Friday, February 18, 2011

NSW KA: Protecting its turf?

Penkivil writes:

The NSW KA is again going all out to defend its turf, this time publishing, in my opinion, a libelous statement about the Kashrut organization known as Kosher VeYosher headed by Rabbi Meir Gershon Rabi. Personally I know very little about supervision issues; however I get very suspicious when the 2 majors - the KA twins - jump upon anyone who dares to raise his head and provide an alternative supervision. (If you don’t know exactly what I mean, do a “KA” search on this blog and you’ll soon get an idea.)

Did Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, prior to issuing his statement, give Rabbi Rabi the courtesy of a telephone call to discuss any misgivings? Or did he mimic his colleagues in Melbourne when they too publicly attacked Rabbi Rabi and his organisation without offering him an opportunity to respond? A certain Talmid Chacham that I respect and consult with told me that there is a minimum obligation of שמוע בין אחיכם – and indeed simple mentchlichkeit - requires one to listen to the other side before lashing out. I doubt that this happened in the case of KA v. Kosher VeYosher.

Another seemingly grave Halachic issue is the admission of KA (in their statement) that they are the current supervisors of that establishment. Can they inform us of how that happened? Who made sure that KV were kicked out so KA could get the business? Was there bad-mouthing by one Kashrus ‘business’ against another? Was there any Lashon Haa, Sheker and Rechilus involved? Is there any Halachic justification for such behaviour? And what about Chilul Hashem? What do they think that the non-Jewish proprietors think of rabbis after such an episode? To a layman like myself this sounds quite despicable and appalling. Of course I may have missed some details and if that is the case, I look forward to KA responding here or in another public notice.

Being a Sydneysider, I don’t know Rabbi Rabi. But I am an anti-monopolist and a believer in free trade. And I am convinced that if NSW Kosher consumers had more than one certifying agency, all of us would benefit.


  1. Penkivil,

    The issues that you raise are irrelevent to the fundamental point of the KA NSW warning.

    Whether or not RMG shlita should have discussed this with Rabbi Rabi (and he may well have done so, as there is no information in the KA NSW email to the contrary), is a side issue.

    Whether or not KA NSW is trying to poach business from Rabbi Rabi is also a side issue. (Though dan lekaf zechus, perhaps the producer of the matza was made aware that the KA NSW is a more widely respected hashgacha and decided to switch, or maybe Rabbi Rabi gave up his hashgocha - again, we simply don't know).

    So what then is the point?

    That a respected rabbinic authority who has been heavily involved in commercial kashrus for decades (and is recognised by major overseas authorities - such as the OK and OU - as someone who can be relied upon) has stated unequivocally that the "soft" matzah produced by Rabbi Rabi shlita were chametz. This is what should be the issue of concern.

    Whether or not you like the KA NSW, RCV, Kosher Australia, or their leadership (and their politics) should not be the issue. The issue is whether you trust their judgement when it comes to ruling things kosher or treif.

    As an Aussie in Israel I have to make daily decisions about the kashrus of food that I eat given the plethora of hasgachas. I do not agree with the politics or activities of the Jerusalem Badatz Edah Chareidis, for example, but I trust their kashrus 100% and have no hesitation eating food under their supervision. Similarly, the KA and RMG know their stuff and despite any other quibbles, can be relied upon 100% when they say whether something is kosher, trief, or chametz.

    Leave the politics and muck raking aside Penkivil, and focus on the kashrus. After all, this is what is really important to the kosher consumer.

  2. The points I made stand. What right does anyone have to publicly attack the standards of another without at least allowing him the opportunity to explain his actions. Some Melbourne friends who know Rabbi Rabi claim that he told them that the Matzos did have approval of certain overseas Kashrus experts. (I can't vouch for this - but did Rabbi Gutnick bother to enquire?)

    And as mentioned in earlier posts on this subject, it seems that the Matozs that both KAs were approving previously - Solomon and Snider had very similar issues - and those rabbis were happy to give it their seal of approval.)

    And the fact that Rab G recruited that company (for which previously Rabbi Rabi - also - gave his hashgocho for all year round, is, in my opinion, a VERY bad look for KA.

