Just Like Sugar – KOSHER ALERT

17

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‘Just Like Sugar’ sweetener, now for sale in Israel (http://www.justlikesugarisrael.com/) leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth.

The company a number of years ago had a hechsher, which has long expired, and now dares to post fraudulent kashrut certificates on its website to dup the Israeli public.

I spoke with the rabbonim at Chatam Sofer Petach Tikvah, who checked into the faxed copy of the certificate I sent them, which they state had expired in 5765, five years ago. They told me in no uncertain terms that they are not responsible for any of the company’s products after 5765.

I also was in contact with Rabbi Rafi Yochai of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Fraud Division, who checked the Chief Rabbinate document for me as well, which I was almost sure was a fabrication. He confirmed my suspicions and he promised his office is getting on the matter ASAP.

I was aware that R’ Yochai could check the Rabbinate computers and get to the bottom of things a lot quicker than I, which he did, in a matter of a few hours.

The item did have a Chief Rabbinate import authorization at one point, which expired on December 31, 2008.

In short, they took the old certificates, forged the dates, copied, pasted, posted and now, seek to make big money in Israel. Please spread the word. DON’T buy ‘Just Like Sugar’ because it is anything but sweet.

Baruch Hashem, we nabbed these guys but as we saw with the Campbell’s soup alert of last month (http://www.jerusalemkoshernews.com/2010/01/update-on-campbell%e2%80%99s-vegetable-soup/), some importers are simply willing to slap a fraudulent Chief Rabbinate sticker on an item for profit, and we must learn to spot these frauds and put them out of business.

Badatz Chug Chatam Softer Petach Tikvah English (From company website)

http://justlikesugariskosher.com/bdz_english.php

Badatz Chug Chatam Softer Petach Tikvah Hebrew (From company website)

http://justlikesugariskosher.com/bdz_hebrew.php

Chief Rabbinate of Israel Import Department (From company website)

http://justlikesugariskosher.com/kccri.php

(Jerusalem Kosher News – www.jerusalemkoshernews.com )


17 COMMENTS

  1. oh come on. if it doesn’t have a magical letter it’s no good?! kashrus organizations are a new thing here in america, in europe no one ever heard of such a thing!
    al pi din it doesnt need a hechsher

  2. 1 hanavon,

    You have NO IDEA what you are talking about as it should have a hechsher. The key word in the ingredients …. FLAVORS!! I hope no one eats in your kitchen if you are such an am ha’oretz.

    Stop flapping your gums where you have no reason to flap.

  3. haleivi, i’m not sure how familiar you are with yoreh deah, but i’ve learned issur v’heter many times and i have smicha.
    first of all the process by which it is made has not changed, the factories have not changed, the only that has changed is that some of the hechsherim didn’t get the prices that they asked for.
    now most of the rabbunim which you hold in such high esteem were raised on things without hechsherim, in a time when factories did not have the government laws prohibiting unlisted ingredients, and they ate them! and in europe, they still eat them! i’m not sure if you’ve ever read “kashrut.org”, which is rav abadi formerly of lakewood, or any of the other sites which post the words of the many talmidei chachamim who agree with me, but i’m sure that if you take a look, or even just open up a shulchan aruch, you’ll see that i’m 100% correct! in fact, i’ve spoken at length with r’ reuvein feinstein, r’ yaakov amsel (from hamaor), my rebbe, from whom i have smicha, r’ storch, and many other talmidei chachamim who intimately know the business of food production as well as yoreh deah, and they’ve all agreed with me! so perhaps before you pass judgement on someone, why don’t you just ask what i base my words on?!

  4. mark,
    by the way, those flavors of which you speak, and with such authority…why don’t you go and read about what they are, because i did, and i know what’s in it. chacham vus du bist.
    by the way, im so delighted to hear you call me an am ha’aretz, now i know that i can come to you with all of my sheilos. now i know that i no longer have to have to poskin for anyone at all, i’ll just tell them, “no, no, there’s someone who’s a much bigger buki than i am that is easily reachable….it’s mark levin, from yeshiva world news”
    chacham.
    go open a yoreh deah and dont come back to me until you’ve finished all of bussar v’cholov, teiruvos, maichulei akum and yayim nesech…let’s just start with that.

