OU kashrus is not reliable?

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  • #1214327
    The Queen
    Participant

    29: I’m not convinced. I agree with bar abba. A person spots the OU symbol whether in front back side top or bottom, grabs it and buys. He doesn’t necessarily spend any time analyzing the package or reading it. It is misleading to put the OU on the package if not everything inside is OU.

    #1214328

    Queen, you should really side with Joseph then, not popa. Popa was just being argumentative, Joseph really thought out his side on the issue.

    To be truthful, I do see it this way but don’t really care if someone agrees or not as it is beyond irrelevent in the big scheme of things. Just another case of societies cognitive decline.

    Just from your and popa’s comments, though, I would guess (with room to be wrong) that you didn’t see the package but are going on what you are reading.

    #1214329
    The Queen
    Participant

    Right. Still, having an OU symbol on a package ( I don’t care where) can cause people to eat food without a hechsher and is therefore not right.

    #1214330

    Except if you see what you are commenting on, you may realize it is not quite what you read.

    And I think there is a picture in the news article on the front page.

    #1214331
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    That’s exactly my point pops. You DON’T analyze, you just read. But when you look for the ingredients on the panel, you can’t not notice that there are three to choose from. Do you sometimes see the word SOUP and think that’s an OU too because you just picked it up and ran?

    I don’t look at the ingredients on most things I eat. So I’m not sure what your angle is on that.

    If you ordinarily DO read the ingredients on each label, then your thinking here makes sense. Be advised, you are in the minority.

    #1214332

    No, I don’t read the ingredients on any labels but, and I assume this confirms that you were speaking without having looked at the package, hershey’s puts their OU in the ingredients paragraph. If you want to see an OU, you need to find the ingredients and check the last or last two tiny characters in the tiny paragraph. If you don’t know to look there, you wont know there is any hechsher at all (which would happen to anyone not familiar with their procedure)

    So that’s my angle.

    #1214333
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    No, I did look at the package before commenting on this story.

    So I’m back to not being sure what your angle is.

    #1214334

    Aw, well I hope you’ll be okay with that.

    In general best practice is to have a clue before weighing in.

    #1214335
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Ah, we’re up to insults? I’m all in.

    #1214336

    No, actually I wasn’t. But feel free if that’s what works for you.

    #1214337
    apushatayid
    Participant

    I did not see the packaging in question so can not and will not say anything about it.

    I did read Rabbi Hoffman’s article. In it he state’s the outer packaging state’s there are Kosher and non Kosher items inside. How big or small was this statement? How close to the ingredient panels where there was an ou was this statement? Did people buy this candy in a large non Jewish supermarket such as shop rite or wegmans or in Jewish stores such moishes or season’s or the like?

    #1214338
    Joseph
    Participant
    #1214339

    Pictures are linked in the article. It shows the front, the back with the ingredient panels including the tiny OU’s on two of the three panels, and the message.

    #1214340
    apushatayid
    Participant

    Yes but on my smartphone screen the pictures are useless

    #1214341

    sorry

    #1214342
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    No, actually I wasn’t. But feel free if that’s what works for you.

    Ok. Feel free to explain the intent of your previous post then.

    #1214343
    apushatayid
    Participant

    Would a single flavor of jolly ranchers have an ou in front or only at ingredients panel. If normally in front and this didn’t have one and you find three ingredient panels 1) What prompted to lookc at panel to begin with if normally don’t do so and 2) why read only one ingredient panel and look for ou there if that is the norm, if there are three panels.

    #1214344
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Would a single flavor of jolly ranchers have an ou in front or only at ingredients panel. If normally in front and this didn’t have one and you find three ingredient panels 1) What prompted to lookc at panel to begin with if normally don’t do so and 2) why read only one ingredient panel and look for ou there if that is the norm, if there are three panels.

    That’s a lot of analysis. Do your ordinarily keep track of each product like that?

    I don’t. I look all over for a hechsher until I find one. Then I eat it.

    #1214345

    I look all over for a hechsher until I find one. Then I eat it.

    You shouldn’t. There are too many vagaries, vaguenesses, and plain errors to not actually be careful about labels.

    See, for example:

    OU kashrus is not reliable?

    Also, the OU should be more careful if people are really being nichshol, although it should be the individuals’ responsibility to read labels carefully.

    #1214346
    squeak
    Participant

    This is why I grow my own food and avoid all commercially produced and packaged foods. All my meat comes from a chabura that I run and oversee personally. I stock fish in a pond on my property that I bred from fish eggs taken from inside a fish that the Rogatchover ate from. I distill my own water and add minerals to it that I extract from plants (since distilled water is horrible for brewing coffee and beer). The only exception is that I get kashering salt from a industrial plant, and I buy grapes for making kiddush wine, since I don’t have enough rows in my field to grow grapes and avoid kilayyim.

