SEVERE BREACH: How Was A Milchig Dessert Served In A Fleishig Restaurant?

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Shas MK Moshe Arbel (Knesset spokesperson)

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The tragic incident that occurred last week in northern Israel when a young woman died of an allergic reaction after being served a milchig dessert in a kosher fleishig restaurant also brought up serious kashrus concerns.

MK Moshe Arbel (Shas) sent a letter to Rav Rafi Yochai, the administrator of the kashrus fraud department at the Chief Rabbinate, in the wake of the incident, demanding answers.

“This severe incident is still being investigated by the police…and the restaurant has meanwhile been closed,” Arbel wrote. “Nevertheless, the incident must also be examined by the Chief Rabbinate.”

“It can’t be that a fleishig restaurant with a kashrus certificate serves milchig desserts. This is a serious breach of the kashrus-observing public trust – which can also be life-threatening – as we saw.

“It can be assumed that that the milchig dessert was served to dozen of other diners at the restaurant before the incident was revealed in the wake of the tragic death of Osher Deri, z’l.”

“The Rabbinate must evaluate whether the kashrus supervisors responsible for the restaurant acted as expected of them and in accordance with accepted procedures prior to the incident. As part of the evaluation, it must also be determined whether conclusions can be drawn regarding kashrus supervision in general in order to ensure that such tragic incidents do not recur.”

Arbel ended his letter by requesting that Yochai update him in the coming months regarding the investigation of the incident and on kashrus supervision in general.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


12 COMMENTS

  1. Exactly!
    The apathy in certain eateries in Israel towards kashrus is horrendous in a way that I have never seen in chutz la’aretz (with the exception of a few notable stories like the one in Monsey a few years back).
    While there are many factors and explanations to this phenomenon, I believe that the feeling among some proprietors of eateries that a hechsher is just another government license they need to obtain is a problem that must be dealt with.
    And this three-card monte that is played by some restaurants, where they will put in the effort to get a better hechsher for long enough to earn a reputation as an establishment that is well supervised, and then go and switch to a hashgacha that has few rules and fewer mashgichim, must be stopped.

  2. Unfortunately, the investigation won’t go far enough. Since any admission of wrongdoing by the hechsher will invite a lawsuit by the family, the hechsher will find a way to shift the blame in their investigation.

    The cat is investigating who ate the canary.

  3. looks like the maschiach wasn’t doing his job. He should have prevented such a happening but then this is the rabbinut which is close to worthless……
    A restaurant that had a full time maschiach would prevented such a thing from happening…..

  4. side note:
    The milchig ice cream is sold in the same shape containers as the parve ones. Mistakes can easily happen. Their should be some mandate determining the shapes of the containers so that parve is a different shape than milchig.

  5. The failure of the hashgacha at this restaurant is an important issue and needs to be fully investigated so any procedural failures can be understood and fixed so it never happens again. Here it seems that inexperience in the kitchen and lack of physical oversight by the mashgiach timidi of everything being brought into the kitchen contributed to the failure.
    However, the question of whether a restaurant can be relied upon to monitor ingredients for life/death food allergies is totally separate from hashgacha. Individuals with those sorts of allergies cannot simply rely upon assurances from service staff but must ask to speak DIRECTLY to the chef or manager to explain the consequences of a screwup EACH TIME they eat there and not rely upon prior experience.

  6. From what I understand, the נפטרת and her family were fully aware of the severity of her allergy. Moreover, the נפטרת had worked there and was familiar with the kitchen and the staff.

    Seems like a horrible accident.

  7. This tragic incident was an accident, and similar incidents (i.e., where a restaurant runs out of something and sends a worker out to buy more at a local store) have happened in places with top Hechsherim. There was the well-publicized story a few years ago where a Fleishig restaurant in Heilige Boro Park with a top Chasidishe Hechsher ran out of hot dogs and sent a worker out to buy more – and the worker purchased Treif ones instead, which were then cooked and served to customers. While greater attentiveness by Hechsherim is always welcome, it can not be said that this particular incident is on account of the restaurant in question having a Rabbanut hechsher.

    an Israeli Yid

  8. This is a very sad story indeed.
    The sad truth is, this is a common issue with ice cream.
    I know of multiple stories in NY/NJ area that a caterer or restaurant was found serving milchige ice cream by mistake. a couple times the mashgiach caught it before it went out of the kitchen and sadly some times after…
    It is common to mix up the milchig and pareve ice cream whether the delivery guy dropped off the wrong box or a worker ran out to the local supermarket to pick up a few tubs in middle of work.
    It happened to me once that I bought the “wrong” box of ice cream for shabbos. B”H I notice it said chalav yisroel right before we served it for dessert.

  9. The restaurant is under regular Rabbanut hechsher, which means there is a mashgiach nichnas veyotze. They buy Halak Bet Yosef meat and Mehadrin chickens, but the hechsher is not Mehadrin. The mashgiach had been there a few hours before, and everything was fine. What happened was not his fault at all.

    Fakenews, there is no risk of a lawsuit against the Rabbanut, so they have no incentive to cover anything up.

    Yeshivabachur, even if the mashgiach had happened to be there at that moment, and had failed to catch the purchase, there is no way he’d be guilty of manslaughter. Likewise the restaurant owner is not guilty of manslaughter, and nor is the employee who bought the whipped cream. This is not a foreseeable risk that he should have been aware of.

    Shining Light, What ice cream? Where did you get the idea there was milchig ice cream? The milchig product was whipped cream. Do you expect every product that can be milichig to be in differently shaped containers?!

    Anisraeliyid, in the Borough Park case the treife hot dogs were NOT “then cooked and served to customers”. The error was caught the very first time a treife package was opened and put on the grill, and the place was immediately closed down. No customer was ever served treif.

  10. Anyone who has a severe allergy should be carrying around an epipen on them. She didn’t have it on her as she “trusted” the restaurant. She drove herself to the hospital and didn’t get treatment on time.