Olive Oil for Lighting

1 Nissan 5774
April 1, 2014

The following is a translation of Hebrew material appearing in the Badatz Eida Chareidis Pesach Guide 5774 beginning on page 20.

In this annual publication, the hashgacha includes a number of ‘horror’ stories in the hope of driving the point home – that everything we put in our mouths requires a credible hashgacha. In this case we are addressing what is called in Israel ‘shemen la’maor’, olive oil for lighting and not eating, the type used on Shabbos and Chanukah.

While some say the oil is indeed edible, because of the properties of the product, it is not recommended for eating.

This story takes place in a respected factory in Europe. One of the things the badatz mashgiach looks for is to make certain the finished product is 100% olive oil as advertised and not a mixture of cheaper ingredients.

While some factory operators believe the badatz and its representatives are naïve, they are far from it. The mashgiach already got hold of a bottle manufactured in this factory, and unbeknown to the managers, it was sent to a lab to determine the ingredients in the product labeled “100% olive oil for lighting”.

The chemists reported the bottle contained 20% soya oil. The mashgiach was informed and he approached the owner of the factory with the information to obtain his response.

To the astonishment of the mashgiach, not only did the owner not apologize, he understood the information to mean the badatz wishes to increase the amount of soya oil to further reduce the price of the finished product.

The oil that was checked in a lab had a ph of 0.14, which in Israel is not classified as ‘oil for lighting’ and therefore, following inspection it would not have been permitted to pass customs.

Needless to say the badatz took its business elsewhere.

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