3 Iyar 5772
April 25, 2012
Based on comments posted to the first of this series and the many emails I received, I wish to once again stress that the content included below is from the Badatz Eida Chareidit, not JKN.
The information represents policy/opinion of the Badatz Eida Chareidit rabbi and it may or may not be in line with your practice. If you have Halachic questions I urge you to consult with your rabbi. One should not seek halachic responses from this website.
My goal is to familiarize you with Eida operating procedure to provide you with a baseline for comparison. The Eida is transparent and publishes its standards. This permits you to make inquiries regarding the policy of other hechsherim.
In addition, there are many issues mentioned that many readers are unfamiliar with and increasing our kashrut awareness will facilitate our decision-making regarding hechsherim and kashrut practices in general.
In some cases, a food item is listed just to share with you some of the concerns of the kosher supervising agency, in this case the Badatz Eida Chareidit. Too often many of us still naively say “what can be wrong with this?”
And finally, the food production industry today is massive and products contain ingredients manufactured around the world. There is almost nothing being sold without visible or invisible additives and therefore, everything requires kosher supervision from a reliable hashgacha. Just which hashgacha you deem “reliable” is your decision, perhaps best made in consultation with a rabbi that is in the kosher loop. Not all rabbonim have this knowledge.
- Breakfast Cereals: there are two different production processes. (1) The product is made from corn flour, rice or other derivatives of legumes and the process involves an extruder. The bracha on such cereals is Shehakol. (2)The product is manufactured from grains of wheat, rice kernels or whole corn. They are softened in a double jacketed kettle (kitor) and at this stage, not edible. They are rendered edible after being rolled out, dried and sugar added. The bracha here is Borei Pri HaAdama.
JKN ADDS: I have seen that as a rule, the bracha to be recited for a cereal under the badatz’s hechsher is printed on the side panel of the box so one only needs to take a look to determine the correct bracha to recite. Some are also Borei Minei Mezonos.
- Sugared cherries: The cherries manufactured in different countries are infested at times. The badatz only approves clean cherries. Therefore, one will notice there is a shortage of them in the marketplace from time-to-time.
- Olives (pickled): Those sold in the marketplace without a hashgacha may present numerous kashrut issues, including the pickling process. Many of these olives originate in Arab factories.
In recent years, many of these olives have been found to be infested. In factories with the badatz hashgacha, sample inspections are conducted by specially trained mashgichim.
Many shipments are disqualified due to infestation during the olive harvest season,.
- Baking supplies and pastry shops: The hashgacha also assures the consumer there are no fears of ‘chodosh’ for those who are stringent abroad.
- Milk & Milk Products: In accordance with the decision of our rabbis, milk will only be taken from shomer Shabbos farms.
The hashgacha also includes every step of production and filling of containers as well as fruits that are added.
Regarding blocks of hard cheese there must be a badatz logo on two sides of the outer wrapper. One should make certain the storekeeper uses a designated cheese knife.
Regarding puddings and other dairy items packaged in plastic containers, the latter should be separated before Shabbos as indicated on the lid. (such as yogurt and shamenet)
Rennet and other ingredients used to curdle cheeses are manufactured abroad under the badatz’s hashgacha.
There are milk substitutes in the marketplace such as coffee whiteners. They may be prohibited due to Nat-bar-Nat (נט בר נט), chalav akum, emulsifiers and monoglycerides. These are sold in Israel as well and one must make certain the item is marked “parve”. Those under the badatz hashgacha are free of all these concerns.
- Peanut Butter: The product generally contains emulsifiers which may not be kosher.
- Techina: There are serious concerns with the product found in the marketplace which includes non kosher emulsifiers and non kosher milk powder.
- Frozen Vegetables: The badatz does not certify this product for Pesach. Frozen vegetables obtainable with a badatz hechsher are peas, carrots, string beans, chopped onion, okra, celery (without leaves), pepper, squash, corn and potatoes. The frozen vegetables are blanched in boiling water. The badatz feels one should check for possible insect contamination.
JKN ADDS: The word “suggests” is used and not “mandatory”. In addition, cut frozen French fries with a badatz hashgacha are available for Pesach.
- Buckwheat: One should not confuse buckwheat (kusemet – כוסמת) with spelt (kusmin – כוסמין).
Buckwheat is imported from abroad and its bracha is Porei Pri HaAdama. Spelt is one of the ‘five grains’.
- Fruit Leather: There are some in the local marketplace that are problematic from an infestation perspective. If the product is locally manufactured, there is the additional issue of shmitah, tevel and orla. Leather with a badatz hechsher is free of all these concerns.
- Infant formula (Disa, corn flour, farina etc): Materna® and others contain vitamin additives and it is questionable if they are cooked. Therefore, one should use a klei shlishi (כלי שלישי) when preparing it on Shabbos.
- Sweets & Candies: Most of the sweets and chocolates in the marketplace including spreads, coconut, halva, candies, toffee, wafers and crembo contain gelatin, milk powder, oils, cocoa butter substitutes, concentrates, and may have issues pertaining to tevel etc. Many of these products imported from abroad are quite problematic.
- Cup of Soups/Noodles: These prepared items which one simply adds boiling water contain uncooked components. Therefore, one may not pour water on them on Shabbos and there may also be a prohibition of kneading (לישה), one of the 39 forbidden labors of Shabbos.
- Matzah: Regarding not-for-Pesach matzah, generally speaking the badatz hashgacha does not include Pesach. Ditto for matzah meal. This refers to companies listed in the guide on page 32. The badatz does not certify egg matzah, not for Pesach or year round.
The badatz suggests checking matzah meal for infestation before use.
JKN ADDS: Once again the word “suggests” is used, not “must”.
- Margarine: There are margarines for sale that contain components from abroad which present issues regarding kashrus. Some of these concerns pertain to oils/fats, emulsifiers, glycerin, monoglycerides, anti oxidants, and vitamin additives. Some have milk mixed in too. These fears exist in spreading and baking margarines alike.
If margarine is certified by the badatz there are no such fears, even those packages that are not stamped “produced locally”.
- Whiskey and Liqueurs: Many hard drinks may contain non-kosher wines, milk, and other non-kosher components. The badatz does not give a hechsher on these products.
END of Part 3