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Initiative Makes Kosher More Accessible in U.S. Navy

August 16, 2023: from the Chabad.org:

"When Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel DiLiscia sets out this month for two years on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier, the nuclear engineer and electrician is hopeful that his kosher-food experience will be better than it was during his first five years in the military. DiLiscia has endured long periods both on land and at sea, where he described himself as a “starving serviceman.”

"When he deployed on the USS Roosevelt just before Chanukah, 2020, kosher MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat—shelf-stable, self-contained food rations) did not arrive on the ship.

"'From Chanukah until Pesach, I ate salad with beans and tuna from cans. Your mouth goes numb. I started to look for kosher hot sauce to put on it. I worked 20 hours a day, was malnourished and lost 35 pounds.'

"As Passover approached, and DiLiscia and his shipmates were in the South China Sea, he was gearing up for a holiday without matzah and other kosher provisions. “The kosher kits were stuck in Australia,” he laments. 'Three hours before Pesach, a Pesach miracle occurred—boxes and boxes of matzah and other food arrived!'

"Thanks to a recent collaboration between the Navy, Chabad, the Aleph Institute and the Orthodox Union, eating nutritious kosher meals daily will be much easier for Jewish sailors on many of the 280 Navy vessels, which include aircraft carriers, cruisers and destroyers.

"New Agreements Cut Through Red Tape: While kosher food has technically been available for Jewish sailors for many years, sailors on board various naval vessels began sharing some of their frustrations and difficulties keeping kosher with Rabbi Elie Estrin, military personnel liaison for the Aleph Institute and editor of The Jewish-American Warrior.

"'There was kosher food on ships before,” said Estrin. “The issue was how to provide each type of ship with a unique and workable system.” He points out that different types of ships have different systems, storage capacities and methods for restocking at sea, and that keeping kosher aboard a naval vessel involves complex logistics, including carefully scripted food menus, limited storage space and resupply opportunities, and strict fire-safety and food-handling measures necessary on the Navy’s ships. “We set out to bridge the gap and show the Navy that they have kosher food on board and that it is not difficult to solve.'

"Standardizing New Systems With the Orthodox Union: After compiling feedback from kosher-observant sailors, Estrin patiently and systematically began to address the issues with the Navy in 2019. The process started with brainstorming sessions and phone conferences with the Navy’s senior Jewish chaplain, Cmdr. Aaron Kleinman, and a third individual, a Jewish Navy Supply Corps officer. They met with senior logistics officers who began studying the various problems and possibilities.

"While these conversations did not resolve every issue, a significant breakthrough occurred when Rabbi Eli Eleff got involved. Eleff, rabbinic coordinator and community relations for OU Kosher—the world's largest kosher supervisory agency—began consulting with Aleph on questions regarding military chaplaincy. Estrin quickly realized that Eleff had both the food systems knowledge and the organizational impact of the OU to move the process forward. A team got to work.

"Eleff worked closely with Kleinman, who was now stationed at Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia, and other senior Navy officials at Atlantic Fleet Force Command. Kleinman obtained permission for Eleff and senior OU kashrut supervisor Rabbi Daniel Sharratt to tour three ships docked at Norfolk Naval Base, including the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, the amphibious assault vessel USS Bataan and the destroyer USS Cole. Chaplain Capt. Brian Stamm, Atlantic Fleet Force Command Chaplain, led the tour, accompanied by both Kleinman and Estrin.

"The work of the rabbis helped the Navy see that they were already on the road to providing a kosher experience to their sailors. The team found that 80% of dry foods and the fruits and vegetables used were already certified kosher or were inherently kosher.

"In addition, it became clear to the senior Navy staff that complications arise when foods are prepared in kitchens that cannot be made kosher. The rabbis helped the Navy see that there were usually simple ways to allow sailors to enjoy three nutritious kosher meals each day aboard most Naval vessels—as long as there is good communication and clear explanations about the basics of kashrut.