    Here's the great Rabbi G with splendid income from one of the largest Kashrut operations outside the US, Israel and UK, taking the parnoso of someone who would be happy to be making 10% of his income. It certainly doesn't appear to be a rabbinical or chassidic thing to do.

    But then what would I know? Being a simple Modern Orthodox BT.

  3. Dear Penkivil, in your words "Being a Sydneysider, I don’t know Rabbi Rabi" you have summed it all up. I do know him as do many others in Melbourne. I have been told personally by many of the local Rabbonim that they have tried in the past time and time again to discuss issues of Halachic concern with Rabbi Rabi and were met with evasive and sometimes misleading responses. This was a consistent message from at least six rabbis who I spoke to. They eventually got fed up and realized there's no one to talk to so they had no choice but to go public.

    1. I guess they must be the same six rabbi's who refused for years to admit that there were child abuse issues in the community...yes a worthy bunch indeed.

  4. Anon, I'd like to know who your 'six rabbis' are. And so would Rabbi Rabi!

  5. as having info from the inside i can tell you that on previous occasions meir rabi was asked by the rabbonim to give his side of the story and refused

  6. Repeating a lie doesn't make it any better.

    Rabbi Rabi can be contacted by anyone and will talk openly.

    Q. Why can you not name at least 2 of your 6 rabbis?

    A. Becvause they don't exist and youmade this up.

  7. I don't see why KA needs to contact him. He gave his p'sak, KA said they didn't agree. There are lots of kashrus authorities they don't accept: do you suggest that they contact each and every one before they reject their standards?

  8. Joe, KA do exactly as they like - just ask anyone in Sydney who is knowledgable about the local politics.

    But even for us who are used to their tactics to ensure their monopoly, the fact that he took away a client from KV shows exactly how much he cares about ethics and morals

  9. I don't have a dog in this fight, but as far as I can see you can look at it from R' Rabi's perspective - which is(*) that his hashgacha has been unfairly slandered and his client stolen - or you can look at it from R' Gutnick's perspective,(*) which is that he persuaded a manufacturer who claimed to be selling kosher food to adopt proper kashrut standards. Either interpretation leaves you with one hero and one villain, and without evidence of bad faith on the part of R' Gutnick I don't see how you can tell which is which.

    (*) As I understand it, of course.

  10. Rabbi Rabi was also certifying that company for all-year use. To the best of my knowledge no one claimed that there was anything wrong with that. So pinching the client seems to be a straightforward commercial act by a so-called communal organisation.

    It doesn't raise my respect for KA at all.

  11. Now we have a situation where the Kashrut Authority (NSW) did not feel confident certifying the Iku chain of 13 eateries in Sydney, so "It's Kosher" (Kosher v'Yosher) of Melbourne did so instead. Did the rav hamachshir at It's Kosher give Rabbi Moshe Gutnick at the KA a courtesy call to see what the issues where that prevented the KA from giving the all clear to Iku? Or did they decide for themselves that they know better?

    Aside from issues of hasagat gevul (as the KA is THE recognised and respected kashrus agency in Sydney), one wonders how a one-person operation in Melbourne can take it upon itself to supervise a restaurant chain with 13 branches in another city. Are the goyish employees checking the fruit and veges for infestation? Are they bringing in Jews to light the ovens? Are the standards of kashrus really of a mehadrin standard so much so that any Yid can feel comfortable eating there?

    See the following statement by the KA:

    From the (NSW) Kashrut Authority…

    Kashrut Alert: Iku Restaurants – You may have heard that Iku stores are purportedly now certified as Kosher under the supervision of “It’s Kosher”. It is well known that “It’s Kosher” supervision is not recognised by any Australian Kashrut Agency or Rabbinate as reliable for kosher certification.

    The Kashrut Authority was in negotiations with Iku and we identified many significant problems that required rectification before certification could be given. We also determined that in our view it would be impossibleto certify all IKU shops and we would have concentrated our efforts on four shops. Iku were not prepared to implement the changes required by The Kashrut Authority.

