Vaad Hakashrus Five Towns Now Requires Food Establishments To Install Cameras With Full Access To Mashgichim

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The Vaad Hakashrus of the Five Towns Far Rockaway recently sent a letter to food establishments under their Hashgacha asking them to have cameras installed in their stores. Multiple Hashgacha agencies that YWN spoke with say that following recent unfortunate incidents (Johannesburg, Passaic), this idea may soon be followed by other Hashgachos.

“It’s 2018, the cost of cameras are minimal, and there is no reason why this level of Kosher comfort isn’t added if the technology is easily available”, one leading Kashrus expert told YWN.

The following is the letter sent to store owners:

Dear Proprietor,

As you know, The Vaad Hakashrus Five Towns Far Rockaway prides itself on maintaining the highest standard possible of Kashrus adherence. Technology in the 21st century allows us to pair together with you, the proprietor, for the benefit of the entire community which we serve. Specifically, camera log-in access allows us to constantly monitor and view important Kashrus issues on site when necessary.

In the past we have requested but refrained from placing consequences on establishments that were not in compliance with our camera guidelines. Due to recent developments in the world of Kashrus, particularly the recent occurrence in Johannesburg, we are now determined to complete this project with total compliance in order to raise the level of Kashrus adherence.

All establishments must be equipped with cameras satisfying the needs of The Vaad Hakashrus by no later than June 29, 2018. These cameras:

1. Must be able to be viewed from mobile devices
2. Must include play back feature of a minimum of ten days which must also be viewed from mobile devices.
3. Be placed in all access points for entrance and exit to the establishment as well as all food production areas.
We expect that all will adhere to this directive as any establishment which does not comply, will unfortunately forfeit their supervision.

No devices should be installed without prior direction from The Vaad Hakashrus. We do not wish to cause any extra expenses to any establishment if we find that the system installed is not up to par. Our staff will be available to guide you through this process.

If you have already complied with these requirements, please reply to the e-mail stating that you have provided camera access with for a mobile device with playback.

Thanking you in advance for your cooperation and wishing you continued Bracha and Hatzlacha.

Sincerely,

Vaad Hakashrus

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)




22 COMMENTS

  1. Having been in the industry, I would point out that while there’s an upgrade here, it isn’t as much as one would think. The Vaad as most local agencies has dozens of establishments, so nobody expects to have anyone actually watching the film of many night hours for all establishments. Ordinarily, cameras help in proving (or disproving) a suspected kashrus violation since you generally have only 1 establishment with a finite window of opportunity.
    An idea to improve the tikkun of cameras would be to require a motion sensor where a Vaad supervisor would be able to go to an establishment and check if a motion sensor detected movement at the entrances from closing till opening. It would take seconds per establishment and would lead to a much greater “Mirsas”

  2. Should we assume that this system will work on the current “kosher phones” which the mashgichim have?
    Or will they have to give them unkosher phones for viewing purposes?

  3. It’s a great idea. No reason every other kashrus organization worldwide shouldn’t adopt this policy, too.

    מגלגלים זכות ע”י זכאי.

    Kol hakavod, vaad hakashrus five towns!

  4. why stop there , how about armed security at the washing stations to make sure people are washing for hamotzi, additionally since the kashrus agencies want full transparency how about they reveal their profit margin, jewish mafia