  5. hanavon ,not one to get involved in fights i still felt the need to speak out against the NONSENSE YOU HAVE POSTED. i understand that you are annoyed with all the politics i todays hechsherim, but please understand that while you dont sound like an am haaretz, there is going to be someone who reads your comments who is one and your words will be cause him to be lax in areas kashrus we are not even discussing here.

    FYO today no factory can afford to limit themselves to producing a certain product or even a certain line of products.

    so theoretically they may be producing 99 treif food items and only 1 with a hechsher. thats perfectly fine IF the equipment is kashered before.

    ALSO if a company once had a hechsher whats to stop them from cutting corners and substituting only one! approved ingredient with another that is derived from animal fat?

    i strongly encourage everyone to hear at least one lecture on kashrus and hechsherim. I did and now i am thankful that at least i know that i am an am haaretz.– A REAL am haaaretz when it comes to knowing what all the preservatives, additives, food colorings, chemicals etc found in the food that i eat are derived from. I am thankful for the frum people who DO KNOW where E143 comes from and travel the world to make sure only kosher (not MEHUDAR but kosher) ingredients go into the products i eat everyday.

  6. hanavon – I’m sorry to say, but you are a prime example of why my Rosh Yeshivah (One of the leading Gedolim) was very hesitant to give out smicha. As he would say, “many people get smicha and immediately feel that they can paskin”.

    I apologize for having to do this, but I must point out that you are wrong on many fronts.

    1) The need for kashrut supervision developed over time as the manufacturing of products became more sophisticated and thus harder to determine what ingredients are and are not kosher. That is why our Gedolim did not have to rely on Kashrut Organizations then like we do and not because such organizations are not necessary as you would like people to believe. And guess what, they (the Gedolim) also look for hechsherim on the manufactured goods they eat! [worthwhile to see http://kosherquest.org/symbols.php – History and Introduction to Kashrut]

    2) The point here in this article is not to state that the product is treif, but rather that the company is treif for trying to mislead the general public to believe that they are presently under kashrut supervision. They’ve lost their Chezkat Kashrut as honest businessmen and should be boycotted for misleading the public.

    3) The difference between a real posik and someone with smicha is that a real posik looks beyond the letter of the law. Binah is also necessary when paskining.

    Example at hand (I believe the story is about the Brisker Rav, but I could be mistaken): A man once came to the Rav near Pesach and asked him if he was allowed to use milk for the arba kosot. The Rav stated that he could not be yotzei with milk and then gave him a large amount of money. Someone in the room (probably his son) later questioned why he gave so much money when wine doesn’t cost that much. The Rav answered, “if he wanted to use milk then that means he didn’t have enough money for a fleisheg seudah. Therefore, I gave him enough to have a festive meal!”.

    Do you think outside the box?!

    If we allow someone to state that they are kosher based on an outdated certificate, then others will fall in line and the Kashrut industry will fall to pieces. As is, there is enough problems in the Kashrut industry! We don’t need to make it worse!

  7. Why wouldn’t it need a hecksher? It appears to be a manufactured sugar substitute made from diverse inputs, unlike sugar (which arguably doesn’t need a hecksher if you can be sure that what you are getting is pure cane sugar that was processed in a clean factory used for nothing else).

  8. Rabosai,
    The bigger issue here is not whether or not this product requirews a hechsher. Many products do NOt, e.g. olive oil, coffe (unflavored), and tea. The question of a forged hechsher is, or at least should be, a felony. This is fraud at its worst, and much more disturbing than the other issue here.

  9. Mr. Hanavon,

    The fact that they posting forged kashrus certificates does not indicate to you that there may be a problem? Even if it is an item that”may” normally not need a hechsher, don’t you think forged certficates are worse then none at all?

    As far as Kashrut.org, that is R Abadi’s sons. The fact that they post items gives no one who is trully careful about kashrus any comfort.

    It has been many years since R Abadi has been accepted as a posek in Lakewood. Throwing out that he was from Lakewood without including all related details shows just where you are coming from.

  10. Just to add to >> akuperma’s << words:

    Sugar doesn't need a hechsher. It contains 1 ingredient, SUGAR!

    The fact that this company recognized the need to add a hechsher to their multi-ingredient product in itself tells a lot.

    It will be interesting to know why there has not been a hechsher on their product since 12/31/08.