    While The Kashrut Authority is already aware of many inadequacies in “It’s Kosher” kosher certification and requires no furtherproof, “It’s Kosher” has placed on their own facebook page a photo in relation to Iku which reinforces our belief of their failure to adequately deal with the issues.

    “It’s Kosher”, by certifying, in our opinion, in a completely unacceptable manner, actually does a disservice to the community. Companies such as Iku working hard toward kosher certification, are misled, and avoid achieving acceptable standards by being offered shortcuts to certification that must be rejected by those serious in their desire to keep kosher.

    The Kashrut Authority shares the above information with consumers with the intent of protecting them from consuming food that may be non-kosher.

  12. Harry Joachim:
    Now we have a situation where the Kashrut Authority (NSW) did not feel confident certifying the Iku chain of 13 eateries in Sydney, so "It's Kosher" (Kosher v'Yosher) of Melbourne did so instead. Did the rav hamachshir at It's Kosher give Rabbi Moshe Gutnick at the KA a courtesy call to see what the issues where that prevented the KA from giving the all clear to Iku? Or did they decide for themselves that they know better?

    Harry, you obviously have missed a lot of what has been going on here. Rabbi Moshe Gutnick has been attacking and besmirching Rabbi Rabi and his organisation for a number of years. You really expect Rabi to call Gutnick and play nice nice? Do you think G called R before publicaly bashing him?

    When Rabbi Rabi certified Sanitarium, rabbi G attacked that too - until a short time later when he himself gave the same approval. (Presumably because everyone was using the product anyway.)

    I don't know what is really going on in the kashrus world, but it seems to me that it is simply a turf war with the NSWKA very unhappy to entertain any competition at all. Nothing to do with kashrus. Most readers here will remember when RM Gutnick almost lost it when a MELB caterer was asked to do a simcha in Sydney and it was under the Melb Adass kashrus.

    HARRY: Aside from issues of hasagat gevul (as the KA is THE recognised and respected kashrus agency in Sydney),

    There is no hasagat gevul. Ask any knowledgeable rav. Just like one can open a second bakery or butcher so too can another rabbi offer his services. No one appointed RMG as chief rabbi of NSW (In fact the last I know, he wasn't even the rabbi of any shul)

    HARRY: one wonders how a one-person operation in Melbourne can take it upon itself to supervise a restaurant chain with 13 branches in another city. Are the goyish employees checking the fruit and veges for infestation? Are they bringing in Jews to light the ovens?

    Good questions. Why not contact Rabbi Rabi and ask him? You may be surprised to learn that he has answers.

    HARRY: Are the standards of kashrus really of a mehadrin standard so much so that any Yid can feel comfortable eating there?

    Did Rabi ever claim to have mehadrin standards? To the best of my knowledge, he is catering for those who seek basic kosher. And if you check out the locations in melb and Sydney you will find that the customers there are usually those with tiny serugim and often not even that. Many of these would previously eat in totally unsupervised establishments - you know fish and vegetarian etc only.
    And BTW would you suggest that NSWKA (or indeed the Melb version) have mehadrin standards in all their places? Have you seen the quality of some of the mashgichim in eateries where the owner is a mechalel shabbos befresiyeh (nearly all of them)? Often young students or BTs who have done a 6 or 10 hour course in instant kashrus.
    And why not investigate who and how infestation checking is done in those places? If this is something that you care about, I advise that you stay away from such products

    From the (NSW) Kashrut Authority…
    While The Kashrut Authority is already aware of many inadequacies in “It’s Kosher” kosher certification and requires no furtherproof, “It’s Kosher” has placed on their own facebook page a photo in relation to Iku which reinforces our belief of their failure to adequately deal with the issues.

    Anyone know what this means?

