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CANCELLED: Pesach Program Forced to Terminate After Hotel Refuses to Deactivate Sensors for Shabbos

February 9, 2017: from Matzav.com:

The Dolce Hotel and Conference Center in Basking Ridge, NJ's refusal to properly disable its motion sensors has forced a popular Pesach program to cancel its plans due to halachic concerns. This hotel recently installed motion and RF sensors in all their sleeping rooms which program organizers were told would be a clear violation of Shabbos and Yom Tov. The Dolce refused to accommodate requests by the Tennenbaums to disengage the system, claiming that none of their other kosher groups were bothered by it.
"Sensors control all amenities in a hotel room, such as lights and heat. When the door closes and no motion is detected, these amenities are shut in order to save money. As soon as the door is opened, before the door is even fully extended, all amenities return to the state in which they were left. Most systems have a VIP override for individual rooms and a full override for the entire hotel that disables the system."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W534

Israeli Police Confiscate 6 Tons of Illegally Slaughtered Meat

February 3, 2017: The YeshivaWorld:

"Police and inspectors of the Ministry of Agriculture and veterinary services confiscated six tons of illegal slaughter, which was taken to be destroyed. The operation took place on Wednesday, 5 Shevat, in Tamra. The owner of the establishment, 31, a local resident, was taken for questioning."
"5.5 tons were apprehended in Tamra and another half-ton in nearby villages. Ads By Artscroll: Click Here!
"Tamra is an Arab city located in the lower Galil, about 20km east of Akko."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W533

Exploring the legal status of edible insects around the world

February 1, 2017: From Food Navigator:

This article reports on how insects in food are regulated around the world. The major differences are in Aglo-Saxon countries including the US, non-English speaking countries and non-Western countried.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W532

Robot Barista Serves Quick Cappuccinos at Cafe X

January 31, 2017: From PC Magazine:

"Cafe X Technologies on Monday opened its first robotic coffee bar in the US, promising speedy specialty brews." "The robot arm prepare the drink—grabbing a cup, initializing pouring, waiting patiently for final delivery."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W530

USDA Strengthens Rules for Organic Livestock and Poultry, Ensures Fairness for Organic Producers and includes Religious Slaughter

January 19, 2017: From FSIS and Halalfocus.net and USDA:

The USDA has published final regulations on how Organic Livestock and Poultry need to be handled. As part of the regulation they are allowing religiously slaughtered animals to be labeled as organic.

Ritual Slaughter: "The final rule adds the term “ritual slaughter” and references the definition in the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (7 U.S.C. 1902(b)). This Act defines ritual slaughter as “slaughtering in accordance with the ritual requirements of the Jewish faith or any other religious faith that prescribes a method of slaughter whereby the animal suffers loss of consciousness by anemia of the brain caused by the simultaneous and instantaneous severance of the carotid arteries with a sharp instrument and handling in connection with such slaughtering. Organic livestock and handling operations may use ritual slaughter to convert their livestock to meat or poultry without loss of organic status."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W529

A New Study Finds Mislabelled Fish

January 11, 2017: From TechnologyNetworks:

"A new study from researchers at UCLA and Loyola Marymount University checked the DNA of fish ordered at 26 Los Angeles sushi restaurants from 2012 through 2015, and found that 47 percent of sushi was mislabelled. Salmon was found to be mislabelled one in 10 times, and out of 43 orders of halibut and 32 orders of red snapper they were all a different kind of fish. A one-year sampling of high-end grocery stores found similar mislabelling rates."
"The fraud undermines environmental regulations limiting overfishing, introduces unexpected health risks and interferes with consumers’ decisions. Over the four-year study, only bluefin tuna was always exactly as advertised. Different kinds of tuna occasionally swapped places, including samples of species classified as endangered and critically endangered. Out of nine orders of yellowfin tuna, seven were a different kind of tuna. Salmon had 6 of 47 orders going awry. However, all halibut and red snapper orders failed the DNA test, and in 9 out of 10 cases, diners ordering halibut were served flounder. About 4 in 10 halibut orders were species of flounder considered overfished or near threatened."
"While some mislabelling could be unintentional, fraud could also result from the desire to skirt environmental regulations or the ability to sell a cheaper fish as a more expensive product." "New federal regulations governing monitoring of seafood imports went into effect Jan. 9 to address the problem. "

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W528

Bought Blue Diamond Almond Breeze or Nut-Thins? You may be eligible for settlement

January 17, 2017: From Al.com:

"Blue Diamond, maker of Almond Breeze and Nut-Thins, has settled a class action lawsuit over claims it advertised the products as "all natural" or "natural" even though they actually contain synthetic agreements. The suit also questioned how much almonds actually went into Almond Breeze, a plant-based alternative to traditional dairy milk."
"The class action suit claimed Almond Breeze advertised itself as being made "from almonds" when in fact the nuts made up only a small portion of the ingredients. An analysis by Food Navigator-USA showed the exact amount of almonds in Almond Breeze was about 2 percent, with the rest being made up of water, sugar, carrageenan (a seaweed-based ingredient widely used for thickening), and sunflower lecithin. Other brands of almond milk contain about 30 percent, the suit claimed."
"The settlement doesn't include an admission of wrongdoing by California-based Blue Almond."
"Blue Diamond has agreed to change its advertising and packaging and pay a $9 million settlement. A portion of the money will go towards payments for anyone who purchased the Blue Diamond Almond Breeze and/or Blue Diamond Nut-Thins products from May 28, 2009 to Nov. 18, 2016."
"Claimants are eligible to receive refunds of up to $20 - $10 for those without a receipt, $20 for those who can prove they bought the items."
"The deadline for claims is April 13." Information on settlement.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W526

Israeli Chief Rabbinate concedes kosher supervision industry needs ‘fixing’

January 17, 2017: From Times of Israel and Arutz 7:

"Moshe Dagan, Director-General of Israel's Chief Rabbinate, said yesterday that the Rabbinate is not happy with the current situation in which "every local regional rabbinate has its own Kashrut policy."
MKs Rachel Azariah (Kulanu) "has submitted a bill that would render the Rabbinate a "Kashrut regulator" instead of a "Kashrut provider." The Rabbinate would provide licenses to private kashrut providers, which would operate according to their own standards.
"The Rabbinate's Dagan said that Chief Rabbi David Lau has established a committee that is to present recommendations, two months from now, for the improvement of kashrut in Israel. He acknowledged that there was no need for "double and triple kashrut certifications" on the same product – caused by private "Badatzim" (private haredi kashrut certifications) that do not accept the Chief Rabbinate's kashrut standards. "There should be two standards," he said: "Basic and mehadrin."
"The Hotam plan, supported also by the Kosharot organization – widely trusted by the religious-Zionist public to evaluate the various kashrut certifications – recommends three different standards: regular, mehadrin, and something in between. The organizations say that this will prevent the confusion that now reigns as to how stringent, or lenient, each local rabbinate is."
"Rabbi Moshe Katz of Kosharot also recommends the establishment of a national kashrut company that will operate according to kashrut rules set by the Chief Rabbinate, but will be responsible for actually employing the kashrut supervisors according to clear criteria that will be available to the public."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W525

Israeli High Court Backs Rabbinate Decision On Meat Incident

January 16, 2017: From Matzav.com:

"The Israeli High Court has again backed a decision of the Chief Rabbinate. This time, the question involved a controversy between the rabbinate and G.H.S. Quality Meats of Haifa, which the rabbinate accused of producing products without rabbinical supervision in another plant. Despite the company’s insistence that the products were being produced illegally by a pirate company outside their control, the rabbinate removed its hechsher and said that it would only return it under extra-strict conditions to ensure that the incident did not recur."
"The court accepted the rabbinate’s position, saying that the circumstances involved in the incident required the rabbinate to behave as it did no matter who was actually responsible for the mislabeling of the treifa meat. Had the rabbinate behaved any differently, it would be betraying its trust, the court said."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W524

Researchers find dangerous tapeworms in Alaskan salmon

January 17, 2017: From FoodSafetyNews:

"Salmon lovers have a new reason to opt for roasted instead of raw. Scientists have documented that the Japanese broad tapeworm has made its way to the waters of the North Pacific and is thriving among the salmon population there."

"Because Pacific salmon are frequently exported unfrozen, on ice, plerocercoids may survive transport and cause human infections in areas where they are not endemic, such as China, Europe, New Zealand, and middle and eastern United States."

From Seafood Health-Parisites"
"Parasites become a concern when consumers eat raw or lightly preserved fish such as sashimi, sushi, ceviche, and gravlax. When preparing these products, use commercially frozen fish. Alternatively, freeze the fish to an internal temperature of -4°F for at least 7 days to kill any parasites that may be present. Home freezers are usually between 0°F and 10°F and may not be cold enough to kill the parasites."
"During commercial freezing fish is frozen solid at a temperature of -35°F and stored at this temperature or below for a minimum of 15 hours to kill parasites. Most home freezers have temperatures at 0°F to 10°F and may not be cold enough to kill parasites because it can take up to 7 days at -4°F or below to kill parasites, especially in large fish. Good handling practices on-board fishing vessels and in processing plants can minimize nematode infestation. Many seafood processors inspect seafood fillets of species likely to contain parasites. This process called candling involves examining fish fillets over lights. Candling detects surface parasites. Unfortunately, they cannot always see parasites embedded deep in thick fillets or in dark tissue."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W523
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