Kosher Symbols

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  • #588065

    Jewess
    Member

    Is there a listing of Kosher symbols to help consumers know which ones are trustworthy and which ones are not? I know the popular ones like OU, OK, KafK are okay. I’m not sure about Triangle K and various other shapes K… I’ve been led to believe that a lot that goes on in the Kashrut industry is political and I was wondering if there’s an unbiased website that lists the symbols that really are kosher, backed by an Orthodox Rabbi.

    #708492

    torahis1
    Member
    #708493

    Jewess –

    Listings of hechsher symbols and who stands behind them exist, but it is nearly impossible for “reliability” to be listed as well due to:

    a) differing standards, even among the orthodox.

    b) fear of lawsuits by organizations or individuals who “flunk”.

    What we have done in the past, is get the listing, and then review it with a Rov we rely on and make our own notes as to which is OK and which is not.

    #708496

    Zalman
    Participant

    color purple – If you see no problem with triangle kay, you must be from the crowd that accepts any food product with the letter kay printed somewhere on it.

    #708497

    color purple –

    “The Kashrus industry is purely political and in a very sad state of affairs. I Can Only Try got it right on both points.”

    – Thank you for your kind words, but that was not the point I was trying to communicate.

    There are many, many differences in which hechsherim people rely upon. Some will rely on hechsher “A” for milchig (dairy) and pareve, but not for fleishig (meat). Some people will only eat fleishig if it had a chasidishe schechita.

    The reasons for not using a hechsher are usually a combination of the following two:

    a) the hechsher is not trustworthy (a relative who worked in hashgocho told me of one so-called “Rav Hamachshir” who he wouldn’t trust to say the earth was round).

    b) the Rav Hamachshir (supervising/certifying Rabbi) and/or kashrus organization is absolutely trustworthy, but relies on kulos (leniencies) that you may prefer to be machmir (more stringent) on.

    There are many people who will not use the hechsher of a person who they feel is a yirei shomayim (G-d-fearing person) because of reason b).

    I am concerned that mentioning specific Rabonim or organizations as problematic may be counter-productive and lead to back-and-forth accusations and recriminations. At most, maybe say that “I feel organization B is unreliable based on …”

    It is imperative not to rely on a hashgocho you don’t know without checking it out.

    #708499

    Bentzy18
    Participant

    Since we are talking about hechsherim and the problem with Triangle K, could someone please list some of the practices that they do that could be problematic. This way instead of relying on just politics we can make a decision on where we stand halchagigly. (perosnally I have been told by reliable sources that look into the issues and not rely on hearsay that there are problems. I never looked further but am curious to see where they are more lienant than others)

    #708501

    jphone
    Member

    Betnzy: the only way to determine if a hechsher meets your standards is to call up those behind the hechsher and find out what their standards are.

    It is not a misnomer to say that Kashrus us a business. It is a booming business. companies see “value” in placingkashrus symbols on products even where the symbol says nothing about the actual kashrus of the product. Dont believe me? Call up the OU (I’m not picking on them, but they have a website listing all sorts of contact information for kashrus related questions)and ask them what their symbol on a container of milk means to a kosher consumer. When you get the answer, then ask them, “then why put it there?”. You will see, it is a business. It is a kashrus symbol, but also a marketing symbol.

    #708502

    I missed this earlier:

    – If the ingredients are OK they will not need to be changed, but yes, a new mashgiach can, and often does, require that all equipment be koshered or replaced.

    – Please make sure any info you get is about the current Rabbi Ralbag and not his father, alav hashalom.

    – This is almost impossible to do since:

    It is therefore necessary to consult someone who you know to be trustworthy with questions about hashgochos.

    #708503

    Jothar
    Member

    There is a famous rule in kashrus- those who know don’t say and those who say don’t know. there are people who stir the pot on both sides- those who say all kashrus is more machmir and those who say all kashrus agencies are treif. The important thing is to find a rov you trust and go by what he says.

    #708504

    jphone
    Member

    I can only try:

    – This is almost impossible to do since:

    JPHONE:

    If you dont know what your standards are, or what they should be, then find a Rav and follow what he says. My response was directed to someone who implied the knew what they wanted but didn’t know how ot find the info.

    I can only try:

    JPHONE:

    No arguments from me here either. Again, my comment was directed towards someone who implied he knew what he wanted but had was not sure how to get that information.

    #708506

    Jewess
    Member

    Thank you Torahis1.

    #708507

    I misunderstood what you were saying – thank you for the clarification.

    A couple of things that I could have expressed more clearly:

    “when the seals of incoming merchandise are broken” – At what point and with which person(s) present should the seals be opened, not what to do if the seal is discovered to be broken.