"Eleff and Sharratt next prepared a comprehensive report, which will be distributed to Naval supply officers, chaplains and Jewish sailors. It provides guidelines for requisitioning kosher supplies and how to use kosher meals on different classes of vessels."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1435

Illinois Governor Vetoes Bill Requiring Public Facilities to Serve Kosher, Halal Meals

August 16, 2023: from the Algemeiner:

"Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) has vetoed a bill that would have mandated public facilities to provide halal and kosher meals to students, inmates, hospital patients, and others.

"The Faith by Plate Act, which had the support of many Orthodox Jews and religious Muslims, would have required state-owned or state-operated facilities such as schools, prisons, and hospitals that provide food services to offer halal and kosher options upon request when provided with notice.

"Pritzker said in a veto message issued on Friday and shared with The Algemeiner that the measure would have the state board of education play too large a role in school lunch programs.

"Pritzker added that local policy on religious dietary accommodations is based on guidance issued by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.

"Lawmakers initially proposed the bill at the urging of Muslim and Jewish parents who had to scrupulously check the lunch menus of their childrens’ schools for dishes not prepared in accordance with dietary standards set by their faiths."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1434

Saxco International Recalls Carboys Due to Laceration Hazard

August 10, 2023 from the CPSC:

Carboys: The glass can break due to improper cooling processes, posing a laceration hazard to consumers.

Consumer Contact: Saxco International LLC toll-free at 877-641-4003 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, email at productrecall@saxco.com or online at www.Saxco.com/productrecall or www.saxco.com and click on “Important Safety Recall” for more information.

This recall involves carboys which are glass jugs used for holding and transporting various liquids, including beer, wine, cider and mead made by consumers in their homes. The carboys were sold in three-, five-, six- and six-point-five-gallon sizes. The carboys have the Saxco logo on the bottom of the carboy. The carboys were sold individually or in TrueBrew or HCS equipment kits (for five- and six-gallon carboys).

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled carboys and return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Sold At: Various stores nationwide and online from September 2022 through March 2023 for between $16 and $31 for carboys sold individually and for between $90 and $150 when sold in a kit.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1433

Sensio Recalls Bella, Bella Pro Series, Cooks and Crux Electric and Stovetop Pressure Cookers Due to Burn Hazard

August 10, 2023 from the CPSC:

Electric and stovetop pressure cookers have been recalled because the pressure cooker’s lid can unlock and be removed during use, causing the hot contents to unexpectedly splash out, posing a burn hazard to consumers.

Consumer Contact: Sensio toll-free at 855-647-3125 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at https://recall.sensiobrands.com, which may also be accessed from https://bellahousewares.com and https://cruxkitchen.com by clicking on “Pressure Cooker Recall” in the Home Page banner and then on “Click here for more info,” or by clicking on “Recall Information” at the bottom of the home page under the “Pressure Cooker Recall” section.

This recall involves Bella, Bella Pro Series, Crux, and Cooks electric pressure cookers, and Bella stovetop pressure cookers. The stainless-steel electric pressure cookers are six-, eight-, and 10-quart capacity. The stovetop pressure cookers are five-, eight-, and 12-quart capacity. The item or model number of the recalled pressure cookers is printed on the permanent on-product label or imprinted stamp on the bottom of the cookers. The item or model numbers of the recalled pressure cookers are:

Brand Electric Pressure Cooker Item No. Size Stovetop Pressure Cooker Model No. Size
Bella 14467 6-Qt JY-PC20US-5P 5-Qt
14570 6-Qt JYPC24US-8P 8-Qt
14595 8-Qt JY-PC26US-11P 12-Qt
14682 8-Qt
14710 6-Qt
14718 8-Qt
14719 6-Qt
14780 10-Qt
Bella Pro Series 90072 6-Qt
90073 8-Qt
Crux 14721 8-Qt
Cooks 22276 6-Qt

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled pressure cookers and contact Sensio for a refund.

Incidents/Injuries: Sensio has received 63 reports of incidents, including 61 burn injuries, some of which involved second and third degree burns to the face, torso, arms, and hands.