  11. reboisai:

    i realize that you all have valid points, and that we should always err on the side of caution, especially when it comes down to an issur, and i also realize that, while there are major problems in kashrus, and that some (although i think it’s most) kashrus organizations use unethical tactics to increase the price of the hechsher, we need it, not to insure the kashrus, per se, but for reasons of keeping a community together.
    you must understand that i look at things and ask, “why should this be considered assur?” and see how it can fit within the laws of kashrus, but the frumaks among us, who have created a culture where everyone wants to out-do each others chumras, look at things and say “how can i say that theres a sheila here?”
    r’ moshe feinstein, z’tz’l, as well as the aruch ha’shulchan say that everything has a chezkas heter, and if we see a problem, then there’s a problem….we should not say that everything has a chezkas issur! “coicha d’hetera adif”.
    now when it comes to things produced in factories, i do realize that they consist of many different ingredients, made in many different factories and that the factories themselves may produce many different types of foodstuffs…but first let me explain that this is not new, there have been factories producing different types of foods all the way back to roman times, and we know from non jewish, jewish, talmudic etc literature that jews were eating things produced there. we have the shach, in yoreh de’ah saying that a certain type of vegetable that is produced alongside treife meat, drying on the same strings is muttar! now if i came to your house with the shachs veggies, you would probably throw me out, but the truth is that it is kosher.
    there is another thing, that b’zman ha’ze almost no one uses cast iron pots and pans, especially in factories! they use stainless steel and aluminum, which have a din of “shee”, being smooth like glass, and they do not absorb any taste at all, this can be measured in your own home, by cooking a steak in a (restaurant quality) stainless steel pan, washing it out (with soap) and then cooking something with a light taste, like eggs or rice, and you will see that there is no taste. this is similar to the shach, yoreh deah, regarding the use of an onion in a milchige miechul, which you later realize had been but with a fleishige knife, the shach says that you may taste the other half of the onion, and if it doesn’t have a meat taste you can eat the milchige food with the onion.
    i personally sent this sheila about the stainless steel to r willig who agreed with me, although he did say to be careful in case you use cast iron, and i personally asked r reuvein who did not disagree with it, but also cautioned about cast iron.
    keep in mind that jews, for thousands of years have gone to non kosher restaurants (like the gemara in chullin, where the fellow did not wash netilas yedayim, and so they gave him non kosher food thinking he was a non jew), and even the yaavitz, who writes a tshuva about how he went to a non kosher restaurant to have coffee (if you read the tshuva, you’ll see its not only coffee in the restaurant that’s muttar) and even today, many european jews and many syrian jews will go to a non kosher restaurant to eat vegatarian…
    lots not make things more complicated when they need not be.
    as for lying about a hechsher, you are correct, they should be boycotted, but only for the geneivas daas, which is a big deal, but isnt an issue of non kosher food.
    shkoiach reboisei.

  12. hanavon,

    i have been a kashrus professional for 30 years & i tell you it requires a hechsher. You have no idea what you are talking about!

  13. mark levin,

    yet again, you speak with authority, but you cannot being any proof, logic, or reason for your words, and more importantly, you have no disproof of anything i’ve said!
    write a tshuva about it and get back to me. we live in a world of laws and of reason, when you have none of the above to back your words, they’re meaningless

  14. hanavon,

    I have a suggestion. If you dont understand why it needs a hechsher (and I already mentioned the flavors added which REQUIRE hashgocha) why not go out and eat a cold pig, after all according to your seriously krum thinking, it is cold so it must be ok.

    I am telling you as a kashrus professional for almost 30 years that the item REQUIRES hashgocha.

    Why not trust the people who are in the industry and who are in the know??? Do you have a that much of a problem with authority?

  15. mark, you’re a mashgiach. you want to call it a kashrus professional? fine, but you’re paid to sit around so that someone doesn’t feel like things aren’t being watched. you’re not the rav that poskins the sheilos! as i told you, give me a reason for your words or else dont say them! you cant just say “oh, its got ‘flavors’, it needs a hechsher”, you need to tell me why, in precise statements.
    about eating a cold pig, why would anyone ever think thats ok? the fact that that thought came into your head just shows that you dont even know the basics of the mechanics of halacha!
    how foolish can someone be?