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Thousands Of Mashgichim in Israel Without Work

December 21, 2021 from The Matzav.com:

"At a meeting of the Knesset Labor and Welfare Committee, chareidi and religious MKs complained that 4,000 mashgichim will lose their jobs when a new law breaking up the role of the Rabbinate in kashrus supervision comes into effect.

"Committee Chairman MK Efrat Reitan-Marom agreed there is no plan or solution for their future welfare."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1226

After years of inconclusive data, new evidence suggests that Seattle’s soda tax is working—and it’s working really well

December 16, 2021 from The Food Dive:

"Armed with three years of grocery shopping data, researchers found that total sugar sales are down by almost 20 percent, driven largely by falling soda purchases.

"In a recent analysis, researchers used a large set of grocery shopping data to track food and drink sales before and after the city of Seattle implemented a sugary drinks tax in January of 2018. The data set itself—gathered by marketing insight firm Nielsen—was huge, representing 45 percent of all food store sales in the city for 2017, 2018, and 2019. To create a control group, researchers also obtained the same data for the nearby city of Portland, Oregon, which doesn’t have a sugary drinks tax in place.

"To account for different sugar levels in various beverages, a team led by Lisa Powell, health policy professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, coded each type of drink by its exact sugar content. In doing so, they found that the total amount of sugar sold through taxed drinks dropped by 23 percent in Seattle compared to sales of the same products in Portland, one year after the implementation of the soda tax. That decline held for the following year as well, suggesting that the dip was not just a fluke.

"But the researchers didn’t stop there. They also wanted to know if shoppers might be getting sugar from other foods instead—a possibility that soda tax opponents have argued would become commonplace. Were Seattle residents simply swapping out Mountain Dew for candy bars? To find out, the researchers also analyzed sales data for untaxed drinks like flavored milk, sweets—which the team defined to include candies, desserts, and baked goods—as well as loose sugar. Over the course of months, Powell’s team painstakingly coded each product sold by its sugar content, and then calculated just how much sales of these products changed after the soda tax went in place.

"They found a slight increase in sugar consumed through untaxed drinks in 2018, which then dissipated in 2019. They also noticed a small, sustained increase in sugar consumed through sweets. In both cases however, those upticks were not large enough to overcome the significant reduction in sugar sold through taxed drinks.

"The findings bolster the city of Seattle’s own early findings about the effectiveness of the soda tax. Last year, researchers at the University of Washington found that low-income families in particular saw a significant decrease in soda consumption following the implementation of the tax. The findings were based on a survey of residents, meaning that it relied on self-reporting, which is less accurate than sales data. However, self-reported numbers play a crucial role in capturing soda sales outside of grocery stores, such as at restaurants and bars, which were not included in Powell’s study.

"The results may have promising public health implications. Almost 60 percent of Americans exceed the Dietary Guidelines’s suggested limit on added sugar consumption. This can contribute to health issues including diabetes and heart disease, making eaters more vulnerable to diseases and more likely to incur higher healthcare costs over the course of their lives.

"Whether these findings might compel other cities to adopt similar policies is still an open question. In response to growing support for soda taxes, food and drink lobby groups have pushed back forcefully to curtail their implementation through a political strategy known as “preemption.” Pioneered by the tobacco industry in the 1970s, this involves lobbying for state-level lawmaking that prevents local jurisdictions from adopting their own public health ordinances.

"And that’s exactly what happened in Washington shortly after Seattle passed its soda tax: In November of that same year, soda companies campaigned successfully for the passage of a ballot initiative banning all future fees on sugary drinks across the state. If Seattle’s neighbors want to pass their own soda taxes, they’ll have to wait for its repeal."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1224

Israeli Report: The Chareidim’s Problematic Eating Habits

December 21, 2021 from The Matzav.com:

"Data from Israel’s Ministry of Health reveals that chareidim purchase sweet drinks at a rate of 79% compared to 51% in the general population.

"Data from Israel’s Ministry of Health reveals that chareidim purchase sweet drinks at a rate of 79% compared to 51% in the general population.