Sold At: JCPenney, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Macy’s and Target stores nationwide, and online at Amazon.com and other websites from September 2015 through September 2020 for between $30 and $70 for the electric pressure cookers and for between $8 and $18 for the stovetop pressure cookers.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1432

Allergic to Milk? Some Dark Chocolate Labeled as Dairy-Free May Still Contain Milk

posted August 7, 2023 from the FDA:

"NOTE: This Consumer Update sheds light on the results of a recent FDA survey on dark chocolate products with dairy-free claims.

"If you’re allergic to milk and you love dark chocolate, how do you know whether you can indulge in a dark chocolate bar without having an allergic reaction? That’s what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wanted to learn.

"Milk is a permitted ingredient in dark chocolate, but it is also one of eight major food allergens (substances that can cause reactions that are sometimes dangerous). U.S. law requires manufacturers to label food products that are major allergens, as well as food products that contain major allergenic ingredients or proteins. The eight major food allergens are milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.

"Some dark chocolate products are made without milk as an ingredient, but milk has sometimes been found in these products. Why the problem? In part, it’s because milk can get into a dark chocolate product even when it is not intentionally added as an ingredient because most dark chocolate is produced on equipment that is also used to produce milk chocolate. In these cases, it is possible that milk may inadvertently wind up in the dark chocolate. If a dark chocolate product is labeled as “dairy free,” the FDA expects that it should not contain milk.

"Allergens contained in a food product but not named on the label are a leading cause of FDA requests for food recalls, and undeclared milk is the most frequently cited allergen. Chocolates are one of the most common sources of undeclared milk associated with consumer reactions.

"Milk in Dark Chocolate: What We Found: The FDA released the results of a new survey of dark chocolate products collected during 2018 and 2019. The survey covered products that are labeled as “dairy free” or with similar claims. The FDA found that four of the 52 products sampled (12 of 119 samples), all dark chocolate bars, had potentially hazardous levels of milk allergen. The levels, ranging from 600 to 3,100 parts per million (ppm), had the potential to cause severe reactions in consumers with milk allergy. All four products were recalled."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1431

Hindus Claim Baskin-Robbins Does Not Disclose Meat In Ice Cream

August 1, 2023 from the Patch.com:

"Baskin-Robbins, the Canton-based multinational ice cream chain, is under fire by a Hindu statesman due to accusations that the company does not disclose that its rocky road ice cream contains beef gelatin.

"Rajan Zed, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, recently said in a news release that Baskin-Robbins confirmed to him that the gelatin in its rocky road ice cream comes from both porcine and beef—sources which are not explicitly mentioned in the ingredients list shown on packages.

Information from the editor:

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1430

Want more people to buy your vegan or vegetarian products? So don’t label them as such

July 21, 2023 from the DeleciousFood:

"Experts continue to believe that consumers should be encouraged to eat less meat to reduce climate emissions. The UK’s Climate Change Committee, for example, recently recommended a 20% reduction in meat consumption by 2030, rising to 35% by 2050.

"However, consumer appetite for meat and dairy is growing amid the consolidation of plant-based brands.

"Labeling meat-free foods as ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ does more harm than good, with meat eaters ‘significantly less likely’ to choose these meals when labeled as such, a new study has found. However, the removal of these labels did not lead to vegans/vegetarians accidentally choosing options with meat.

"The researchers conducted two experiments. In the first, nearly 160 students at an event could choose either a hummus wrap made with only vegan ingredients or a Greek salad containing dairy: feta cheese. For some participants these dishes were labeled as vegan or non-vegan options, for others they were not labeled.

"The results revealed that the first option was preferred by participants who saw the form without a label. In contrast, participants who saw the labeled form preferred option two instead.

"In a second online study, nearly 700 participants were asked to hypothetically choose from five menu options. These were vegetarian or meat-based; vegan or meat; vegan or vegetarian; or completely vegan or vegetarian.

"Similarly, for the first study, for some participants the options were explicitly labeled vegan and vegetarian, while others could only see the list of ingredients. Again, the results revealed a negative effect of labelling, with around 10% choosing a vegetarian or vegan meal in the absence of labelling."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1429

Good or bad? Plant-based and cow’s milk are not always nutritionally equal, study says

July 25, 2023 from the CNN:

"The plant-based milk market is exploding, offering beverages made from seeds, nuts, legumes, grains and blends of those ingredients, often marketed as ready replacements for the traditional choice of cow’s milk.

