Chief Rabbi Announces Electronic Kashrus

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Chief Rabbi Dovid Lau announced that an investigative panel set up to investigate how to improve kashrus supervision advised introducing the electronic monitoring of factories and eateries. The panel also recommended to have mashgichim’s salaries paid by religious councils instead of their workplaces and to establish uniform kashrus standards for the whole country. Mashgichim complained that the electronic system is flawed and will lead to many of them losing their jobs.

If the new recommendations become a reality, thousands of businesses in Israel will be free to choose between supervision by mashgichim or surveillance cameras remotely viewed by mashgichim in a central location. Regular workers approved by the rabbinate will perform physical tasks such as checking rice and eggs or sifting flour.

The electronic option will enable a small number of people to overlook many places at the same time and improve their ability to see what is happening around the clock. Spot checks will still be conducted from time to time.

Rav Lau said that in order to break potential ties between employers and employees that can lead to collusion, mashgichim will no longer be paid by their workplaces but by local religious councils. In addition, the rabbinate is to introduce standardized kashrus regulations for the whole country, unlike the situation today, where every town has its own rules and standards. This will make life easier for food networks that have branches in many locations.

The Union of Kashrus Mashgichim railed against the chief rabbi’s decision to introduce electronic surveillance.

“The conclusions of the one-sided committee set up by the chief rabbi, Rabbi Lau, were reached without giving the kashrus supervisors any representation on the committee,” the union complained. “This reform will make the jobs of mashgichim obsolete and send five thousand workers home, far more than the number of workers in the union.”

“The alternative solution whereby beans will be checked by a business employee will lower the level of kashrus in businesses, as no business owner will waste time and staff on what he perceives as unnecessary,” they added. “Instead of a worker checking beans, the employer will see that he is kept busy cleaning and arranging merchandise.

{Matzav.com Israel News Bureau}

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