08 December 2008

Disappointing News for the anti-Chumra Frum Jew

For some time now, I have been advocating a "lower tier" kashrut level for people who either can not afford (or no longer want to bother with) mehadrin prices/standards. This is already being done in homes and "modern" schools who use chalav stam dairy products. Now, more than ever, there needs to be a call for the return of "stam kosher" meat. There used to be "stam kosher" meat. (The word "glatt" means "smooth". There are no adhesions/punctures in the lungs. A lung with a removable adhesion is then filled with water. If there are no leaks, the animal is still kosher, but not "glatt". For more details, click here.)

At some point (before I became frum), glatt became the standard. Now, even poultry is marked "glatt" (when there is NO distinction in the halakhah for poultry). Major rabbinic organizations tell people only glatt is "recommended". The major source of "stam kosher" meat had been Best's/Sinai Kosher (owned by Sara Lee), Hebrew National (owned by ConAgra), and David's (a line of stam kosher meat produced by AgriProcessors under the UMK hechsher and previously available at my local Trader Joe's). In recent months, Sara Lee has announced they are shutting down their Best's/Sinai Kosher line and we all know the situation with AgriProcessors. A few years ago, Hebrew National launched a huge campaign in the Jewish community promoting their certification by the "triangle-K", instead of the ambiguous "KOSHER" which had been prominently displayed on their packages for years.

This certification has continued to put into question the "reliability" of the triangle-K. We hear different disclaimers: "On fruit or juice it's fine but not on products using oil." Another friend of mine used deductive reasoning to determine if the O-U is certifying certain products for a company (such as Lay's) but others are under triangle-K, then there must be some issue.

Saying all that, I am disappointed to report that we will not see "stam kosher" meat anytime soon. The sole producer now is Hebrew National and my husband received word from a family friend (who has little credibility as a rav, but has s'mikhah) that he is now a mashgiach for Hebrew National. (We had no intentions of buying Hebrew National but it throws a wrench into triangle-K's "vetting" process. This family friend is not on my list of "reliable poskim" because he has tried to give me p'sakei halakhah that even I know are not correct.)


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  2. Hi Cool Yiddishe Mama,
    I share your frustrations and confusion over all of these hechsherim. In response, I've created KosherInJerusalem.com . The site just began, but will eventually come to explain the actual differences between all of the symbols.
    Be in touch.


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