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New York, NY - Passover Paradox Why So Much Kosher?

Published on: April 1, 2010 09:47 PM
By:  UPI
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Rabbi Mutty Grunberg from the OU Mashgiach at a Chinese food factoryRabbi Mutty Grunberg from the OU Mashgiach at a Chinese food factory

New York, NY - There are 1 million observant U.S. Jews, yet some 45 percent of foods sold at Passover are kosher—a phenomenon U.S. researchers call the “Passover paradox.”

An article published in the Chemical & Engineering News says the number of kosher products on U.S. supermarket shelves grew from 3,000 in 1970 to more than 70,000 today.

Senior editor Bethany Halford says kosher products meet the strict dietary and preparation standards set by Jewish law—a rabbi must know everything that goes into a product to certify it kosher, down to the individual molecules that make up various foods.

“When there are so many ingredients, obviously just ascertaining the knowledge of which ingredients are kosher and which are not kosher is a massive undertaking,” Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, chief executive officer of OK Kosher Certification, tells Chemical & Engineering News.

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OK Kosher Certification certifies 114,000 products, including more than 10,000 flavorings.

The article suggests the kosher certification may be attractive to vegans and vegetarians, who do not want to eat animal-based products, as well as to Muslims because kosher food is pork free.


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Read Comments (26)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 01, 2010 at 10:43 PM Anonymous Says:

The commercialisation of Passover

2

 Apr 01, 2010 at 10:53 PM Anonymous Says:

"a rabbi must know everything that goes into a product to certify it kosher, down to the individual molecules that make up various foods"

That is why it is so important that a mashgiach dealing with processed foods should be either an engineer or biologist or some related advanced degree in food science.
Simply having semicha from some yeshiva without spcialized advanced degree is no longer sufficient

3

 Apr 01, 2010 at 11:17 PM genius Says:

There are many Non-observant jews how buy kosher for passover food.

4

 Apr 01, 2010 at 11:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

"a rabbi must know everything that goes into a product to certify it kosher, down to the individual molecules that make up various foods"

That is why it is so important that a mashgiach dealing with processed foods should be either an engineer or biologist or some related advanced degree in food science.
Simply having semicha from some yeshiva without spcialized advanced degree is no longer sufficient

Except the M.O. community that believes in secular education, I don't know if others can produce rabbis that will invest time and brains studying biochemistry or food sciences.

5

 Apr 02, 2010 at 12:21 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

Except the M.O. community that believes in secular education, I don't know if others can produce rabbis that will invest time and brains studying biochemistry or food sciences.

What hashgocha protis... I'm a charedi musmach preparing for a biochem exam tommorow

6

 Apr 02, 2010 at 12:30 AM Yak Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

What hashgocha protis... I'm a charedi musmach preparing for a biochem exam tommorow

Wishing you much Success on Your Exam tomorrow.

7

 Apr 02, 2010 at 12:38 AM Anonymous Says:

Many people are intolerant to gluten and stock up for the whole year on KFP products, usually made with potato starch.

8

 Apr 02, 2010 at 12:42 AM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

"a rabbi must know everything that goes into a product to certify it kosher, down to the individual molecules that make up various foods"

That is why it is so important that a mashgiach dealing with processed foods should be either an engineer or biologist or some related advanced degree in food science.
Simply having semicha from some yeshiva without spcialized advanced degree is no longer sufficient

And yet the experts at the OU and OK manage quite well without such degrees.

9

 Apr 02, 2010 at 12:55 AM Yossi Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

Except the M.O. community that believes in secular education, I don't know if others can produce rabbis that will invest time and brains studying biochemistry or food sciences.

Or.... you can be any yerei shumayim, and employ those MO jews for your hashgacha. as alot of them are doing.

10

 Apr 02, 2010 at 01:53 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

What hashgocha protis... I'm a charedi musmach preparing for a biochem exam tommorow

....To embark on a career as a mashgiach @ $25000 a year on a $300000 education?

11

 Apr 02, 2010 at 04:29 AM Kashrus Pro Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

"a rabbi must know everything that goes into a product to certify it kosher, down to the individual molecules that make up various foods"

That is why it is so important that a mashgiach dealing with processed foods should be either an engineer or biologist or some related advanced degree in food science.
Simply having semicha from some yeshiva without spcialized advanced degree is no longer sufficient

Wow you really know nothing. You don't need any of the stuff you mentioned. You need to know the 5th chelek of Shilchun Aruch.

12

 Apr 02, 2010 at 06:59 AM Anonymous Says:

Lots of people, Jewish or not, stock up on the kosher le'pesach Coca Cola.

13

 Apr 02, 2010 at 07:13 AM Nebach Says:

Good luck to #5 on your exam. I hope you don't have to spell the word "tomorrow" in order to pass.

14

 Apr 02, 2010 at 08:54 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Milhouse Says:

And yet the experts at the OU and OK manage quite well without such degrees.

For Example, when I called the OU to ask about aspartame being kosher l'pesach, the rav said to me, "you'd have to have a degree in biochemistry to understand"

15

 Apr 02, 2010 at 09:04 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Milhouse Says:

And yet the experts at the OU and OK manage quite well without such degrees.

good point! And what did mashgichim of one thousand years ago do?

