Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Los Angeles Hashgochas, post Doheny meat scandal

Los Angeles Hashgochas post Doheny Meat scandal were somewhat scrutinized and the conclusion was not meet  "BASIC OU Standards". An uplifting facade just doesn't do justice to the kosher consumer.
they do

The kosher consumer is entitled to a responsible, reliable kashrus supervision. If one can't provide it, step to the side and don't hinder others from stepping up to the plate.

It's not just in the meat department that is lacking in basic standards, infestation issues are completely ignored, for lack of basic knowledge.

17 comments:

Troppenstein's Monster said...

http://jhvonline.com/local-rabbi-oversees-kosherforpassover-coke-production-p4453-96.htm

Houston's Rabbi Wender who was involved up to his neck in muck with the filthiest of the Tropper scandals is an RFR for the OU.

OU crosses the line said...

Do you want to know what the REAL story is with Ee-Zevel restaurant?

The 2 owners were originally afraid to approach the OU, thinking the OU would never certify 2 faygelach from frum homes living together who created a prusta atmosphere that is welcoming to other faygelach. That's why they initially went to Rabbis Mehlman & Fishelis. But when there weren't enough faygella-friendly customers ok with weak hashgochos to keep the restaurant afloat, the owners figured what the heck, let's see if the OU goes for it.

Much like Hisachdus, as long as you pay on time and make a few cosmetic changes, the OU doesn't care about much.

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/orthodox-union-jezebel-changed-article-1.1276240

Do you have ANY idea what kind of SICK sevivah is in this G-d forsaken place that the OU turns a blind eye to in the name of GELT?

Anonymous said...

JTA

In 2009, Lasko Family Kosher Tours, operators of the popular Fontainbleau program, was sued for failing to pay more than $200,000 to one of its suppliers. A federal judge ruled against the company, requiring Lasko to make payments of $120,000.

Sam Lasko declined to discuss his company’s finances with JTA. But the company is now operating under a new name, Lasko Kosher Getaways

OU Crony Watch said...

If Genack gets enough negative press or blog attacks over this, he will drop Jezebel like a hot potato. He might be able to cover up facts that people can't see like kashrus scandals at restaurants and hospital cafeterias but he cannot force the weirdos at Jezebel to start acting normal. Ain aputruppus ...

Anonymous said...

"The kosher consumer is entitled to a responsible, reliable kashrus supervision. "

Actually, you get what you pay for. If you have a 1 or 2 or 3 man operation, who comes to you with a beard that still had bread crumbs from yesterdays supper, then you will get either 2 things - 1) A brilliant rav who knows every way how to be maikel and will use it or 2) a rav who is machmir in everything, but has no idea how to pasken a shayla, halacha l'maaseh.

Or you can have choice #2 - an organization that has and used a huge database to pasken and ascertain the 'truth' about every product tat they make. But their work is not trusted because they are not 'heymish' enough for the 'real' yidden.

Then there is choice #3 - a combination of the above 2. Unfortunately, he is only good at knocking down the other rabbi's and organizations.

Are there more catagories that I missed??

aless abee mattir zein said...

http://www.vosizneias.com/34491/2009/07/03/israel-new-cheaper-method-in-glatt-kosher-fighting-an-uphill-battle/

Anonymous said...

R' Yirmiyahu Kaganoff:

"I was once scheduled to visit a veal shechitah to see whether it met the standards for the Vaad HaKashrus I headed at the time. Before visiting the plant, I called the rav giving the hechsher to find out his standard for accepting kosher veal. When I asked him if he “takes sirchos” on veal, he replied, “Of course we do, otherwise we would never have enough marked kosher!”

What an astonishing reply! At least he saved me a long trip. Yet, there are hechsherim that allow purchase of “kosher” veal from shechitos like this!

The heter of non-Glatt meat only exists in reference to mature beef cattle, but lambs, kids, and young calves that have any sircha should be treated as non-kosher (see Rama Yoreh Deah 39:13). The logic behind this is that if a young calf already exhibits some signs of an adhesion, it is probably a kashrus problem and the animal should be considered treif. Thus, we would conclude from this that all veal should be either glatt or treif.

However, at this point the modern meat industry has created a new problem by attempting to convince the consumer that quality veal should be very light-colored, almost white. Since meat is naturally red and not white, this is accomplished by raising calves in drastically unnatural circumstances such as not feeding them a normal diet, not providing them with any iron in their diet, and not allowing them to exercise. This approach decreases the hemoglobin in the blood which gives the meat its red color. The result is that “white veal” or the misnomer “nature calves” often have a notorious high rate of treifos in the lungs as a result of the conditions in which they were raised. (It is known in the industry that if the grower improves the ventilation and sanitary conditions of his pens, the rate of kosher product increases.) For this reason, non-scrupulous meatpackers have plenty of temptation to bend the rules that define the kashrus of veal. (One shochet recently told me that he once shechted 114 “nature calves” that had been raised in non-sanitary conditions and had only one kosher!)"

OU Eyepopper said...

Why the OU also needs to cover up for Doheny.

http://dusiznies.blogspot.com/2013/05/did-rabbi-belsky-have-negeeois-when-he.html

I remembered that Rechnitz was the son-in-law of Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, the man who ruled all (Doheny) meat bought before the closure could be presumed kosher. I knew Belsky based his ruling on the halachic principal of rov where we presume a particular item kosher under uncertain circumstances when we know that the majority of such items are kosher.

I am suspicious of Belsky. I know he is a lamdan. But when it came to sex abuse he defended the innocence of the Kolkos. He maintained that position while refusing to talk to the accusers. That got me wondering how good a job he did in examining the facts in this case.