    #1214347
    apushatayid
    Participant

    You will find many hechsherim in McDonald’s too. Obviously you use your seichel and don’t buy a quarter pounder just because the ketchup has a hechsher on it. The issue here his one of assumption. Three ingredient panels so assume check three times. The other side sees one because and assumes all is good. This was probably further driven by the fact that this package was sold in heimishe stores too and some assumed kosher and checked for nothing. Never assume.

    #1214348
    apushatayid
    Participant

    It should be pointed out that this is not a Certification issue rather it is a labeling issue. The ou allowed the company to use the ingredient panel with its symbol as long as they also printed a disclaimer. They are reviewing their policy.

    #1214349

    This was probably further driven by the fact that this package was sold in heimishe stores too

    The heimishe stores should not be selling it.

    #1214350
    The Queen
    Participant

    And OU shouldn’t agree to have their symbol on a package that contains food without their hashgacha.

    #1214351
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Beause the OU is a national well known organization this was found out fairly quickly. Smaller hechshem if something similar happend, it could have fallen under the radar

    #1214352

    I doubt any of the heimishe hechsherim would ever allow such a thing.

    If it was found out quickly because it’s a big hechsher, that also means more people bought it and were subject to eating non kosher, so nothing gained by their being a bigger hechsher.

    #1214353

    And OU shouldn’t agree to have their symbol on a package that contains food without their hashgacha.

    Perhaps you’re correct, and I overestimate people’s intelligence, diligence, or both. How far should we take it though? Maybe they shouldn’t give a hashgachah to any varieties of Jolly Rancher because one may confuse one with another?

    #1214354
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    You will find many hechsherim in McDonald’s too. Obviously you use your seichel and don’t buy a quarter pounder just because the ketchup has a hechsher on it. The issue here his one of assumption. Three ingredient panels so assume check three times.

    Yes, of course, if one notices that the hashgacha is part of the ingredient panel and that there are multiple ingredient panels, they would look at the others.

    Same as if they went into McDonalds and noticed a hashgacha on the ice cream.

    That’s all fine.

    The issue is the morons here who are assuming that obviously anyone who noticed the OU would have also noticed that it was part of an ingredient panel of which there were multiple, just because they noticed it after the fact.

    #1214355

    Yes, of course, if one notices that the hashgacha is part of the ingredient panel and that there are multiple ingredient panels, they would look at the others.

    which is exactly what I said in the first place, thank you.

    #1214356
    The Queen
    Participant

    “Perhaps you’re correct, and I overestimate people’s intelligence, diligence, or both.”

    I think it is very straight forward. A kosher symbol appears on a package, most people will assume the package has the hechsher of the kosher symbol. Unless you are interested in the ingredients, for allergy or health reasons, many people do not pay attention to these panels and lists when making their purchases. They scan the package, find the symbol and buy and eat. OU has an achryus to consumers who rely on their hechsher.

    #1214357

    Yes, of course, if one notices that the hashgacha is part of the ingredient panel and that there are multiple ingredient panels, they would look at the others.

    I don’t see how one wouldn’t notice that there are three ingredients panels.

    Unless you are interested in the ingredients, for allergy or health reasons, many people do not pay attention to these panelsand lists when making their purchases. They scan the package, find the symbol and buy and eat.

    Did you see the package?

    There are three varieties, as clearly marked on the front, and there is no hechsher on the front. There are clearly three ingredients panels, on the back, one for each variety. The OU is only on the ingredients panel, which to me clearly means that it only applies to the specific product whose ingredients are listed in said panel.

    The non kosher gummy variety does not have an OU on the ingredients panel.

    To me, it takes extreme carelessness to make the mistake of thinking that all the varieties are kosher, because it should be obvious that the OU is not for the whole package.

    Should the OU have a policy to save very careless people from errors? Perhaps, but if someone ate the gummy candies based on how they read the package, they have primarily themselves to blame.

    #1214358
    The Queen
    Participant

    DY: I hear you, and no I didn’t see the packaging. For someone who takes the time to look at the front and notices no OU symbol, then turns the package around to the back, notices 3 panels, one of which sports an OU symbol it may be fine.

    However, I don’t think you have to be very stupid not to realize that the OU symbol is only for some of the food in the package. It may be a person in a hurry, a child taught to find the symbol before buying food. A dyslexic who can find the symbol but can’t read the packaging, a non English speaker who can find the symbol on the package. I’m sure you can come up with more examples.

    #1214359
    Joseph
    Participant

    Many people reasonably understand that a food item displaying an OU *anywhere* on the front, back or side of the outside packaging implies that all food items contained within said packaging is certified kosher by the OU.

    #1214360

    It may be a person in a hurry

    Haste makes waste. Someone incapable of properly reading a food package, whether due to time, reading, language, or other limitations should not be making purchasing decisions.

    Many people reasonably understand that a food item displaying an OU *anywhere* on the front, back or side of the outside packaging implies that all food items contained within said packaging is certified kosher by the OU.