16

 Apr 02, 2010 at 11:54 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
genius Says:

There are many Non-observant jews how buy kosher for passover food.

This is definitely true, that many Jews who do not keep strictly kosher (or even just kosher [i.e. kosher, but not glatt kosher and not chalav yisrael/pas yisrael/etc. kosher]) nevertheless keep pretty strictly kosher for Pesach.

18

 Apr 02, 2010 at 11:59 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

good point! And what did mashgichim of one thousand years ago do?

They didn't put all these molecules in foods at the time, because science was not so advanced, so it was absolutely not an issue then.

Actually, there was not a processed foods industry at the time, either, so it was kind of a moot point.

19

 Apr 02, 2010 at 12:01 PM knowitall Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

"a rabbi must know everything that goes into a product to certify it kosher, down to the individual molecules that make up various foods"

That is why it is so important that a mashgiach dealing with processed foods should be either an engineer or biologist or some related advanced degree in food science.
Simply having semicha from some yeshiva without spcialized advanced degree is no longer sufficient

That is idiotic. Gedolei Hador have issued halachik responsa that required scientific knowledge for which they had no formal education. They relied on experts to explain the science. Our Congress makes decisions regarding health care, economic issues, pollution, education and etc. although they are not necessarily doctors, teachers, environmental experts or economists.

20

 Apr 02, 2010 at 01:22 PM The Truth Says:

Reply to #19  
knowitall Says:

That is idiotic. Gedolei Hador have issued halachik responsa that required scientific knowledge for which they had no formal education. They relied on experts to explain the science. Our Congress makes decisions regarding health care, economic issues, pollution, education and etc. although they are not necessarily doctors, teachers, environmental experts or economists.

Re congress: Thats why our health-care is going down the drain, our schools produce laymen, our environment is going haywire and our economy has completely failed.

Re Gedolei Hador issuing psak halocho based on knowledge for which they had no formal education and relying on what information they are given (often by people with an agenda), is a dangerous road and as we know, can often lead to public confusion at best and issuing psak that are then retracted.

If I am relying on a hechsher, or knowledgeable decisions by a doctor or politician, I would hope that they actually know what they are dealing with. Anyone can sub-contract things out and delegate, but when it comes to technical details, you have to be extreemly careful that YOU know what you are dealing with. The food industry nowadays is an exact science and without that knowledge the kashrus is questionable.

21

 Apr 02, 2010 at 01:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
knowitall Says:

That is idiotic. Gedolei Hador have issued halachik responsa that required scientific knowledge for which they had no formal education. They relied on experts to explain the science. Our Congress makes decisions regarding health care, economic issues, pollution, education and etc. although they are not necessarily doctors, teachers, environmental experts or economists.

You made a good point by citing Gedolei Hador. You shlugged yourself up when you cited Congress.

22

 Apr 02, 2010 at 02:10 PM Anonymous Says:

Having a mashgiach only increases the probability that the food is kosher. There is NO GUARANTEE. People cheat -- Suppliers lie.

23

 Apr 02, 2010 at 03:35 PM Congress! Says:

Reply to #19  
knowitall Says:

That is idiotic. Gedolei Hador have issued halachik responsa that required scientific knowledge for which they had no formal education. They relied on experts to explain the science. Our Congress makes decisions regarding health care, economic issues, pollution, education and etc. although they are not necessarily doctors, teachers, environmental experts or economists.

Yeh and look at the job Congress is doing, why do you think you can bring a Rayah from Congress.

24

 Apr 02, 2010 at 04:36 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Nebach Says:

Good luck to #5 on your exam. I hope you don't have to spell the word "tomorrow" in order to pass.

No, B"H spelling "tomorrow" was not required. The tricarboxylic acid (Krebs) cycle and glycolosis were on it, though. There was some random oxidative phosphorylation and lipid stuff on it too.

It was easy, in the end B"H.

Thanks to the VINNEWS readers for their support!

25

 Apr 02, 2010 at 05:25 PM heshy Says:

"There are 1 million observant U.S. Jews, yet some 45 percent of foods sold at Passover are kosher -- a phenomenon U.S. researchers call the "Passover paradox." " ??????

Does that mean that 45% of a supermarket's sales in Missouri can be eaten by an observant Jew? 45% of what?

26

 Apr 02, 2010 at 08:33 PM kosher_girl Says:

To #5, I'm glad the test was easy. I probably would have answered the Nebach (#13) in not a nice way, but you're a mentsch with a great sense of humor! Hatzlacha and Gut Shabbos!

27

 Apr 04, 2010 at 06:52 PM Anonymous Says:

It used to be that if a product was certified as pareve and didn't contain eggs or fish it could be trusted to be vegan. Now the OU certifies Kolatin, which contains gelatin from the skins of kosher cows as being pareve. I don't understand this.

Are the kosher certifying agencies branching out into vegan, vegetarian, and perhaps organic certification? I was amused to find out that Listerine is not only certified as being kosher, but is certified as being pareve pareve, however it is kitniyos(corn alcohol) so Ashkenazim shouldn't drink it on Pesach. LOL!(No one shouled ever swallow Listerine!)

28

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