"The Ministry of Health is going to work to promote a comprehensive program to change dietary habits among the chareidi population after it published disturbing data regarding the consumption of harmful food and drink, and the prevalence of diabetes among the chareidi public.

"According to data, consumption of harmful foods was found to be significantly higher among families in the chareidi community compared to the general Israeli public.

"For example, 78% of chareidi households purchase sweet pastries, compared with 60% of the general public. 89% of chareidi families buy sweet snacks compared to 74% in the general public. But above all, in drinking habits, as mentioned, the chareidi public purchases soft drinks at a rate of 79% compared to 51% in the general public.

"A chareidi family spends about NIS 90 a month on sugary drinks, compared to a family in the general public that spends about NIS 65 a month.

"he situation is even more worrying when examining the data of the National Diabetes Registrar, which show that among the chareidi public, diabetes rates are significantly higher than in the general Jewish public.

"According to the data, the largest gap is in the age group of 25-34, according to which a young chareidi person is 15 times more likely to develop diabetes than a young Jew of a non-chareidi background."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1225

New Israeli Tax Injects Sour Note for Sweet Drinks

December 15, 2021 from The Jewish Press:

"The Knesset Finance Committee has injected a sour note into the sale of sweetened drinks with the approval Tuesday of a new tax that will apply to nearly all the beverages on the market.

"Sugared drinks, diet drinks and even natural juice will be taxed, beginning in January 2022.

"The decision is likely to impact thousands of small business owners, restaurants and kiosks as well as larger supermarkets.

"The goal, lawmakers say, is to reduce the public’s heavy consumption of sweetened beverages and compel Israelis to switch to water in the battle against obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cardiovascular disease and dental caries.

"Drinks sweetened with more than five grams of sugar per 100 milliliters (ml) will be taxed at one shekel ($0.32) per liter.
"Diet drinks and natural juice will be taxed somewhat less, at 70 agorot ($0.22) per liter.

"Natural grape juice – consumed on the Sabbath each week and at every holiday for the initial blessing on each of two meals in nearly all Israeli Jewish households – will be exempt from the tax.

"Lemon juice, which is used in cooking and at the table at least weekly and in many households – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – will likewise be exempt."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1223

Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes Fizzled for Preventing Obesity in Kids

December 13, 2021 from The MedPageToday: osher meals available on return flights.

"Real-world study found only modest benefit for adolescent girls in Mexico.

"Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) hardly made a dent in childhood obesity, but may have helped hold rates steady, a new study suggested.

"In an analysis of Mexican adolescents ages 10 to 18, boys saw no change in BMI, overweight, or obesity prevalence in the years after SSB taxes were put into place, reported Tadeja Gračner, PhD, of the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, and colleagues.

"However, these taxes -- affecting drinks such as sodas, energy drinks, bottled teas, fruit juices, and flavored waters -- had slightly more of an effect on girls, the group wrote in JAMA Pediatrics.

"Specifically, for every 10% increase in the city's average price of a SSB, there was a significant 1.3% absolute decrease in both overweight or obesity prevalence for girls within 2 years of the price change.

"And in relative terms, there was a 2.4% and 3% drop in overweight and obesity prevalence for girls, respectively, for every 10% price increase. However, there was no apparent change within the first year after this tax was implemented.

"Prior to the SSB tax, girls that fell into the 75% or higher percentile for BMI saw an average 0.59 drop in BMI percentile. Gračner's group pointed out this equated to roughly a 0.35-kg (0.8 lb) weight loss for girls. There was no change for girls who didn't have overweight or obesity prior to the tax.

"Gračner's group explained that the estimates they quantified were smaller than other modeling estimates they performed in a U.S.-based cohort.

"Of note, Mexican cities that tacked on a SSB tax higher than 10% saw the best outcomes for weight and metabolic changes for girls.

"The researchers pointed out that this finding wasn't surprising, as prior studies found that SSB taxes that were less than 5% typically had little to no effect on weight-related outcomes. That being said, Gračner's group found that cities with taxes of at least 10% to 16.6% had residents with the highest amount of weight loss.

