Where’s the Hechsher?


wissotzky-green-tea-chestBy Yechiel Spira

As consumers we accept a great deal, more than we should in my opinion. Today, I will share my grievance regarding placement of the hechsher on a product, in this case, Wissotzky tea.

It was pointed out to me this week that some boxes of Wissotzky tea, under the supervision of Badatz Mehadrin (Rabbi Avraham Rubin) have a logo displaying the hechsher while others do not. It appears that in some cases, perhaps a minority, the hechsher is printed on the outer cellophane. Therefore, once the box is opened, one hasn’t a clue if the product has a hechsher or not. Even if the box is not opened, but the cellophane is removed, one simply cannot know if the product has a hechsher or not.

I telephoned Badatz Mehadrin this week to inquire if this is so, and it was explained to me that generally, the logo of the hechsher is printed on the box but around Pesach time, “due to production pressure”, one may find boxes of tea with a logo on the external cellophane wrapper only, not on the product. I tried to explain how this undermines prudent kashrus, for a consumer cannot know by looking at a product and to expect one to guess is not acceptable.

My words were received warmly, but nonetheless, the rabbi did not appear too concerned, seeking to allay my fears, albeit unsuccessfully. Please, I urge you to write to Wissotzky (at oritc@wtea.com) and insist that product kosher logo be placed on the box, not an external wrapper. This is an easy one, an email, in whatever language works for you.

Please explain politely that you do not feel this policy of printing on the outer cellophane is acceptable, and it may compel you to use other products as a result. Remember, consumer pressure is the most persuasive tool available towards implementing change. The tea company pays for the hechsher and if executives learn that a change is requested towards not losing clients, compliance may be forthcoming.

By the way, this is applicable to all products and all hechsherim and the case in point is just that, by far not the only product in the marketplace with a hechsher on the external packaging only. Consumers are urged to begin writing to the companies and hechsherim requesting they change the policy to ensure the hechsher appears on the product itself.

{Yechiel Spira-Jerusalem Kosher News}

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. I’m not sure what the problem is. The cellophane is on the package when you buy it, so why would you be unsure if it’s kosher or not? I assume you check a product in the store before you buy it to ensure that it’s kosher, right?

  2. As Jews, we know better than to think that the stamp makes the product kosher or that the rabbi “blesses the food.” You knew the product was kosher. You knew who the rav hamachshir was and you probably knew that there are not many things that can go wrong with tea. So what exactly is the problem here?

  3. Um … don’t we all have a lot more important issues to tend? We need to know if a product is kosher when we bring it in to our homes and the cellophane stamp is sufficient for that. If you don’t trust someone, don’t eat in their house. Tea wouldn’t be the biggest issue.

  4. although i understand what you’re saying, it’s not a big deal. take the cellophane after opening the box, and leave it IN the box, so you remember that this one is kosher l’pesach.
    if you want to get involved with kashrus, what i believe to be a bigger problem is the following.
    1) wines should say if it’s mevushal or not.
    2) if something like nosh is kosher because of batul bashishim, or other heterim, consumers should know. although it might be ‘kosher’ why would that be my first choice?
    3) any bread that the package says ‘bracha mezonos’ should not have a hechsher! there is no ‘mezonos bread’

  5. he needed to write an article! what happens if you were to throw out the box??? do you want it on every tea bag wrapper? what if you remove it from the sleeve do you want it printed on every tab. please stop being ridiculous!!

  6. I think we should also request that they should have the hechsher printed on each tea bag in both languages hebrew & english so that
    you would know that it is kosher

  7. It’s interesting that to the Israeli that’s more concerned about kashrus issues, this bothers them. On the other hand the americanah that is looking for the “heter” it’s of no concern-mindset.

  8. Ok there is a lot of fradulent heckshers and stuff going on in israel. But if the product comes from a good source and u know it then there is no end to the matter! especially during pesach. Its already over the top its just tea!

  9. “Um … don’t we all have a lot more important issues to tend?”

    i love 2 c this foolish taane on every yiddishe issue…

    every jewish mitzva is precious 2 us and we want it to b top notch!

  10. Logic, great news im here to allieve your concerns:
    1) They do
    2) batyl besheishim isnt a heter, it is a din in shulchan aruch. you dont want to rely on it, thats your right (arguably, the pischei tshuva says youre a kofer) however their is no need for hashgachas to cater to your mishegas
    3) you are wrong if it is eaten as a snack and is made with mei peiros it is mezonos nobody argues that point

  11. i call the ou on this and they said the same thing ,they did not appear too concerned, seeking to allay my fears, albeit unsuccessfully.

  12. yankel, your response is appreciated.
    please review your facts before posting, so others aren’t misled.
    1) wines do not always say if it’s mevushel or not, yes some do, but that would obviously not be what i was talking about.
    2) if a milchig spoon fell into a pot of soup, the soup is kosher, and if it happened at home you should NOT throw the soup away. but i should have the right to know if the food, or especially nosh is made intentionally that way, even if it’s still ‘kosher’
    3) no one says a roll with a tea spoon of apple juice is mezonos! if the rav giving the hechsher agrees that whatever is being made is mezonos i have no problem with it, but if the co. puts mezonos on the bag when it’s not mezonos, the rav should pull the hechsher.
    again obviously i wasn’t talking about something that ‘all’ agree IS mezonos.

  13. According to Wissotzky (I emailed them yesterday) in the US the box has the heksher, Badatz for year-round and OUP for Pesach. Both are on the box. In Israel an additional hashgochah for Pesach is printed on the cellophane wrapper.

    #6 really nailed this one. Just make up your mind in the store.

    I think trying to get Americans involved in an Israeli hashgocha issue (if there is one at all) and especially without being clear about the printed heksherim in the first place was pretty deceptive.