    “It is therefore necessary to consult someone who you know to be trustworthy with questions about hashgochos.” – applies to both a) and b) above. A blank line should have been inserted before this sentence for clarity’s sake.

    #708508

    YNW
    Member

    Bentzy 18

    Some agencies trust the factory to kasher equipment, some require a mashgiach present.

    Some always rely that stam kailim eino ben-yomo, some require proof.

    Some permit all beef gelatin, some dont.

    As someone allready pointed out, the cRc has a list online at http://crcweb.org/kosher/consumer/Agency_List.html

    #708509

    zvitusk
    Member

    a couple of points.

    1. having over 20 years experience in Hashgocha work

    2. for information regarding products and hechshairim, i have found that the Star-K HOTLINE @ 410-484-4110 IS AN EXCELLENT SOURCE OF INFORMATION. IF THEY SAY “IT’S NOT RECOMMENDED”, DON’T EAT IT.

    3. THE crc website is excellent.

    4. the Assoc. of Kosher Organizations is a good barometer of reliability. considering the depth of ingredients required to manufacture a finished product, the reliable Kashrus organizations banded together to cooperate with each other. you can ask the hechsher that you are questioning if the are a member of this group. the rubberstamp hashgochos would not be.

    EDITED

    #708513

    jphone
    Member

    “Perhaps if people spent less time worrying so much about the all the different Kashrut agencies and more time watching what they say, the geula would be a lot closer.”

    Who was it that said “people should be as careful with what comes out of their mouth as with that whicg goes in”?

    “What is a hashgacha if not THE PERSON? The reason you can eat a product is because a reliable person (eid eched) says so”

    Hechsherim have many people who work for them. Not only are you relying on their opinions when it comes to hilchos kashrus, but also their ability to police those who work for them, often from tens of thousands of miles away.

    #708516

    Sacrilege
    Member

    I just got back from Trader Joes and a lot of their Kosher symbols I dont recognize.

    Does anyone know if KSA or KA or the weird one with a sickle looking thing and a K in it are good Hechsherim?

    #708517

    smartcookie
    Member

    I’m reading this thread for the first time. I can’t believe the Loshon Hora here whether you trust the hechsher or not.

    #708518

    mamashtakah
    Member

    Sacrilege, I know when we used to shop at Trader Joes they had a list of all the hechsherim on products in the store, which organization they were from, and a contact name and phone number for each one. Ask at the store, maybe they still do this.

    I LOVED going to Trader Joes. They had the best chocolate non-fat yougurt – I used to buy it by the case! (It wasn’t cholov yisrael.)

    #708519

    not I
    Member

    KA is actually an Australian hechsher. You will not see it on many products in the US. They are machshir on Corn Thins. For that is reliable. I know that the Chassidish Rov in Melbourne, Australia gave his OK on that product as well.

    #708520

    KSA if a Rabbi Lisbon from California, most people I know hold from his hecksher. The KA, if it’s the hecksher from Arizona, the hecksher is suspect.

    EDITED

    #708521

    AinOhdMilvado
    Participant

    Be aware that the hashgacha symbol of a capital K and a small o, i.e. – “Ko” in a square, represents a hashgacha with a website that seems very frum, but the head of it has been the rabbi of a “conservative” congregation for decades.

    Draw your own conclusions.

    #708522

    apushatayid
    Participant

    KSA information:

    Kosher Supervision of America (KSA)

    P.O. Box 35721, Los Angeles, CA 90035

    (310) 282-0444, Fax – (310) 282-0505

    Rabbi A. Tzemach Rosenfeld, Senior Kashruth Co-ordinator

    Email: rabbirosenfeld@ksakosher.com

    Website: http://www.ksakosher.com

    #708523

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Try this link, for a pretty extensive (although probably not all inclusive) listing of certifying agencies, and their contact information.

    http://www.kashrut.com/agencies/#__AU

    Note added by moderator, on this website is printed (but might be missed):

    “Inclusion of an agency on this list does not constitute an endorsement by Kashrut.com of their supervision or standards.”

    this is just a listing, not all are necessarily accepted heksharim.

    #708524

    Sacrilege- The best thing to do is to go the web site of Kashrus Magazine, and they have a pdf listing of hechtsherim around the world. They have an Office in Brooklyn. You can contact them by phone, maybe ask them how you can take out a subscription for Kashrus Magazine. Then maybe your Kashrus Questions will be answered. I Subscribed several years ago for a year, and it was well worth doing so.

    #708525

    qaws
    Member

    I was on a JetBlue flight a couple of weeks ago and one of the snack choices was Linden’s Chocolate Chip cookies. The CRC said that the hechsher, ‘Ner Tamid K’ is NOT reliable.