    Finally, I am convinced that if Rav Landa of Benei Berak or the OU were to offer certification in Sydney, Rabbi Gutnick would be no less angry and upset. Though he may have to word things differently than he does for a soft target like Rabi

  13. From the Kosher Veyosher website:

    (I think this should put to rest most of Mr Joachim's concerns)

    IKU Behind the Scenes Kosher Arrangements

    All foods at IKU are Bishul Yisrael. We have developed, commissioned and continuously monitor reliable robust systems that satisfy Halachic requirements for Bishul Yisrael. The photograph showing myself sealing the electric wall plug of a rice cooker, illustrates but one component of this system. We do not seal any wiring at the device since that is mostly illegal and dangerous besides, being exposed to the work area is likely to become worn, frayed or wet and then becomes a burden to maintain. We prefer to use the KISS system – Keep It Simple, St-p-d.

    We have had all IKU’s rice cookers modified to our specifications to provide continuous heat via an electric heating element that runs 24/7 [there are also spare rice cookers that have been Kosher modified and are ready for instant use should one of those in use require replacement].

    This system offers the IKU chefs complete control to cook the foods as and when they wish without need to call upon a Kosher supervisor. The chef operates the cooking device as normal, the Kosher modifications sit quietly in the background doing their job, and everybody is happy. The chef is not imposed upon, the Kosher arrangements are permanent, reliable and robust and most importantly, the consumers are assured of a failsafe Kosher system that permits them to eat Kosher at every IKU outlet, with perfect confidence.

    All electric points at which the electric circuit may be broken [and they must be so due to safety legislation and concerns for OH&S] are sealed with tamper evident security. Any breach in this system is immediately identified and takes but a few minutes to repair.

    Similar modifications have been made to the other cooking apparatus used by IKU.


  14. continuation (from kosher veyosher website):

    scotching the nonsense
    "You Aint Nothin Till You're Envied"
    Lucy, Peanuts

    Our Mashgichim, locals from Sydney, as well as the IKU internal store manager, regularly verify the Kosher systems.

    Bishul Yisrael is thus constant and continuous and not at all dependent upon human intervention. This is a far more reliable and preferred system than dependence upon a Mashgiach who may not arrive on time, whose late arrival will certainly not please the kitchen and shop staff which creates tension between the Kosher agency and the provider and is certainly the worst possible threat to successfully providing Kosher service. It is well documented that irate staff will deliberately compromise Kosher standards when they are treated with disrespect.

    Even the best intentions cannot guarantee that a Kosher agency overcome the day to day vagaries of life, be they flat tires, traffic, illness, bad hair days, failed alarm clocks [even one of our Olympians failed to wake on time for her event] and overcrowded schedules. This leads unfortunately to tremendous temptation and tests that are sometimes beyond average human endurance.

    This system also sidesteps the issue of providing Bishul Yisrael on Shabbos and Yom Tov.

    Nestle Peters, Keloggs, Cadburry, Sanitarium, Heinz etc etc etc. all manufacture foods 24/7. Their foods are Kosher, certified or approved with or without assistance from Kosher agencies [see London Beth Din FAQ and other major K orgs] notwithstanding that their foods are cooked on Shabbos and Yom Tov. The reason for this is that the foods are not cooked specifically for Jews. Even those facilities producing foods bearing a paid for, legitimate, Kosher seal, are not prepared specifically for the Kosher consumers; who are 0.01% of the target market. In Israel the case MAY be different, but even there a significant proportion is cooked for the Arabs and other non-Jews and may be permitted during Shabbos.

    All foods and ingredients used by IKU are verified to be Kosher, be they Australian manufactured or imported. Furthermore, all ingredients that IKU wishes to consider using for R&D or for substituting present foods and ingredients, will be investigated at the very first steps of being considered.

    All IKU food outlets use either dedicated crockery and cutlery or disposables.

    Dear Rav Rabi
    I hope you had a meaningful fast. I am writing to you as a frum resident of Sydney's Eastern Suburbs in regards to the certification of IKU. The KA has posted up a warning that the standards of IKU are not acceptable to be trusted under your hasgacha. While I know that there have been ongoing problems I will admit that I do eat a number of things bearing your certification, however I do not eat out at establishments.

    Perhaps if you could clarify, as a go between for IKU, the specific problems that the KA is referring to that IKU was unwilling to rectify in order to obtain KA certification (prior to being certified by yourself), then I could approach my own Rav to discuss with him his opinion on the matter and see if there is any common ground to be found that would permit me and my wife to eat at IKU.
    With the love of Torah,


  15. continuation 3...

