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Food News


Michigan prisons ordered to provide kosher meals to Jewish inmates

October 12, 2021 - from Courthouse News

"An appeals panel said the availability of kosher snacks and dairy products from a commissary is insufficient to satisfy federal standards for Jewish inmates that require specific meals on the Sabbath and other holidays.

"The Michigan Department of Corrections cannot use a one-size-fits-all vegan meal option for inmates with religious dietary needs and instead must provide Jewish inmates with kosher meals and specific dairy products, the Sixth Circuit ruled Tuesday.

"The decision upheld a lower court ruling in favor of the prisoners, who filed a class action in 2013 and prevailed on their claims that snacks provided by a prison commissary did not meet Jewish dietary requirements.

"The MDOC initially contested the sincerity of the beliefs held by lead plaintiffs Gerald Ackerman and Mark Shaykin, but after a bench trial a federal judge granted them relief and ordered the prison system to provide kosher meals and cheesecake on the holiday of Shavuot.

"The MDOC appealed to the Sixth Circuit and the case was argued before a three-judge panel in April.

"Tuesday's decision was unanimous, and held the MDOC must accommodate the sincerely held beliefs of Jewish inmates under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, or RLUIPA."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1204

7-Eleven to open first Tel Aviv store in 2022

October 12, 2021 - from Globes

"Although open seven-days a week worldwide, Franchisee Electra Consumer Products says the store will only operate six-days a week in Israel, remaining closed on Shabbat.

"Electra Consumer Products (TASE: ECP) has signed a 20-year franchise agreement with the US-based international convenience store chain 7-Eleven to operate the brand in Israel, with an option to extend the agreement for a further 50 years.

"Electra Consumer Products plans to invest NIS 60 milion in opening stores throughout Israel, according to the memorandum of understanding that both sides signed in November 2020.

"Electra Consumer Products plans to open 300-400 7-eleven convenience stores around Israel with the first store scheduled to open in Tel Aviv next year.

"Electra Consumer Products already owns control of the Yeinot Bitan supermarket chain. Electra Consumer Products CEO Zvika Shwimmer told "Globes," "We have 140 branches of Bitan and Mega in the cities and we are now entering another sector - convenience stores which will be located in gas stations and city centers. We will be in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Beersheva and towns in the Arab sector, in neighborhoods in busy commercial areas, in hospitals, in universities, and more. We will be a strong player in malls. We have received thousands of enquiries from franchisees and grocery store owners who want to convert their stores. One advantage is that we will have a joint loyalty club for Yeinot Bitan and 7-Eleven.

"Although the stores are open seven days a week worldwide, Electra Consumer Products says the stores will remain closed on Shabbat (Friday night-Saturday) leaving the field open for rivals like AM:PM, and Yellow.

"Electra Consumer Products will also import 7-Select, the chain's private label products, with an emphasis on coffee products."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1203

FDA updates on hand sanitizers consumers should not use

October 4, 2021 - from FDA

FDA has tested certain artnaturals scent free hand sanitizer labeled with “DIST. by artnaturals Gardena, CA 90248” and found unacceptable levels of benzene, acetaldehyde, and acetal contaminants. The agency urges consumers not to use this contaminated product and has added artnaturals hand sanitizer products to the list of hand sanitizers consumers should not use.

To date, artnaturals has not responded to multiple FDA attempts to discuss the contaminated hand sanitizers, including identification of the manufacturer, possible recalls, and the scope of the contamination. Therefore, as of October 4, FDA is urging consumers not to use any artnaturals hand sanitizers.

Benzene may cause certain types of cancer in humans. Animal studies show acetaldehyde may cause cancer in humans and may cause serious illness or death. Acetal can irritate the upper respiratory tract, eyes, and skin. While the exact risk from using hand sanitizer containing benzene, acetaldehyde, or acetal is unknown, FDA recommends consumers do not use products contaminated with unacceptable levels of benzene, acetaldehyde, or acetal.

Consumers who have products on this list of hand sanitizers should immediately stop using the product and dispose of it, ideally in a hazardous waste container. Do not pour these products down the drain or flush them. Contact your local waste management and recycling center for more information on hazardous waste disposal.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1202

Belgian Muslim Organizations Join Jews in Opposition to Ban on Religious Slaughter Following Court Ruling

October 3, 2021: from the Algemeiner:

"Jewish organizations opposed to Belgium’s recently reaffirmed ban on religious slaughtering have been joined by two of the country’s major Muslim organizations."

"Belgium’s Constitutional Court last Thursday upheld the country’s ban on all slaughter of animals that are not stunned beforehand. Both Jewish and Muslim religious dietary laws do not allow for stunning the animal, meaning the ban effectively makes both kosher and haram slaughter illegal."

"The Brussels Times reported Sunday that the Executive Council of the Muslims of Belgium (EMB) and the Coordinating Council of the Islamic Institutions of Belgium are considering an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over the issue."

"The organizations stated that 'the current religious slaughter techniques constitute a fully-fledged alternative to stunning and are perfectly compatible with the requirements of public health, food safety, and animal welfare.'"

"They asserted that the ban is intended to assuage the sensitivities of consumers, and has no real-world benefits."

Following the court’s ruling, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), said that while his group was 'disappointed with today’s judgement, we are certainly not surprised as it upholds the status quo in Belgium.'"

"The ruling, he said, 'brings Belgium into line with those few other countries whose bans on shechita date from the Nazi era.'"

"World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald Lauder said that the decision was 'a continued maneuver to discriminate against Belgium’s Jewish and Muslim citizens.'”