    Al zeh gufa anu danin; I don’t think that’s reasonable.

    #1214361
    apushatayid
    Participant

    Many items in the McDonald happy meal have a hechsher on it. Should or could someone reasonably assume happy meals are kosher because some elements of the meal have an ou prominently displayed on them? To their credit the ou will reevaluate their policy as it relates to this type of packaging and their symbol.

    #1214362
    The Queen
    Participant

    DY:

    “Someone incapable of properly reading a food package, whether due to time, reading, language, or other limitations should not be making purchasing decisions.”

    So if you are stranded in France because of engine trouble and need to buy some food to tide you over Shabbos, you will choose to fast over Shabbos if you can’t read French? Sounds pretty simple minded to me.

    I suggest in this case you simply try to find a local heimish hechsher on the packaging and leave the OU on the shelf, in case the whole package isn’t kosher.

    #1214363
    The Queen
    Participant

    Apushatayid: Yidden don’t belong in a McDonald, I don’t think it’s a good comparison.

    #1214364

    I gave you other examples besides for the person in a hurry, which I believe are very valid.

    I responded. Someone incapable of properly reading a food package, whether due to time, reading, language, or other limitations should not be making purchasing decisions.

    Apushatayid: Yidden don’t belong in a McDonald, I don’t think it’s a good comparison.

    It’s not a good comparison, but not for that reason.

    #1214365
    Avi K
    Participant

    The MacDonald’s in the center of Yerushalayim has a hechsher.

    #1214366

    Lays variety pack shows six pictures of chips bags – five non kosher, one (regular Lays) with an OU on it. Someone could see that OU and eat the Cheetos, Doritos, Sun Chips and Fritos, no?

    #1214367

    Should the OU not certify Welch’s/Manischewitz grape juice because someone might buy the non kosher plain Welch’s?

    #1214368
    Abba_S
    Participant

    This is a labeling and customer education problem rather than a hoshgocher problem. The OU has no control over labeling and or packaging although they can advice.

    The OU is one of the largest and most reliable kosherous organizations, if they had to cancel certification in cases like this they would be out of business and keeping kosher would be very difficult. Many hamisher hashguchas rely on the OU for most of the certification process.

    A consumer education is needed to explain that each item that is package separately requires a certification.

    #1214369

    The OU has no control over labeling and or packaging

    If that were true, the symbol would be worthless. Of course they can decide when and how a company can use their trademarked symbol. I don’t see why they can’t tell the manufacturer that this would be unauthorized use.

    #1214370
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    There is something called the fair use doctrine meaning you are allowed certain leeay in using a trademarked item and the owner of the trademark cant really stop you

    #1214371

    When you see a heksher on something you assume the heksher means the entire package is kosher, not half, not a third, not what 1/4, like seriously? If it has non kosher items MIXED with kosher items INSIDE the packahe where they can get stuc together, touch each other, and more- WHY IS THERE A HEKSHER ON IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?!

    It’s completely trief.

    #1214372

    ZD, that’s copyright, this is trademark.

    Shopping, they are individually sealed, I assume, otherwise you are definitely correct.

    #1214373
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Trademarks also have similar fair uses. You need a Patent / Copyright attorney to decide if the O-U can stop it or not. This very well not be a kashruth issue as much as a copyright / trademark issue . You can sometimes use trademarks without permission as long as you cite the trademark

    #1214374
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    DY, I feel like you’re trying to make a broader point, and pin it on this example.

    Maybe your broader point is true, but isn’t applicable in this instance? You weaken your point by tying it to a particular example where it doesn’t fit well.

    #1214375

    DaasYochid- to me it looked like Shopping is right- it’s a mixture package where candies can get stuck one to another. I haven’t seen it in real life so I can’t know for sure.

    It is actually a big package of little bags of candy (four or five candies per bag) like the type often referred to as snack size

    #1214376

    And additionally each bag is a duplicate of the large sized bag in regard to labeling. When there is an open mixture, as with chex mix or trail mix which contain kosher candies and pretzles mixed with unsupervised baking/cooking, there is no hechsher on the package.

    Likewise, there are lunch packages of tuna that contain kosher tuna (still in a single serving can), a packet of kosher mayo, a packet of kosher relish and unidentified wrapped and sealed crackers. These packages also do not bare a hechsher.

    Many granola bar type foods or oatmeals come in multipacks that contain the nutrition panel of each of the types included in the box. Even if the OU is listed on that type of bar, the box will not contain an OU on the front. But the difference is that these brands REGULARLY POST THE OU ON THE FRONT!!! Hershey’s hides their OU in the ingredient paragraph so if someone copies the nutrition panel and pastes it onto the packaging, it will contain the full copy of what is listed there.

    Maybe a more appropriate conversation would be why Hershey’s, who used to put their OU on the front but stopped when Arab countries refused to buy their products with an OU, is hiding their kashrus.

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