This editorial appeared in the Monday, March 17 edition of Kosher Today. We print it here without commentary. Our comments will, please God, appear tomorrow.

My Sixth Sense
Sowing More Confusion for Kosher Consumers
It was hard to believe that the Commack, Long Island butchers that had caused the demise of the 108-year old kosher laws in New York State several years ago were back at it. According to reports, the butchers are again suing the state claiming that the state was overzealous in its interpretation of the current laws designed to disclose the nature of the kosher certification. This time, Brian, Jeffrey and Evelyn Yarmeisch, say that kosher establishments are merely required to post information about their kosher supervisor and ascertain that products that are marketed as kosher are indeed kosher. But the Yarmeisches contend that the state continues to be too intrusive even under the revised disclosure law. ‘It is reported that the inspectors employed [by the state] are not required to be ordained rabbis’ nor trained in the kosher laws, the suit said. ‘The interpretation of Jewish law was and remains a religious issue…. The state has no right to intrude upon or second guess a certifier’s interpretation of Jewish law.’

This time around, the butchers are looking for $1 million in damages, according to the Jewish Week which carried the story last week. Kashrus officials say that while adequate, the revised ‘disclosure’ laws are no replacement for the tougher enforcement laws that were on the books until the Commack butchers decided to challenge the constitutionality of the old kosher laws. The need for stricter enforcement has never been greater than it is today when the sheer number of kosher products and establishments leaves the consumer to the mercy of the integrity of the marketplace. The number of abuses continues to rise despite greater consumer vigilance. The kind of enforcement that the Commack butchers is simply not acceptable for kosher or for any consumer goods. To totally rely on the merchants and manufacturers to represent the quality or worthiness of a product is undemocratic and certainly not in fitting with our system of government to protect innocent consumers from fraud.

Posted on March 20, 2008 at 12:05 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink
In: General Topics, Uncategorized

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