    #708526

    Sacrilege
    Member

    yank

    My family actually has a subscription… I just want to know if they are reliable.

    #708527

    Rak Od Pa'am
    Member

    For an article on kosher gelatin and the policies of several kashrus services by a vegetarian see http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Gelatin%3A+sometimes+kosher+but+still+not+typically+vegetarian-a0188350439

    #708528

    Rak Od Pa'am
    Member

    GELATIN IS A COMMON INGREDIENT IN MANY different food products, such as desserts, candy, and yogurt. It also has many pharmaceutical applications, including being a major component in many capsules and vitamins. To date, food technologists haven’t been able to synthesize gelatin in a lab or find a vegetable equivalent that has all of gelatin’s unique properties–such as its ability to make water bind to other ingredients, giving foods consistency; to stabilize foams and gels; and to impart a smooth taste to certain foods–all at the same time. For vegetarians, gelatin presents problems because it is derived from collagen, a component of the skins and bones of animals.

    In 2007, the writer noticed the use of the phrase ‘kosher gelatin’ on some ingredient statements, including the one for McDonald’s yogurt. When asked about the source of the ‘kosher gelatin,’ McDonald’s informed the writer that it was “from an animal source.” No further information was given. After further research for this report, we discovered that there is no uniform meaning to the term ‘kosher gelatin

    The VRG contacted four major kosher certifying agencies that certify kosher food products in the United States today–Star-K, OK, the Orthodox Union (OU), and KOF-K–to clarify the meaning of kosher gelatin. These four agencies are considered “normative mainstream” by J.M. Regenstein, a Jewish food technologist who has published extensively on kosher food laws.

    Star-K said, “Kosher gelatin is derived from kosher animal sources. Gelatin derived from pig would not be considered kosher. Kosher gelatin is derived from kosher slaughtered and processed bovine sources or from kosher species of fish. Gelatin derived from fish is permitted in yogurt or other dairy foods according to most opinions.”

    Star-K also told us their position on the use of gelatin (a meat product) in yogurt (a dairy product). “There is debate among authorities if bovine gelatin, which is derived from animal skins or bones, can be eaten with dairy. Star-K would not allow for use of kosher bovine gelatin in yogurt or other dairy foods.” These facts may present technical difficulties for yogurt makers who wish to attain kosher certification for their gelatin-containing yogurt. Fish gelatin does not have the gelling strength needed in yogurt.

    In e-mail correspondence, Miriam Wudowsky of the OK kosher certifying agency said, “Kosher gelatin is made from kosher fish and/or agar agar. The OK never uses anything made from pig or other nonkosher animals.”

    The OU does certify as kosher the bovine gelatin derived from cattle slaughtered in kosher fashion. To the best of our knowledge, there are two companies that produce gelatin certifiable according to OU standards. One of them is Glatech Productions, a New Jersey-based company that produces Kolatin[R] brand kosher gelatin. An officer at Glatech told us that Kolatin[R] is derived from the hides of glatt

    (a Jewish term referring to an animal whose internal organs are adhesion-free) kosher cattle raised in the U.S. and slaughtered in kosher fashion.

    There are other kosher-certifying agencies that will certify as kosher food products containing pig-derived gelatin. Ko Kosher of Philadelphia is one such agency. They certify products from more than 200 companies, including General Mills, Hershey Foods, Jelly Belly, and GNC. According to Rabbi Novoseller of Ko Kosher, gelatin is not a food. At one time during its processing, when the bones and hides of animals are treated with acid during the gelatin extraction process, gelatin was not a food. In fact, it was “inedible even to a dog,” referring to a commonly known Jewish test of what is or is not a food. According to Jewish dietary laws, “If something is not a food, it cannot be non-kosher.” Therefore, according to Rabbi Novoseller, gelatin is kosher, regardless of animal species and slaughter method

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Gelatin%3A+sometimes+kosher+but+still+not+typically+vegetarian-a0188350439

    #708529

    AinOhdMilvado
    Participant

    Chad pami…

    I referred to the “Ko” hashgacha in my comment above.

    According to information I received, Rabbi Novoseller has been the rabbi of a conservative shul for decades, so as I said above -draw your own conclusions regarding his “p’sak”.

    #708530

    Restaurants can be even more confusing then store bought products. In Queens there is a proliferation of “strange” hechshers that call themselves Orthodox, particularly on all those Bucharian eateries. And in Brooklyn, where every restaurant has a hechsher from a different Rav, many of whom I’ve never heard of with regards to kashrut, it can be very confusing. When an establishment is under a well known Vaad, it makes life a lot easier! Go 5Town and Queens!

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