  5. I specifically registered to comment on this thread. This is a very good move as long as this doesnt backfire on mashgichim. As someone formerly employed by the kashrus industry i can testify to first hand accounts of disasters such as chometz on pesach (im talking bread crumbs for kosher for peaach schnitzel and goyim sneaking other chometz or kitniyos into the kitchen on pesach), caterers using milk pots for meat (in this case I was new in the kitchen and the pot was not clearly labeled. after the event the manager of the kitchen showed me the MILK stamp and laughed), and other agregious violations throughout the year (too many to list). In none of these instances did the vendor lose his hashgacha. Fines were usually incurred to prevent future violations while in one rare instance, a second mashgiach was added to the staff (this was way more effective).
    To the credit of this hashgacha (which I was once employed by amongst other hashgachos), they have jumped on the opportunity presented by current events. it is just unfortunate that we had to wait for so many halakhich tragedies to occur before deciding to become more accountable.
    Although this will prevent more violations, i believe that mashgichim will suffer for it unless mashgichim have set breaks incorporated into their schedules. its extremely difficult to stand around for hours and peer into a production line without any form of stimulation. what ends up happening is that the mashgiach will watch the kitchen for an hour or so and then go sit down to learn mishnayos or something. this is understandabke if you understand how his working environment is affecting him psychologically. if the mashgiach shmuzes with a chef then he is being irresponsible and distracting, besides being unprofessional and degrating to his stature as rabbi in the kitchen. so basically, he’s isolated, hated by the staff (usually), on his feet, and staring mindlessly at a crowd of people ad they work. He is usually ridiculed and has to listen to the vile secular music being played in the kitchen. he is bound by human nature to walk away and recharge. the problem we face now is that the mashgichim will take more flack than ever. Hopefully Rabbi Eisen will have their back. (He is better about backing up his mashgichim than other bosses I’ve had). But he will have a bigger nisayon. I’m sending you a big bracha rabbi eisen! may you have the strength and courage to stand up for our values and influence the rest of klal yisrael in a positive way. in addition i hope you can be understanding of your mashgichim and find a way to reduce their stress in light of this new takana.

    PS my new line of work is soooo much better

  6. I know a few stores that are not under the vaad of the 5 towns that need this supervision. A few in flatbush and a few in Lakewood that I of.

    Very shady to say the least.

  7. If a store had nothing to hide, then why would they object?
    If they object…. pull the hechsher NOW. And tell us which stores rejected this.

  8. Arib, no restaurant in the world regardless of the level of kashurus is responsible if a diner wants to wash for bread or not. I bench after I eat, but it is not my business or concern if other diners bench. However, when I dine at an establishment under a certain hashgacha, they have an obligation and contractual responsibility to provide a level of kashurus guarantee. Makes no difference if the customers are yeshivish, Modox, or gentile.

  9. I can’t understand how the whole world stays quiet after such a horror story! Chometz in a store on Pesach! Kores!
    YWN, where’s the “breaking news” headline like Johannesburg?
    You have an achrayus to post such a terrible thing like this.
    How can you stay quiet? Please, for the sake of klal yisroel please let people know what is going on! Please don’t cover up even though it’s uncomfortable

  10. farrockawayonian The restaurant you are refering to is chosen island, iPersonally know both of the masgichim there , and they told me that absolutely no cahmetz was served farrockawayonian

  11. “Fellow FarRockawayonion: I (and all of F.R. and 5T!) am truly indebted to you for bringing to light what nobody else seems to have heard about. However, after consulting with several rabbonim of the Vaad of 5T & F.R. and even both mashgichim of that restaurant (whom I’ve never known to lie about these issues and who worked there all of Pesach), I question how you arrived at what you’ve posted. NONE of the people questioned were aware of any exposed chometz in the restaurant over Pesach and certainly no chometz was “served” as you wrote. [By “exposed” I mean that every restaurant relies on mechiras chometz to store away it’s unused chometz til after Pesach. So CONCEALED chometz ALL stores- and most homes,too! -have.] ALL the people I spoke to would certainly not suppress that which would cause you kares-level “Timtum Halev”. (Do you know somebody else who I don’t know??) Please feel free to contact as many vaad members as you wish to refute my statement, but I think you’ll just find that your gevaldig “Chazon-Ish” shiurim of Ahavas Yisroel and Yiras Shomayim will meet up with facts that will show that this is a case of “broken telephone” i.e. a mistaken distortion of the facts.”

  12. to those discussing chosen island, ask about the msg that served on pesach years ago. i wasnt working there but i heard all about it. one of the mashgichim who was working for the vaad at the time told me they got off because it was technically kitniyos msg and not chometz gamur. usually i think it is chetz gamur. anyhow the goyim did it maliciously and the business suffered financially from what i was told but the hashgacha should have been pulled…