I wish to share with you my personal thoughts on an issue that I have seen and likely many of you have experienced as well, and in fact have read about on occasion before, and feel it is high time to express, discuss, and fairly expediently, resolve.
We can all relate to that utter disgust that overcomes us when we simply smell a spoiled bottle of milk. Worse yet, assuming a product to still be fresh since it was only recently purchased and noting that the stamp indicates ample time till expiration, taking a sip of a glass of spoiled milk. I can’t tell you how many times I have prepared my ingredients for a cheesecake only to open the container of cream cheese and smell the sour aroma wafting through my kitchen. Just this week I had to throw away two packages of sour cream, from two different companies mind you, that upon opening looked like curdled soup in contrast to the thick and creamy texture that sour cream should be. These events are unfortunate, especially when we realize that we invested double the price as compared to the alternatives.
I have become extremely frustrated with this phenomena. My husband graciously accepted the stringency of eating Cholov Yisroel while in his fifth grade class, as a merit for the terrible attacks happening in Eretz Yisroel. He maintains this stringency till today, and I and our family gladly accepted this beautiful halacha and custom when we got married. We cannot help but notice, that without fail, and on the items that are noticeably more expensive than the other kosher, non Cholov options, a majority of milk, sour cream, heavy cream, and other products that we purchase spoil very rapidly, many times way before the stamped expiration date.
It is nearly impossible to reach anyone to provide feedback regarding this phenomena as the product all lost shell companies rarely either website, and of course without a phone number listed or web contact. There is essentially no real way to voice concern for this issue, and no person to hold accountable for these for lack of a better term, failures. I could replace the item at the supermarket, if they are willing, as they usually are, to replace it. But it is the concept that is all to problematic.
I have spoken to a few places, and the only reasonable explanation I have heard, is actually counter-intuitive. All milk products in the US are regulated the same way with extra scrutiny by the FDA. The Cholov Yisroel sourced products are no different than, and often come from plants, that mainly produce non Cholov Yisroel options for the public. The speed of spoiling quickly occurs, potentially, due to the trucking and the standards taking place after products leave the plant. One theory is that the trucking utilized for the Cholov Yisroel brands are lax in their handling, and upkeep of the cold temperatures necessary to keep dairy products from spoiling. Another idea suggested it is the receiving at stores that exhibit some carelessness while receiving goods at their loading docks, leaving items on sidewalks, exposed to heat, or simply not refrigerated as it should be. In all likelihood, there are a number of contributing factors that are responsible for the degradation of the product integrity over time – a severe lack of care for a consumer already making multiple sacrifices in the selection purchased, the cost of said purchase, and the limited time to use it before it goes bad.
Friends, I believe we need to take the words of Rav Moshe Feinstein Z”tl in one of the Cholov Yisroel Teshuvos to heart – where he writes that a “Baal Nefesh Yachmir” , loosely translated as “One who is concerned with their soul should be stringent in this”, and apply it to the macro of the situation and experience of fellow people. Apart from the “V’ahavta L’reyacha K’amocha” regarding the price or cost expended on maintaining Cholov Yisroel products, the standards of the Cholov Yisroel Industry – from the factory to our homes, needs to maintain the respect and dignity deservant of said stringency and the people seeking to keep it. I encourage anybody who knows anyone in a position of influence or control in this industry, supermarkets, trucking companies, brokers, etc., please let the individuals with the ability to do something about this to know about this article and suggest that they immediately order a review of the procedures, or lack thereof, contributing to the product degradation and identify the cause of this phenomena along with actions to remedy it.
Eva David, MD
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.
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