OKS Kashrut

Orthodox Kashrut Supervision Services


Introduction

Over the past 50 years, I’ve come across many concerning issues in Kashruth. Some of these were ethical and some of these were Halachic. Most are a mixture of the two. I imagine anyone who has worked a significant period of time in Kashruth has faced similar issues. The issues of Hasagat Gvul (encroachment), Tzaar Baalei Chaim (unnecessary pain or stress to animals), improper Shechita (slaughter), Lifnei Iver (misleading people) and many others are each huge concerns and they each are allowed to continue in the current Kashruth organizations.

If the USDA finds certain diseases in spot checks, they conduct massive awareness campaigns and recalls. 48 million chickens were killed to stop bird flu in the first half of 2015 (see here). Their website could not be more straightforward with the recalls and notices. The cost to the consumer to ensure that the chicken on the shelf is safe to eat, not 90% of the time but 99.99% of the time, is quantifiable. We all accept the fact that to safeguard our health we are willing to pay for the system to decide when it is necessary to dispose of huge amounts of questionably diseased birds.

Why is it then that the Kashruth alerts we see are mislabeling of products or unauthorized use of the trademarked symbol? Where are the Kashruth alerts that say “we are issuing a recall, because we think a non-Kosher animal got mixed in with the Koshers” or even “products from this day have to be assumed to be not Glatt because a non-Glatt got mixed in”?

There are two possibilities:
1) The Kashruth agencies oversee production with the unblinking eyes. The rabbis on site are versed not only in the textbook Halacha, but with a profound understanding of animal biology and psychology as well and these things never make it down the production line. Due process is swift and a back up Shochet is always on hand if someone needs to be taken out. Sure, some of those things on the “business” side (like whether an item is marked dairy) have mistakes from time to time, but the production line of the food product has no such concerns.
2) We, the community intending to keep Kosher are being fed lies. We are being tricked into thinking that the Kashruth organizations are watching out for our needs to eat Kosher even more than we know. The organizations in question are run as a business, and as in a business, money talks. And because these organizations are also the authority on Kashruth, challenges are dismissed as not authoritative.

Over the course of the next weeks and months, I will disprove the first possibility.

As for the second possibility. I welcome an open forum where all the issues people could have with Kashruth are actually handled. I would rejoice at an independent board of experts on these matters being welcomed into the factories and slaughterhouses to provide the public with the data otherwise hidden from them.

The evidence is here. We can not accept these issues being dismissed any longer.

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