December 30, 2010 6:00 pm at 6:00 pm #593855
I recieved a mailing from a major kashrus agency in which they claim to have 500,000 food items that they give a hecsher for.
What to me doesn’t make sense is how can they give hechsheirim on so many products? There is no way that there can be no mistakes happening in the production of all these 500,000 products. It is impossible to be on top of it all.
Indeed, I see constantly notices in the frum newspapers about products that were mislabeled and treif. Exactly, how should a kosher consumer know about all of the products that were mistakenly certified kosher and are really treif?! I feel that many frum people are eating treif unknowingly.
Kosher hescheirim need to be given SPARINGLY and with total control over each ingredient and each labeled food product to SPARE people from eating treif!December 30, 2010 6:18 pm at 6:18 pm #725850
kashrus agencies rely on many kulos that you would never use in your home but are nevertheless 100% kosher.
restaurants do as well.
If you don’t want to trust them, but fresh ingredients and make everything yourself.December 30, 2010 6:20 pm at 6:20 pm #725851
1st, CH, good to see you after your hiatus.
I assume you are talking about something the size of the OU. They have many employees, so it lowers the product/employee ratio to something managable (I think).December 30, 2010 6:28 pm at 6:28 pm #725852shlomozalmanMember
Many products need little, if any supervision.December 30, 2010 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm #725853Meir-123Member
I think you are mistaken about them “relying on kulos that you would never rely on in your own home.” Having personally dealt with the OU on a number of kashrus issues, I know for a fact that they do not rely on kulos (which would be totally fine) and in fact sometimes are machmir for chumros so that they can appeal to broader spectrum.
For instance, they do not rely on any bitul related kulos…December 30, 2010 7:00 pm at 7:00 pm #725855
I am not fully knowledgable in kashrus agencies or restaurants.
I do know that for instance, a restaurant will check a portion of their lettuce if it comes from the same large batch. An individual at home, will check every leaf.December 30, 2010 7:35 pm at 7:35 pm #725856
“There is no way that there can be no mistakes happening in the production of all these 500,000 products. It is impossible to be on top of it all.”
If you believe this to be a true statement, don’t eat products certified by this hechsher.
“kashrus agencies rely on many kulos that you would never use in your home”
This is false.December 30, 2010 8:07 pm at 8:07 pm #725857yitayningwutParticipant
Kashrus agencies rely on many kulos that you would never use in your home.
You are mistaken, in fact the opposite is more correct.December 30, 2010 8:19 pm at 8:19 pm #725858
Not to get into that specific point, but it really depends on the Chazaka of the lettuce @ home or on the road.
For example, Dole prewashed iceburg has a Chazaka of being clean and there is no need (as per my Rov) to check each leaf. He does say one should check 3 handfuls (to maintain the chazaka? IDK) and if those have an issue, each leaf must be checked.
And he is known to be a machmir in these issues.December 30, 2010 8:26 pm at 8:26 pm #725859
GAW, I don’t know about you, but I still check my iceberg lettuce, as does everyone I know (unless its pre-certified as clean).
There are products from various kashrus agencies that I won’t eat because of their practices regarding those specific items.December 30, 2010 9:14 pm at 9:14 pm #725860
SJS: You buy it in a bag or as a head? I am specificly talking about Dole, which has a system of washing that gives it this chazaka.
Of course, you are more than welcome to follow your own chumras, if it doesn’t interfere with anyone else 🙂
There are products from various kashrus agencies that I won’t eat because of their practices regarding those specific items.
The classic example being starkist tuna (which IIRC, you have mentioned before).January 3, 2011 2:43 pm at 2:43 pm #725861
GAW, I buy the bagged lettuce (w/ hechsher) and don’t check. But when I buy a head of lettuce, I always check every leaf.
Things like that are leniencies. Its fine, it just needs to be acknowledged.
The only thing I currently am very careful about is Tuna (we only buy Tuna with a mashgiach tmidi). There were a few other things that my family does that I’ve totally forgotten about because they didn’t affect me. I never bought those products. I probably should find out just in case.January 3, 2011 3:19 pm at 3:19 pm #725862aries2756Participant
I believe that at a kosher shiur I attended with a lecturer from one of the big agencies, he mentioned that kashrus agencies rely on each other for certain basic ingredients such as flour, sugar, salt, spices, etc. Each organization does not have to supervise the production of each ingredient. As long as each ingredient used in the production of the products they supervise has a good hechsher IF it needs one, then its fine.
The companies under supervision must list all their products and submit them to the supervising agency for approval. I believe that by means of their contract, they are not allowed to switch ingredients without approval of the supervising agency.
The reason we find out that things are mislabeled or that things are no longer under a certain supervision, can be attributed to the fact that the agencies are doing their job and inspecting, investigating and supervising. In some cases it is just a matter of shopping for the best price a company can get for supervision.January 4, 2011 6:27 pm at 6:27 pm #725863
SJS and all those who commented in a similiar vein regarding kulos. That’s beside the point. I’m not talking about kulos or chumras. I’m talking about giving hechsheirim on too many products and it’s virtually IMPOSSIBLE to be on top of them all.January 4, 2011 8:39 pm at 8:39 pm #725864Trying my bestMember
If the organization has a gazillion (or whatever number is enough) kashrus inspectors, why not?January 5, 2011 5:59 am at 5:59 am #725865
“kashrus agencies rely on many kulos that you would never use in your home”
This is false.
You are mistaken, in fact the opposite is more correct.