    Shalom to you C,
    May this year's fasting and mourning for the lost values of our Nation be our last; LeShana HaBaAh BiYeruShaLaYim.

    I would gladly assist you if I but knew what concerns KAS have regarding the Kashrus of IKU, or any other establishments that I certify.

    I appreciate your difficulty in approaching me in this delicate situation where you do not know me personally and can not know how I might respond in such matters that are sometimes highly charged and even a little explosive. I appreciate your respectful posture.

    I know nothing from KAS nor from Reb M Gutnick about any of their concerns. If they would have contacted me, I would have already responded to them and would gladly forward that communication to you.

    As a matter of Torah and business ethics and professionalism, we always inquire from prospective clients if they have had or presently have dealings with other agencies. We make it clear that we do not wish to gazump and that we do not want to know anything of the programs, costs and methods of our rivals. If by chance some information is dropped or alluded to, we at the very first opportunity will remind our clients that we are uncomfortable with the discussion.

    I can assure you that I am a Charedi Yid. I learn in the Adass Kollel 5 days a week from 8.30 to 1pm. I have been learning and teaching for over 30 years. I do not cut corners in my Yiddishkeit nor in the Kashrus I provide. I readily admit that I am an innovator but that all the innovation is within the boundaries of traditional Frum Halachic guidelines. I am in regular consultation with Rabbonim in the UK, US and EY.

    IKU foods and ingredients have been audited for Kashrus. IKU uses bread from GMoses, Pas Yisrael; the rice cookers in all the stores have been modified to provide Bishul Yisroel through a dedicated internal electric heat lamp that is permanently wired in and is checked weekly. We have made similar modifications to the IKU main kitchen; and we have verified the system for Bedikas Tolaim, checking the veggies for insects that more than satisfies Halachic requirements.

    I am happy to answer any further queries you or your friends may have and I am also happy to chat with Rabbi …… if he wishes to contact me.

    Dear Rav Rabi, Thank you for your reply. Firstly I would like to ask that my name and Rav ……… not be included in any public discussion at this time.

    Secondly, I would like to tell you that I have no interest in kashrut other than that of a frum yid and consumer of kashrut

    I have certain problems with the way Kashrut is handled here. As you alluded to but did not explicitly say, I find that there is some politically charged and underlying issues that in my personal opinion have led to Kashrut in Sydney being a business first and a service to the community second. In saying this, the purpose of my enquiries are to try to bridge the issue, or otherwise even solve them (with the help of HKBH") so that Sydney Jews, including my family, can have better access to Kosher products.

    In this regard, I have asked Rav Gutnick to specify the issues that the KA has with the certification of IKU and your hashgacha in general so that I can take that information, in conjunction with the information which you have just provided me, and approach Rav ……… for his opinion on the matter.

    Thank you for your response and for working towards the broadening and furthering of the provision of Kashrut in Australia. May we merit the unification of our people so that next year we will be feasting instead of fasting.

  16. "There is no hasagat gevul. Ask any knowledgeable rav. Just like one can open a second bakery or butcher so too can another rabbi offer his services. No one appointed RMG as chief rabbi of NSW (In fact the last I know, he wasn't even the rabbi of any shul)"

    You have a short memory. Until the early 1990s there was immense machlokes in Sydney between and about the two kashrus agencies - the Sydney Beth Din and the Yeshiva. Shalom Bayit was finally achieved with the combined Kashrut Authority. Despite any quibbles one might have with the leadership (spiritual or lay), the KA has significantly lifted kashrus standards in Sydney and brought many more products to the kosher consumer.

    More than one kashrus agency in Sydney? Been there, done that. If machloikes is the name of the game, then by all means let's have KvY operate here.

    Sowing dissent (re kashrus) in a community where little existed is not a menchlikeit way of doing things to say the least...

  17. Come on harry, it's time to stop your anti KVY campaign (rampage?). you seem to be bashing Rabbi Rabi on almost every aust jewish blog.