"albe's group emphasized that the key takeaway from this study is that higher taxes on SSB are associated with improvements in weight outcomes. They went on to highlight another microsimulation study that suggested if Mexico increased this tax rate to about 20%, the country could prevent a projected 476,400 obesity cases over 2 years and a projected 107,300 diabetes cases over 10 years."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1222

[Polaris Lounges Will Get Kosher Food!] Exclusive: United Will Finally Restore Kosher Meals Systemwide! Plus, All Kosher Meals From Newark Get An Upgrade!

December 11, 2021 from The DansDeals:

"Update, 12/11: United tells me that they are currently in the process of looking for local purveyors that can supply kosher meals in each of their domestic Polaris lounges! "Polaris lounges are accessible to customers flying Star Alliance international long-haul business or first class. Domestic Polaris lounges are located in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco, and Washington/IAD, though the California Polaris lounges are temporarily closed until sometime in Q1 2022.

"Originally posted on 12/10:

"After months of campaigning to get kosher meals brought back onto United flights, United exclusively tells DansDeals that they will be restoring kosher meal service systemwide!

"Currently, United serves kosher meals on flights in both directions on all Tel Aviv flights and on Newark-London and San Francisco-Sydney flights.

"Here is where you’ll find kosher meals on United:

"Perhaps best of all, United will now serve fresh meals from Fresko on all departures from Newark instead of frozen Borenstein meals!

"You will need to contact United or request a meal under “manage reservations” to request a kosher meal for your existing flights, even if you have kosher meals listed in your preferences. As always, 24 hours advance notice is required."

Ed. note: For Kashrus information about the Fresco kosher meals see https://www.kashrut.com/Alerts/?alert=A7884.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1221

Hungary is Europe’s unlikely leader in kosher foie gras production — to Viktor Orban’s advantage

December 14, 2021 from The JTA:

"Europe’s two kosher foie gras factories aren’t in France, by far the leading consumer of the fatty liver product. Nor are they in England, home to Europe’s second-largest Jewish population.

"Instead, they are both in Hungary — where there are few Jews and no more than half a dozen kosher eateries in total.

"Hungary has been doing more than advocating against restrictions on kosher slaughter, or shechitah. It also gives substantial government subsidies and concessions to kosher slaughterhouses that operate within the country.

"The subsidies, combined with the animal-slaughter policies elsewhere in Europe and the supply chain interruptions induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, has turned Hungary into an unlikely major producer of kosher meat for consumption in Europe and Israel. Among its slaughterhouses are the only two devoted to kosher geese in Europe.

"Following the ban in Belgium, a large slaughterhouse for chickens relocated last year from Antwerp to Hungary to stay in business. And when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shutdown of kosher slaughterhouses in the United Kingdom, the ones in Hungary upped production and one of the abattoirs for geese, Kosher Poultry in the village of Csengele about 75 miles southeast of Budapest, switched to poultry to alleviate the shortages."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1220

GE Appliances, a Haier Company, Recalls to Repair Free-Standing and Slide-In Ranges Due to Tip-Over Hazard

December 8, 2021 - from CPSC in conjunction with Heathy Canadians

Free-Standing and Slide-In Electric and Gas Ranges have been recalled because the ranges can tip over when a heavy object is placed on an open oven door and the anti-tip-over bracket is not secured to the wall or floor, posing a tip-over hazard and risk of burn injuries from hot food or liquids in cookware. This recall involves 30-inch, 24-inch, and 20-inch free-standing and slide-in electric and gas ranges, with seven brand names: GE, GE Profile, Café, Haier, Hotpoint, Crosley and Conservator. The brand name, model number and serial number are printed on a label visible on each unit. Ranges with a serial number that starts with either “HS” or “LS” and ends with “P” and have a model number prefix listed in the chart below are included in this recall.