It most likely depends on the individual. For someone who is makpid on cholov yisroel, or pas yisroel, or hashgocha temidis on tuna (or salmon), or bishul yisroel on potato chips, or worms in fish, or non – surgical cows for milk, or heter mechira on Israeli produce, or oil produced in a plant not used for animal fats, or “chassidishe” shechita, or (need I continue?)…
some the national hechsherim would definitely use kulos that he or she would not.January 5, 2011 1:44 pm at 1:44 pm #725866
Daas Yochid, my family is by no means super machmir. But do you check lettuce the way kashrus agencies do?January 5, 2011 2:38 pm at 2:38 pm #725867
I don’t own a greenhouse. But that’s beside the point; I am not actually machmir on every single thing on my list, I’m just making a point that there are many kulos which the kashrus agencies use which many individuals don’t. I don’t deny that in some areas commercial products might be superior. But I will point out that the level of supervision in my home is superior!
I don’t know you personally (at least I don’t think so!) but I would probably be more comfortable eating in your home than in many commercial establishments.January 5, 2011 4:03 pm at 4:03 pm #725868
“I would probably be more comfortable eating in your home than in many commercial establishments.”
Kashrus in commercial establishments is not the same thing as kashrus at a factory, which I believe the original post was discussing.January 5, 2011 8:42 pm at 8:42 pm #725869
You are correct, but I thought the discussion had digressed somewhat since checking lettuce was mentioned. Bagged lettuce could be washed or greenhouse grown, and there is a difference between romaine and iceberg. The checking afterward is just random sampling to ensure that the process was successful at preventing/removing bugs. I assumed that the comparison between checking at home and by a mashgiach was referring to a food service establishment.
My point remains the same; although in some areas, hashgochos are more machmir than individuals, in many areas (more, I believe), they employ kulos which many people would prefer not to.January 5, 2011 9:20 pm at 9:20 pm #725870
It really depends why a product has a hashgacha to begin with. Often it is a marketing tool and the more people the hashgacha reaches, the better it is for the company. If employing a “chumra” is cost effective a compamy will do it. If not, it won’t. Same with the kashrus agency. If word gets out that they are meikel on everything, nobody will rely on the hechsher, which will render it worthless to a large corporation looking for a hechsher. In your kitchen, you have one goal in mind. Commercialy there are a number of goals that have to be met.January 6, 2011 5:13 am at 5:13 am #725871
I mostly agree with you, except for two points (and I’m nitpicking):
1) a hashgocha which is meikil on everything will have a market; there are always people who see a kosher symbol and that’s enough for them. There are two I can think of off hand, but I won’t mention by name.
2) I don’t only have one goal in my kitchen, otherwise I would not buy any processed foods and I would do my own shechita or hire a private shochet. But the balance is different than a commercial establishment (food service or packaged goods). I (hopefully) am more focused on kashrus relative to money and convenience than they are, which is really the essence of my point.January 6, 2011 5:10 pm at 5:10 pm #725872
Trying my best:
“If the organization has a gazillion (or whatever number is enough) kashrus inspectors, why not? “
I don’t believe any kashrus organization that gives hechsheirim on FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND ITEMS has a sufficient amount of mashgichim. Do they have 200,000 mashgichim? No. Even a 100,000 food items is impossible to have a complete chesbon throughout production, packaging and labeling.
The FACT is foodstuff is constantly being updated regarding kashrus and people may not be aware that what they are eating is mislabeled and TREIF, or they may not become aware of that at all.
The fact that such such lists of mislabeled products is an accepted as normal is ridiculous.
Kashrus should not be a massive business with the goal to certify more and more products as “kosher” (I specificly placed the quotation mark by the word “kosher” because the FACT is that some items labeled kosher, are not). Kashrus organizations need to take their kashrus more seriously.
Food establishments, resturaunts and the like, is in a different category than factory produced items and they are ussually more stringently observed than factories by the mashgichim working under these very same huge kashrus companies. There were of course stories of treif sold in food establishments as well, however, in general there is no hefkeres as there is in the mass labeling of “kosher” food items.January 6, 2011 5:43 pm at 5:43 pm #725873MDGParticipant
My understanding of 500,000 products is like this. Let’s say that they are the Hashgaha for Heinze ketchup. There are dozens of “products” included. You have so many different sizes (from the single packet to the industrial tubs) and varieties (corn syrup, sugar, etc). Multiply this for every product and you get 1/2 million. And for every restaurant add like 200 products.January 6, 2011 7:00 pm at 7:00 pm #725874
Heinz Ketchup is a good example of why a hashgocha can certify so many products. It is essentially something which needs little supervision; as long as they are consistent in the ingredients they use (they presumably are because they want every bottle of ketchup to taste the same) and the OU has ensured that they are fine, there is no requirement for a full time mashgiach. They probably don’t use that equipment for anything other than ketchup.
Whether or not ant particular hashgocha is stretched too thin is definitely an important consideration; I’m merely pointing out that it is not impossible to responsibly give hashgocha on hundreds of thousands of products.January 9, 2011 2:09 am at 2:09 am #725875
I would agree with you if there were no need for updates of what kosher and what’s not. These “updates” are constantly listed in the frum newspapers.January 9, 2011 3:56 pm at 3:56 pm #725876
A responsible hashgocha would stay on top of which products’ status have changed and would then take appropriate action. This monitoring can be done off site; hashgocha temidis would still not be required.
Again, I’m not saying that this is always done, just that the large number of certified products does not have to imply poor supervision.
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