"'By prohibiting religious slaughter without stunning, the Belgium Constitutional Court has placed a potentially terminal obstacle to continued Jewish communal life in Europe,' he asserted."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1201

Sukkot is mostly celebrated outside. That doesn’t necessarily make it safe during COVID-19

From October 1, 2020 but still relevant: from The JTA:

" Sukkot, the harvest festival that Jews celebrate each fall, would seem to be designed for the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, it’s typically observed outdoors in temporary structures, allowing for more of the fresh air that is considered one of the easiest ways to reduce transmission of the coronavirus."

"That’s making the large public sukkahs erected in parks, synagogues and streets in many observant communities especially exciting this year. After months of holiday celebrations that have been hampered by pandemic restrictions, Sukkot offered the prospect of a reprieve."

"But public health experts say it’s important not to be lulled into a false sense of safety during Sukkot just because you’re not inside."

"'While technically outdoors, sukkahs are enclosed much more than a typical outdoor setting,' Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt wrote recently in a message to his community published by 5 Towns Central addressing questions about the High Holidays. Glatt is the chief of infectious diseases and hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau on Long Island, as well as an assistant rabbi at the Young Israel of Woodmere, a large Orthodox synagogue in Long Island’s Nassau County."

"When considering socializing in a sukkah, doctors say the same precautions that apply to other social gatherings should be applied: wearing a mask and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance — a challenge in the structures that often are not that much wider across than that."

"'The general rules for mixing [families] at meals apply just as well to a sukkah,” Glatt wrote about sharing meals in a sukkah. “I would be concerned with mixing unless there was adequate separation (at least 6 feet if not more) between family units.'"

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1200

Welfare labels on meat to say how animal was killed: New law is in pipeline after campaign on halal and kosher livestock that isn't stunned before slaughter

September 13, 2021: from The DailyMail:

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1199

Gas One Recalls Propane Adapter Hoses Due to Fire Hazard

August 18, 2021 - from CPSC.

Gas One propane adapter hoses have been recalled because the hose can swell during use causing gas to leak, posing a fire hazard.

This recall involves Gas One 50140 propane adapter hoses which are designed to be used with propane gas tanks. The hoses include the following model numbers: 50140-08, 50140-012, 50140-05GA, 50140. The recalled propane adapter hoses are part of manufacturer batch numbers Pearl River 3Q20 and Pearl River 4Q20 which i s stamped on the hose.

Consumers should immediately stop using the adapter hose and contact Gas One to obtain a free replacement hose.

Sold At: Online at www.amazon.com, www.ebay.com, www.gasone.com www.homedepot.com and www.walmart.com from December 2020 through February 2021, for between $9 and $18.

Consumer Contact: Gas One at 800-698-5070 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, email at info@pricezoneusa.com or online at www.gasone.com and hover over “Read” at the top of page and then click on “News” or at www.gasone.com/pages/contact for more information.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1198

Chicago Rabbinical Council alert on Schach from Home Depot for Sukkot 2021

September 17, 2021 from cRc:

Until 2017, the cRc recommended certain readily available fencing material (commonly sold in Home Depot) to be used for schach and provided detailed instructions on how to place them on the sukkah. However, based on feedback from consumers on the sturdiness of those materials and how they were being used, we stopped issuing those recommendations [and also stopped researching these types of products] because we determined that there is a reasonable chance that some people will end up not having kosher schach for their sukkah.
We suggest that consumers use traditional schach material such as bamboo poles, tree branches, or mats specifically certified for sukkah use.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1197

Agudath Israel Advocacy Continues to Ease Way for Arba Minim

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

Ben & Jerry’s Israel to Israel’s Competition Authority: Global Ben & Jerry’s Demand for Boycott Illegal

September 2, 2021 - from Jewish Press

"en & Jerry’s Israel’s fight against the demand made by the global owner of the brand to boycott Judea and Samaria entered a new phase when it submitted an official complaint with Israel’s Competition Authority saying that the conduct of the global brand constitutes a serious violation of the terms of the merger between them and Unilever."

"Unilever, which owns the global Ben & Jerry’s, stated in July that it was ending sales in Israel as 'we believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.'"

"'“We have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year,' the company said."

"Avi Zinger, the Israeli license owner, refused Ben and Jerry’s demand to withdraw his sales from Judea and Samaria."

"AQP, the Israeli company that has the franchise to distribute Ben & Jerry’s products in Israel, has, through Adv. Dr. Dori Klagsbald approached Acting Antitrust Commissioner Michal Cohen with a formal complaint alleging a blatant violation of the Competition Authority’s 2000 guidelines for a merger between Unilever, the controlling owner of Strauss Ice Cream, and Ben & Jerry’s Global."

"Under the terms of the merger, it was determined that no action would be taken to reduce the scope of the sale of Ben & Jerry’s products in Israel, out of fear that the food giant might act to reduce competition in the market in favor of Strauss Ice Cream."

"It was further stipulated in the terms of the merger that Unilever will have no right to determine for the Israeli Ben & Jerry’s franchisee the terms of marketing of its products in Israel."

"The official complaint is another stage in AQP’s struggle to keep the franchise in its hands and is appealing to the Competition Authority to intervene and demand compliance with the merger guidelines, and to cancel Ben & Jerry’s global demand from the Israeli franchisee not to distribute and market the brand’s products in Judea and Samaria."

"Several US states have launched a probe against Unilever to determine if its boycott of Israel was a breach of their anti-boycott laws."

"Over 30 US states have laws that prohibit it from contracting with companies that boycott Israel or are connected to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1196
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