Brand Model No. begins: Brand Model No. begins:
Café C2S900P Haier QAS740
C2S950P QGAS740
CES700P QSS740
CES750P Hotpoint RAS200
CGB500 RAS240
CGS700 RAS300
CGS750P RBS160
CHS900P RBS360
Conservator VBS160 RGAS300
Crosley XBS360 RGBS200
XGB635 RGBS300
GE JAS640 Profile P2B935
JB256 P2S930
JB480 PGB935
JBS160 PGB965
JBS360 PGS930
JBS460 PGS960

Consumers should contact GE Appliances to determine if their unit is part of the recall and to schedule a free in-home service call to inspect the recalled range’s anti-tip bracket and ensure it is securely installed in the floor or wall. Consumers can continue to use the recalled ranges but are cautioned not to place any objects on the open oven door until the range’s anti-tip bracket has been inspected and repaired, if necessary. Consumers should not return the recalled ranges to the place of purchase, as retailers are not prepared to take the units back. The firm is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Sold At: Lowe’s, Home Depot, Best Buy and other home improvement and home appliance stores nationwide and online from May 2021 through July 2021 for between $580 and $4,600, depending on the model.

Consumer Contact: GE Appliances toll-free at 877-247-9770 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, online at www.geappliances.com and click on “Appliance Recalls” at the bottom of the page or https://www.geappliances.com/ge/recall/ for more information.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1219

University of Toronto Amends Anti-Semitic BDS Motion, Makes Exception for Pro-Israel Kosher Caterers

December 4, 2021 from Israel Hayom:

"The student union at a branch of the University of Toronto said it will modify a ban on kosher food that is part of a resolution endorsing the BDS movement against Israel.

"The school’s Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) passed a resolution at its annual general meeting on Nov. 24 that forbids the school from “engaging with organizations, services or participating in events that further normalize Israeli apartheid.” It also targeted kosher-food options at the university, noting that “efforts should be made to source kosher food from organizations that do not normalize Israeli apartheid.”

"CSU issued an apology on Monday. It said that it will amend the policy to include exceptions allowing students and student groups to access kosher food on campus, reported The Star."

University of Toronto student union bans 'pro-Israel' kosher caterers

November 28, 2021 from Israel Hayom:

"The Scarborough Campus Student Union of the University of Toronto passed a motion last week pledging to exclusively order from kosher caterers who 'do not normalize Israeli apartheid.'

"Outlined in an 86-page meeting agenda, the litmus test to filter out supposed pro-Israel caterers was unclear.

"Still, Jewish students are reportedly worried about not being able to keep kosher

"Last year, the Ivy-league school Columbia University became the 44th school to approve a BDS resolution.

"In comparison, the Canadian Union of Public Employees voted overwhelmingly against a BDS resolution on Thursday.

"'Whether the SCSU likes it or not, Israel is an essential part of Jewish identity," said Daniel Koren, executive director of Hasbara Canada. "They do not have the right to tell Jewish students how to practice Judaism on campus.'

"UofT President Meric Gertler said in a statement that the school 'is opposed to all forms of discrimination, and committed to the protection of freedom of speech and academic freedom. The University was alarmed to learn about two motions passed at the Scarborough Campus Students' Union Annual General Meeting on November 24. Both motions are inconsistent with the University of Toronto's core values of freedom of speech and inclusion.''

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1216

Counterfeiters take advantage of popularity of olive oil menorahs

November 25, 2021 - from World Israel News

"Observant Israelis increasingly like to use olive oil in their Hanukkah candelabras instead of wax candles because of its significance in the holiday’s story. Hanukkah, which this year begins on Sunday evening, is a celebration of how the Maccabees, after defeating the Greeks, were able to light the menorah in the temple in Jerusalem for eight days with a one-day supply of oil— believed to be of the olive variety.

"Those who follow suit want only 100% pure olive oil to use in their menorahs (technically known as hanukkiot) — and that has become more expensive in Israel over time because of tariffs on imports and the rising demand.

"In response, some producers dilute their olive oil with cheaper vegetable oils without disclosing all of the ingredients and lure consumers in with lower prices. The product can still be considered kosher, but it is unacceptable for the observant Jews who want only pure olive oil in their menorahs.

"Israeli authorities perform inspections on dozens of brands each year around Hanukkah and often find oil advertised as pure to contain up to 50% canola or soy. But despite fines and the naming of offenders online, the phenomenon persists.

Israeli alert on fraudulent olive oil is here

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1218
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