land border ports of entry, or in their personal baggage if they are arriving by aircraft. These items are regulated to prevent the introduction of invasive pests and diseases; however, these items might be allowed into the United States after inspection by CBP Agriculture Specialists."
"The following guidance is provided for travelers:

  • Single palm fronds, for religious purposes, will be inspected by Agriculture Specialists and released if no pests or symptoms of disease are found.
  • Twigs of Willow:
    • If the twigs of willow are from Europe, they will be prohibited from entering the United States. If they are from other than Europe, they will be inspected by Agriculture Specialists and released if no pests or symptoms of disease are found.
    • Also, if the twigs of willow are green in color, have soft tissue present, or have buds that sprouted, then they are capable of being grown and are prohibited from entering the United States.
  • Twigs of Myrtle:
    • Twigs of myrtle will be inspected by Agriculture Specialists and released if no pests or symptoms of disease are found.

    "If travelers have any concerns resulting from the inspection of their religious items at a port of entry, a CBP supervisor is always available to answer questions and address their concerns. As always, CBP is committed to treating all travelers, including travelers who may be observing Sukkot, with respect and dignity at all U.S. ports of entry."


    Israeli Agriculture Ministry: One May Not Bring Arba Minim Into Israel

    August 23, 2018 from the Yeshiva World:

    The Israeli "Ministry of Agriculture reminds travelers that one may not bring arba minim into the country for Sukkos."
    "As in past years, agents assigned to border control will offer a person bringing arba minim with a personal (non-commercial) product made in Israel, including hadassim, aravos, and of course, a lulav. It should be noted that the passengers are permitted to bring one esrog per passenger."
    "The Ministry of Agriculture makes it clear that those interested in bringing the arba minim to Israel in advance should contact the Plant Protection & Inspection Services of the Ministry of Agriculture."

  • The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W751

    The Vaad Hoeir of St. Louis is changing their kosher symbol.

    September 7, 2017 from the Vaad Hoeir of St. Louis:

    To avoid confusion, the OV is changing their kosher symbol since their current OV sybol is also being used to stand for vegan products.

    Letteer from the OV is here.

    The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W749
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