    Leave the hechsher to the market.
    If people don't want it or won't accept it, KVY should be dying off. But what I seem to see is that it is growing in leaps and bounds - so obviously patronage in the establishments makes it worthwhile to keep it going.

    And what's the betting the Iku wil shortly be 'approved' by the KA as well - just like Sanitarium was?

  18. "And what's the betting the Iku wil shortly be 'approved' by the KA as well - just like Sanitarium was?"

    Sanitarium does NOT have blanket kosher approval from Kosher Australia, the (NSW) Kashrut Authority, or Adass. To the contrary, these agencies only certify a small range of the Sanitarium product range. It is only KvY that has given its approval to nearly the entire Sanitarium range.

  19. Rabbi Moshe Gutnick made a serious error. He posted on the KAS fb, that a photo shows, “a Kosher V'Yosher representative placing a sticker or seal on an electric wall socket purportedly resolving the issues of bishul akum. Of course simple logic (and the poskim) would point this out to be an apparently futile excersise (sic). What does sealing the wall socket help if the gentile chef can turn the switch off and on at the appliance? The only sealing that would help is sealing the switch of the utensil, not the wall socket.”

    Had Rabbi Moshe Gutnick asked me or read the information available on our website, he would have been better informed.

    Has Rabbi Gutnick apologised to his blog and fb readers?

    Rabbi Moshe Gutnick has not approached me to ask for Mechilah.

    Yael wrote on Galus, "Perhaps you [Harry Joachim] might want to contact Rabbi Moshe Gutnick and remind him of the right thing to do; remind him of his own words, his emphatic denunciation, “When their incompetence is conveyed to them and they fail to admit their error and to the contrary continue to pretend everything is ok, then simple logic would dictate that they cannot be trusted. Not politics - simple logic and rules of Kashrut.”"

  20. Talking about RM Rabi can someone tell me what the following post on Balbin's Pitputim is about?

    Meir Rabi’s latest attention seeking news bite

    Posted by pitputimAugust 26, 2012

    One side of me said to stay silent and not blog since blogging would serve his purpose. The other side said to blog but only in order to encourage people NOT to get involved in facebook and other forums where the human headline will purvey his latest feather salvo. Don’t engage him in discourse; you waste your time.
    Just forget about it and remember
    ורם לבביך ושכחת את ה אלוקיך
    is a real syndrome.

    Don’t react and don’t provide fodder for next week’s ‘screaming headline’ in the AJN.

  21. I think he is referring to a post somewhere on the internet where Rabbi Rabi questions the standards of the Melb KA by listing a group of eateries that do not have full time mashgichim.

    The list includes a number that are owned and operated by non-shomrei shabbos, which creates serious halachic kashrus shaalos especially regarding meat, poultry, fish and cheese products.

    Maybe some can post it here for us all to see.

  22. Here it is (someone should post it on Pitputim)


    The following Melbourne Cafe/Restaurants under the supervision of 'Kosher Australia' and 'Rabbi Mordechai Z. Gutnick' have critical Kashrus flaws.
    • LAFFA BAR, Hawthorn Rd
    • SHEMESH PIZZA, Glenhuntly Rd
    • MILK N HONEY, Glenhuntly Rd
    • NOGGA CAFÉ, Carlisle St
    • OFF THE HOOK, Kooyong Rd
    • AMALYA, Glenhuntly Rd

    The supervision at these eateries, some owned and managed by people who are not Shomer-Shabbat, is inadequate.

    The Shulchan Aruch (YD 118:1) rules that without a full time Mashgiach to verify integrity: meat, fish and wine must be secured with two Simanim (tamper evident indicators of integrity). Cheese requires but one Siman. Kosher foods delivered by those who are Halachically unreliable, require such Simanim to establish their Kashrus.

    'Kosher Australia' does not employ full time supervision, relying mostly on a Mashgiach’s unscheduled visits. Their systems do not prevent nor even dissuade regular on-going substitution of very expensive Kosher foods and ingredients, with far less expensive, and indistinguishable, non-Kosher alternatives.

