Agudah, OU Express Concerned About New Kosher Role Of NYS Food Safety Inspectors

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kosher-foodA group of leading Orthodox Jewish organizations welcomed the recent announcement of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to train the State’s 85 food safety inspectors to enforce the

State’s Kosher Food Law. But at the same time they voiced concern “about the effectiveness of some of the new measures announced by the Department.”

In a joint statement by Agudath Israel of America, the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Alliance of America, the Orthodox groups expressed gratitude to Commissioner Patrick Hooker of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for his commitment to “continue to provide this protection through the Kosher Law Enforcement division and its capable director Rabbi Luzer Weiss.” Rabbi Weiss will be responsible for the training of the health inspectors.

The statement indicated that the Orthodox organizations “will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the new enforcement program during the next few months to assure that like all consumers, kosher consumers can be assured that what is represented as kosher certified is indeed kosher.”

The full statement follows:

STATEMENT ON KOSHER LAW ENFORCEMENT

We welcome the recent announcement of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on its intent to continue to provide protection to consumers of kosher food in New York. But we must at the same time voice concern about the effectiveness of some of the new measures announced by the Department.

It is refreshing to note that the State recognized the concern of kosher consumers after the elimination of 11 kosher law enforcement inspectors and has decided to train New York’s 85 food safety inspectors “to ensure that the proper disclosures are posted in retail establishments and to ensure that the kosher registry information provided is complete.” While we fully appreciate the State’s difficult fiscal plight in making the budget cuts of the kosher inspectors, we hope that the health inspectors already charged with the important mission of protecting the health of New Yorkers will be able to enforce the State’s Kosher Law to the same extent as the previous inspectors who were exclusively dedicated to kosher law enforcement. The dedication to kosher law enforcement is vital as an important deterrent to fraudulent misrepresentation of kosher to unsuspecting consumers.

We are grateful to Commissioner Patrick Hooker of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for his continued commitment to the enforcement of the State’s kosher law, protecting the largest community of kosher adherents outside of Israel. His decision to continue to provide this protection through the Kosher Law Enforcement division and its capable director Rabbi Luzer Weiss is encouraging, especially since Rabbi Weiss will be responsible for the training of the health inspectors. Since 2004, kosher consumers have had to rely on a law that was significantly weaker than its preceding 100-year old law and any diminution of the enforcement of the current law would further put kosher consumers in New York State in an untenable position. We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the new enforcement program during the next few months to assure that like all consumers, kosher consumers can be assured that what is represented as kosher certified is indeed kosher. We look forward to continued dialogue with the Department of Agriculture and Markets to assure that the State’s significant numbers of kosher consumers are adequately protected.

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel
Executive Vice President
Agudath Israel of America

Rabbi Menachem Genack
Rabbinic Administrator, CEO
Kashrus Department
Orthodox Union

Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum
Director
Rabbinical Alliance of America

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}

5 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve said it before. Under New York State Law, it is trivially easy to require the Kosher Inspectors (whether or bnei torah or not) to certify that Bacon meets the legal requirements to be called Kosher in New York.

    Given that, why bother with the program at all?

  2. How can we allow this to happen and they’re thankful to the Gov for his cooperation!!This is unbelievable! Bring back the Yidden to do a kosher job!!

  3. NYS Kosher Law Enforcement does NOT give any hechshers. They are there to protect you from hechsher fraud. They have the power to arrest anyone that misrepresents treif foods as being kosher. Can whichever hechsher you believe in do that? If someone is selling falsified Yerushalayim Badatz meat on Lee Avenue, 13th Avenue, Route 59, Main Street, Lawrence Avenue, or Avenue J, what are you going to do about it? Do you think for one second that any of our heimishe hechsherim, as choshuv as they might be, will do anything about it, especially if they are not getting PAID for it? Is some “haredi” internet blog from NJ able to or going to protect you? Wake up!! It will ONLY be NYS Kosher Law Enforcement that can IMMEDIATELY step in and seize the non-kosher meat and arrest the fakers. That, my dear friends, is worth all the taxes we pay to the State. Wake up and smell the kosher coffee !!!!!!!!!

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