"However, not all of those plant milk options are fortified to meet the levels of various nutritional ingredients contained in dairy, according to a new unpublished study presented Monday in Boston at Nutrition 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition.

"The study analyzed nutrition labels and ingredients for 233 plant-based milk products from 23 different manufacturers and found only 28 of the beverages had as much or more protein, vitamin D and calcium as cow’s milk.

" After analyzing the labels, the researchers found 170 of the 233 alt-milk options were fortified with calcium at levels similar to the average 300 milligrams of calcium per 8-ounce glass found in dairy milk. Those same 170 products were also fortified with similar levels of vitamin D as dairy. (Cow’s milk doesn’t contain vitamin D naturally, so it is always added.)

"Specifically, 76% of the oat-based milks, 69% of the soy-based products, and 66% of almond-milk alternatives were fortified with both calcium and vitamin D, according to the study.

"Cow’s milk is naturally a bit sweet due to a naturally occurring sugar called lactose. Oat milk is similar, in that enzymes break down starches and other complex sugars into maltose, a natural form of sugar. Other plant milks may not be naturally sweet, and Johnson found a few brands used added sugars to compensate.

"Next, the team analyzed protein levels. Only 38 of the 223 milk alternatives had a protein level greater than or equal to the 8 grams of protein typically found in every 8-ounce glass of dairy milk, the study found. "

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1428

DISASTER: Kosher Meat Prices To Skyrocket By Up To 79%

July 19, 2023 from the Yeshiva World:

"Prices on kosher meat products are expected to skyrocket next week due to a “drastic” price hike by a large wholesaler.

In a message sent to stores, Springfield Wholesale Meat Distributor wrote: 'Regretably, we have been informed by Solomon’s of a drastic price increase on domestic beef that will be implemented beginning this week.'

"This will result in significantly higher prices on meats with shipping dates on and beyond Monday, July 24th.

The email included a list of meats and their respective wholesale price increases, which can be seen here

Your Fourth of July cookout will cost you less this year, according to American Farm Bureau

July 3, 2023 from the CNN:

"Good news for your Fourth of July cookout — it’s more affordable than last year. Families can expect to pay $67.73 for a party of 10, down 3% from last year’s record high, according to a survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

"he cost of beef was up 4% this year to $11.54 for 2 pounds due to the cost of feed for cattle and decreased herd size."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1427

Soojimus Recalls CUPKIN Stainless Steel Children’s Cups Due to Violation of Federal Lead Content Ban (Recall Alert)

June 20, 2023 from the CPSC:

CUPKIN Double-Walled Stainless Steel Children’s Cups have been recalled> The stainless-steel cups contain levels of lead that exceed the federal lead content ban. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.

Consumer Contact: Soojimus toll-free at 888-721-0096 Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT, email at CPSC@Cupkin.com, or online at https://www.cupkin.com and click on “Voluntary Recall of our Kids Cups” at the top of the page for more information or https://www.cupkin.com/pages/recall and click on https://www.cupkin.com/pages/recall-refund to fill out the Recall Refund Request form and click “Submit Form” at the bottom of page when you have completed the form.

Description: This recall involves improperly manufactured 8 oz. and 12 oz. models of CUPKIN Double-Walled Stainless Steel Children’s Cups sold in pairs. Both sizes of the recalled cups were sold in 12 different color combinations including a matching straw: blue and green, pink and purple, blue and gray, peach and teal, black and white, coral and yellow, green and pink, polignac and potpourri, brown and peach, rust and salmon, aqua and periwinkle, and cobalt and mint. "Cupkin" is printed on the front bottom of the cups.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the cups away from children and stop using them. Contact Soojimus for a full refund. Soojimus and Amazon are contacting all known purchasers directly.

Sold At: Online at Amazon.com and Cupkin.com from January 2018 through March 2023 for about $20.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1426
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