Israel: Kashrus Incompetence & US Breakfast Cereals (Amended)

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In Eretz Yisrael the Chief Rabbinate is the official word on kashrus policies, impacting imports that are imported via official channels. For example, one of the recent alerts released by the Chief Rabbinate Kashrut Enforcement Unit targeted Hagan Dazs® ice cream, which displays a valid hechsher from a well-known American hashgacha. Nevertheless, the Chief Rabbinate does not permit importing items with liquid chalav akum, but it does permit items with chalav akum powdered milk.

Since the ice cream contains liquid chalav akum it may not be sold in major supermarkets and the alert instructs mashgichim to remove the product from store shelves.

Another major import item is American cereals, and that includes Cheerios®, Honey Nut Cheerios®, and many many others. Since the Chief Rabbinate does not permit importing chodosh items, the importer must obtain Chief Rabbinate approval, which is based on chodosh codes provided by the kashrus experts in the United States.

Truth be said, it is not all that complicated. One simply checks the chodosh codes published by Rabbi Yoseph Herman, who provides information relied upon by hashgachas around the world, and one is in the chodosh/yoshon loop. What happens however when no one is watching the store? Well, then you shop in Geula and find Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios that are all over the dates, meaning they are regarded to be chodosh, which is forbidden.

Calls to the appropriate persons in both Osem and the Chief Rabbinate led to accusations and cross accusations, each blaming the other. Sadly, no one seems to be recalling the product and for a second consecutive year, chodosh cereals from the United States are being sold in areas of Eretz Yisrael,

Making things significantly worse, they are marked “Nestle” Cheerios for example, signaling they are imported legally by Osem so they should be yoshon because Osem does not permit yoshon. So now we see that even the official imported product and the “Nestle” name are not a guarantee of yoshon.

And finally, making things even worse, printed on the side panel are the Hebrew words “with permission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel”, once again signaling yoshon

One should also be aware that while the Chief Rabbinate does prohibit chodosh imports, it does not check secondary ingredients, such as the wheat starch in Cheerios and Pringles for example, so these items may be chodosh even if their bear the Chief Rabbinate’s official stamp of approval. That means that even if the oats in the cheerios are not yet past the chodosh cutoff code, the wheat starch may very well be, rendering the product chodosh.

Regarding Cap’n Crunch cereal, which appeared in the original article, the date on the package is 270 days after packing. Since chodosh packing starts at Quaker on Nov 14, the chodosh date on the package should be Aug 10’12. So in fact, this cereal is yoshon but Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios are chodosh.

A NOTE REGARDING WHEAT STARCH: Wheat starch is sometimes made from winter wheat and sometimes from spring wheat. Last year spring wheat was less expensive than winter wheat so there was a greater chance of wheat starch being problematic from a chodosh perspective, but this is not known with absolute certainty. In any case, it isn’t clear what the status of the wheat starch is.

The Rabbinate only checks for first level chodosh, like wheat crackers, oat cereal and the like, not sub or secondary ingredients. So if you are living in Eretz Yisrael and using American products, you must get an education and learn to read the product codes for the import statements are simply less than reliable.

To obtain a copy of the current chodosh manual click HERE to download it.

(Yechiel Spira, Jerusalem Kosher News for YWN-Israel).


9 COMMENTS

  1. Just to make clear (as it was not from the article), IIRC there is no reason to be MORE Machmir for Chodosh in EY on products made in Chutz then in Chutz for products made in Chutz. The poskim that hold it to be muttar say Chadosh goes after where it was grown, not where it is consumed. Of course, if the product is made with wheat grown in EY, that is a different issue.

  2. If not mistaken eating yoshon in EY is forbidden according to all poskim even bzman hazeh, although if its grown outside EY there may be some room to be meikil. As that is the case yoshon is something that can’t be taken lightly. This is why many people don’t rely on the rabinutes hechsher.

  3. What can I say. Yoshon. While there are so many pressing issues wholesale ignored by the “frum” communities, including the litayim, they go and errect a golden calf around yoshon.
    Its a a shtickie thing for yeshivish and american chassidishe types, to be big on little things while they trample larger issues in the broad of daylight.
    I think people should take their yoshon shtick and shove it. Thats right big tsadik, pat yourself on the back and walk proud with your chest puffed out.
    Feigned piety, trembling, with eyes turned upwards, beseeching the kashrus god to find us favorable in its eyes. Never mind real issues.
    What does baalei nefesh mean? Cause thats what my Mishnah Berurah brings about yoshon.

  4. One wonders how much of this is really about halacha, and how much is really “protectionism” – trying to boost your own country’s economy by creating non-tariff barriers to imports (since tariff barriers are restricted by various treaties promoting free trade). Whether this is good economics or not, it does suggest that the Israeli Government Rabbinate has a comprehension of real world economics.

  5. According to the most up-to-date lists, Cap’n Crunch is okay until a package date of Aug 10 2012. Also, I think the stress of the article should not be whether Osem or the Rabbanut should be makpid on Chodosh, but rather it is problematic to claim that this there is no chshash chodosh when there is in fact a problem.

  6. Perhaps we should leave the machlokes of imported chodosh to people who know halocha as opposed to to gruba “amaratzim” posting here.

  7. PinhasErez,
    Why do you talk like that about people who want to be mehader in a mitzva? are you not allowed to take on a hiddur until you’re perfect in everything else?
    please leave your sinas chinom and jealousy out of here.

  8. PinchasErez:

    Your low-class dialogue is indicative of a low-class education. Nobody is forcing yoshon down your throat. While yoshon is a multi-faceted issue, it is clear that most rishonim hold it is a d’oraisa in chutz la’aretz as well as eretz yisrael. Most of the teshuvos are melamed zchus for the majority of those in chutz la’aretz who were not makpid as does the chofetz chaim who instructs us not to be moche those who eat chodosh. That is a far cry from endorsing chodosh. And besides, the bulk of the heterim would not apply in an America flush with yoshon-available items. You might want to peek at the chayei odom, the original litvishe posek who says by hilchos rosh hashana that hataras nedarim will not work for yoshon because it is a chiyuv d’oraisa. Should he also shove his shticky litvishe golden calf? Tzadikel, why don’t you review the chofetz chaim’s hilchos loshon horah before becoming an authority on the mishne berura?

  9. comment number 3 is crude and ignorant and has no place on this website.

    there are many especially sephardim who don’t see yoshon as a halachic chumra, rather as a d’oraiysa.

    furthermore, he is accusing others of an arrogent, holier-than-thou attitude while displaying that plus bad language and sin’ah.

    although chodosh from chutz la’aretz has a different din from that of E”Y, many who live there are makpid on yoshon all around (even when they visit USA) and have a right to know that the israeli hechsher isn’t certifying the chodosh status. if i walked into the grocery store here in brooklyn and saw cheerios with a badatz or osem sticker on it, i would assume the storeowner is certifying it as yoshon and wouldn’t check. its misleading, because israeli products with a hechsher can be assumed to be yoshon.