By Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum
With the Governor and the legislature of the State of New York eyeing cutting costs of every item on its budget, the division of Kosher Law Enforcement is facing cuts of more than 95% of its current budget. That cuts 95% of its staff and literally eliminates all kosher food inspections. Plainly, that is unacceptable to New York States’ kosher consumers.
The observant community herewith speaks up and proclaims that the Kosher Law Enforcement division must be maintained retained at its full force. The Rabbinical Alliance of America, representing more than 850 Member Rabbis across the United States with a great concentration in the State of New York, together with the National Council of Young Israel, representing moe than 200 synagogues, issues this call. The name New York is virtually synonymous with the word kosher. In 1879, seeking to serve its then already robust and growing Jewish population, the State of New York formulated the very first kosher food law in all of the United States
In addition to Jewish consumers, non-Jews that are vegetarian, lactose intolerant, Halal, quality oriented, etc., are satisfied when they find kosher certification on a food product. Their confidence in the kosher certification is bolstered by the effectiveness of the Kosher Law Enforcement Division of New York States Department of Agriculture. The threthened budget cuts will render the enforcement division toothless and destroy its earned universal confidence. Kosher Inspectors would be eliminated and no longer would they carry out inspections to enforce the Kosher Laws.
The very integrityof New York’s huge kosher food industry is at stake. Maintaining New York State’s Kosher Law Enforcement’s vigilance preserves the kosher integrity of the State as well as of its food manufacturers. We declare to our state political representatives the great importance of this issue to the Jewish and non-Jewish consumers, as well as to the welfare of the State. The number of inspectors and inspections is the backbone of kosher integrity. Eliminating kosher food inspectors translate directly to decreased sales, decrease revenues, and decreased employement, all that must be avoided in this time of economic recession.
New York’s immense share of the kosher industry is bolstered by its effective and respected Kosher Law Enforcement Department. That division’s strength must be mainintainedso that New York continues give confidence to kosher food consumers, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to maintain New York’s percentage of the nation’s kosher food business. This citical message is for the Governor, State Senate and Assembly leaders, as well as for every member of New York’s legislature.