Impossible Pork Will Not Receive Hechsher From OU

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Impossible Pork (courtesy of Impossible Foods)

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Impossible Foods, a California-based company that develops plant-based substitutes for meat products, is releasing The Impossible Pork.

However, unlike the popular Impossible Burger, it will not be receiving kosher certification from the OU, JTA reported.

“The Impossible Pork, we didn’t give an ‘OU’ to it, not because it wasn’t kosher per se,” said Rabbi Menachem Genack, the CEO of the Orthodox Union’s kosher division. “It may indeed be completely in terms of its ingredients: If it’s completely plant-derived, it’s kosher. Just in terms of sensitivities to the consumer … it didn’t get it.”

“The Impossible Burger itself is a huge, huge success and people really, really like it,” Genack said. “It’s a really excellent, excellent product in every respect.”

But Genack said that when the OU once certified “bacon” as kosher they were bombarded with negative feedback.

“We still get deluged with calls from consumers who either don’t get it or they’re uncomfortable with it,” he said.

Genack clarified that although OU certifies items related to pork such as Trader Joe’s “spicy porkless plant-based snack rinds,” the agency decided that certifying a product called “pork” was a red line they aren’t willing to cross right now.

“We of course discussed it with the company and they understood,” he said.

Genack added that OU was very close to agreeing to certify the “pork,” and may reconsider its decision to refrain from doing so in the future.

“It could have gone either way, frankly,” Genack said. “This is something which we absolutely would be willing to review in the future.”

Despite OU’s unwillingness to certify its “pork,” Impossible Foods is moving ahead with releasing the product with its original name.

“While Impossible Pork was originally designed for Halal and Kosher certification, we aren’t moving forward with those certifications as we wish to continue to use the term ‘Pork’ in our product name,” an Impossible Foods spokesperson told JTA in an email.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


13 COMMENTS

  1. Not that healthy anyway – unfermented soy and white potatoes in the ‘impossible burger’, and chemicals – nothing organic either (and probably it is all genetically modified, as soy and many commercially used potatoes typically are today. Certainly, GM ingredients are less expensive so they would mention higher quality non-GMO and/or organic if that’s what it’s made from.)

  2. If it were called Imitation Pork would that be better? The OU is giving into social pressure. Just as Margarine was once assured from fleishig meals and now ok, this will be approved in time. People have to adjust to new things. THis is just kosher ingredients put together to imitate pork. Jews eat more treif from so called frum butchers.

  3. What about Morningstar Farms’s vegetarian “bacon”? Is this a new policy to not give hechsherim to kosher foods that imitate inherently non-kosher ones?

  4. It’s not a stupid decision. They’re openly saying it’s not about kashrus, it’s about business. The OU has determined that giving this hechsher would damage its brand, so it has decided not to. Any hechsher is a business and has to look out for its own interests. Where in the Shulchan Aruch does it say that you are obligated to give your hechsher to any product that is kosher, regardless of the financial consequences?

    Now if I were the OU I would supervise the new product but use a different symbol for it. The OU has taken over several smaller agencies over the years, and retired their symbols, so it could use one of those for this product. That way those who know that it’s reliable would be able to use it, and the consumer blow back would be deflected.

    If I were the manufacturer, what I would do is tell the OU “Very well, we will not put your symbol on this product, but we will be making it on the same lines as our other products, so in order to ensure those products remain kosher you will have to supervise this one as well”. Then I would put a plain K on it, and make it known in the community that this K is really the OU, just as everyone knew for decades that the K on Kelloggs was the KVH and therefore reliable, and that the K on Tabasco is a reliable rabbi (though I don’t know his name). The OU actually has a policy of telling the truth to anyone who calls and asks, so it would confirm this, though it would warn people that without a symbol there was no guarantee that things wouldn’t change tomorrow.

  5. I don’t think this is a problem with the OU, I think it’s a problem with however many people called to complain. C’mon people! “Pork” is just a word! Does saying that word scare you? Halacha isn’t imaginary feelsie stuff, you’re allowed to desire pork, just not allowed to eat it. Live in reality people!

  6. Hey, rt: Don’t draw attention to the McCormack kosher “bacon” bits. I love those things, and I don’t want the hechsher pulled.

    I guess I will have to cancel my plans to market a novelty candy made completely from plants under the name “Arabian Horse Poop.” Kids love that sort of goofy stuff, especially if it’s sweet and chocolatey.