    We all remember the very bitter catastrophe of the Monsey Meat Scandal which saw an extremely religious US Jewish community eating for many years, non-Kosher meat. The meat was sold in very Frum Kosher supermarket, owned by a very Frum, highly respected Yid, and was supervised by very Frum Mashgichim and a highly respected certifying Rabbi. Nevertheless the lure of easy profit was overwhelming and the Kosher protocols were easily falsified ans manipulated.


    it's kosher │
    1 Grimwade Court Caulfield North 3161 Victoria Australia│
    T: +61 0431 559 695│T: +61 0423 207 837│E:│
    ABN: 76 753 295 544

  23. Thanks Martin for the instant reply. I have to double check this with my rabbi. I can certainly confirm that in th elist provided there are non-shomer shabbat.

    Anyone know if the OU or Sydney establishments are as lenient?

  24. next question, why does balbin have it in for rabi?

    he tries to put the boot in at every opportunity

  25. Anonymous - it is not for me to respond on Mr Balbin's behalf. However, the issues that people tend to have with Kosher veYosher/It's Kosher are the following:

    1. The lack of neemanus

    a. Allegations have been made that the initial run of the KvY "soft matza" used regular flour, were baked on a trays coated by a kitniyos starch, and were not baked in a hot enough oven.

    b. It is hard to get a clear answer from KvY when asking straightforward questions about the halachic processes they follow - one receives long, turgid and tangential responses citing chapter and verse of shulchan aruch, but failing to address the issue at hand. This has been the case on numerous occasions when such questions were posted to online fora and the KvY representative replied, or emailed directly to KvY.

    c. Despite a validated letter from 2007 demanding that KvY remove a letter from a dayan on the London Beth Din from the KvY site, KvY has not done so. The letter in question could be misinterpreted as endorsing KvY's kashrus, which it was not intended to do.

    2. Standards and loopholes

    KvY adopts an approach to kashrus that is meikil in the extreme. Product ingredients are the sole source of determining the kashrus of a product, without any detailed assessment of contributory ingredients sourced from overseas, or a thorough consideration of the shared use of equipment in the factories.

    KvY also endorses the use of gelatine from non-kosher animals, as well as cochineal. No other kashrus agency worth its rabbi's semichas allows the use of such products.

    4. Controversies

    As mentioned above, KvY's "soft matza" has been a source of significant contention. No other matza factory in the world produces "soft" matza of the "laffa" type that KvY offers - the traditional Sephardi recipe for soft matza involves relatively thick matza of a different texture. One wonders why KvY has taken it upon themselves to start a radically new form of matza with which to fulfill the chiyuv deOraisa, particularly as it does not conform with current practice, nor does it have the backing of any posek or gadol (not to mention the chametz issues referred to above).

    It's not a matter of the big guns of kashrus (the Kashrut Authority, Kosher Australia, or Adass) ganging up on the smaller relatively recent arrival to the kashrus scene. There are serious halachic issues underlying the concerns these agencies and others have with KvY...

  26. Today I received this Kosher update alert from Kosher Aust:

    Kosher Australia Update Alert 31 August 2012

    Dear All,

    We are about to send out a several page Kosher Kontact with many new products. Below are the some urgent notifications.

    § We have received many queries re Heinz tomato soup made in New Zealand. The approval for tomato soup – regular & reduced salt – is from the Kashrut Authority (NSW).

    The product is not certified at this stage.

    Best Regards,
    Yankel Wajsbort - General Manager
    Kosher Australia Pty Ltd

    Can someone explain, is Melb KA saying that despite NSWKA approving this product, they don't? Or what?


    They are possibly scrambling now to put mashgichim in place and if so a big yasher koach to Reb Meir!

  28. mendel - re the soup: it is not certified, i.e. mehadrin. Unlike K-Oz, the NSW KA also lists in its guide products that are simply "approved" (as opposed to "certified") and K-Oz is noting this lack of mehadrin status.

    I'd urge you to visit the K-Oz Facebook page and to direct such quesdtions directly to the agency.

  29. harrry Joachim, any response yet re the mechalel Shabbos fleishig eateries without full-time mashgichim?

    Would YOU in in such a place?


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