Did Belsky have any way of absolutely knowing how much meat was smuggled in? Rechnitz says he “believes Engelman with 99% confidence” How can Rechnitz know with certainty? What sort of smart businessman trusts a known fraudster’s version when the guy has an incentive to minimize his culpability?

I would have been more impressed if the RCC reported that they did an intensive audit of Doheneys purchases & sales, and verified his records by confirming them with outside buyers & sellers. Of course, they wouldn’t have been caught with their pants down if they had been doing that all along.

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20091020/NEWS/910200356/Rubashkin-customer-denies-tax-scheme?nclick_check=1

I also remembered that during the Rubashkin trial in 2009, prosecutors exhibited fabricated invoices to Doheney for more than a million dollars of meat when the actual debt was in the range of $300,000-$400,000. Prosecutors claimed Rubashkin & Engelman colluded to inflate Rubashkin’s receivables to justify a larger credit line & to reduce Doheney’s tax liability. Naturally they both denied those allegations. In hindsight I wonder if this was also a way for Doheny to fool the RCC about the size of his purchases from Rubashkin. I would 'hope' that the RCC & Belsky seriously investigated that possibility. If he repeated that same maneuver several times a year with several suppliers, the majority of his sales of 8 million dollars a year could easily have been based on meat not accounted for with purchases from kosher sources. Such numbers would have overturned any justification for a ruling based on rov.

The RCC had a conflict of interest when they investigated the fraud. They knew it was going to be exposed on TV News. So they had to fess up. But they had motives for minimizing its scope to lessen the damage to their reputation & income.

How else can one explain the RCC claim that while the meat that was smuggled in was not glatt, it was kosher, even though they never had any proof?

http://www.jta.org/2013/04/05/news-opinion/the-telegraph/the-great-unanswered-question-in-the-doheny-meat-scandal

Incredibly, Rabbi May even admitted to a reporter, “We didn’t ask him for evidence”

So, now we have Belsky determining rov based on inadequate numbers & "evidence" from a sloppy investigation conducted by self-serving rabbis.

But wait, it gets worse. Rechnitz, the disinterested white-knight buyer of Doheney is not sticking to his plan of finding a buyer to restore the operation under RCC supervision. According to Jonah Lowenfeld of the Jewish Journal,
Rechnitz bought Doheney & its distribution arm & then transferred the agreement to David Kagan, owner of Western Kosher, the competing kosher retailer.

Anonymous said...

Belsky’s defenders at the Orthodox Union (OU) insist that his bizarre antics about sex abuse are not pertinent to his qualifications as a posek for kosher. Maybe, now they can see that Belsky’s misconduct extends to kashrus as well.

Belsky’s dwindling band of defenders say he enhances the standing of the OU in the heimish world. Actually, his psak in LA is not working. Three establishments are already known to have dropped their RCC hashgachah and more are expected to make the shift in the coming weeks. It is time for the Orthodox Union to realize that Belsky isn’t just a bad posek; he is also a bad business decision.

Monsey said...

http://www.mitzvahmeat.com/form.pdf

Hard to believe the claim here that Rav Lesches gives hashgocho to non-glatt. And this lefty woman from Riverdale who owns the company calls it "mehuderet"

OU Eyepopper said...

Isn't the OU a little TOO QUIET if Doheny was found forging Agristar labels with specialized machinery? Is that another incentive for them to cover up the Doheny scandal?

Was Doheny selling labels to any any other conspirators?

http://ktla.com/2013/03/28/exclusive-kosher-meat-scandal-rocks-los-angeles-market/#ixzz2PN3NbjbE

The private investigator did show us a box of glatt kosher labels–from a factory in Iowa and a device for making them he says he found at that warehouse in Reseda.

nothing to smile about said...

http://www.collive.com/pics/s_nf_2825_74522.jpg

there was a frum music band called the rechnitzer rejects. would they still pick that name if they knew this was coming?

Rubashkin fresser said...

http://www.israelandstuff.com/warning-palestinian-coke-not-kosher

That's why at Rubashkin assifos the beverage of choice is Mountain Dew to avoid any question of treif

"Shulem" aleichem COR kashrus said...

http://www.rabbisholomadler.com/?p=4

Are the kosher certifiers, kosher themselves?

Anonymous said...

What about the OU-Babad shechita in Israel?

http://matzav.com/mehadrin-hechsharim-in-israel-the-inside-scoop

In practice, there are many differences in the Mehadrin shechita process. The differences are evident even prior to slaughter, when the chicks are raised. When they're 10 days old, they are inoculated. Special care is taken not to puncture vital organs, which would render the bird non-kosher. It's common practice for Mehadrin hechsherim to send a mashgiach to the farm to ensure inoculations are done properly. There is no mashgiach supervising inoculations of non-Mehadrin fowl, since it's assumed inoculations will not render birds treif.

There are differences in shochtim as well. Care is taken that Mehadrin shochtim have impeccable credentials & skills. To qualify for non-Mehadrin shechita, the shochet only need be certified. Additionally, Mehadrin knives are checked very carefully. Even a minute structural change will cause a Mehadrin knife to be rejected. The Mehadrin shochet exchanges his chalaf frequently. Typically, the knife is not used very long & is checked every 15 minutes. This ensures knives are kept in top form & minimizes questions to disqualify chickens. After shechita, if there's even a very small pegima, birds of a Mehadrin production are rejected. Non-Mehadrin knives are checked for pegimos before shechita & after. If a pegima is found after shechita, birds will be disqualified only if the pegima is big enough to render it halachically treif. Since there is financial loss if a bird is treif, Rabbonim of mashchetot (slaughterhouses) tend to be lenient.

The pace of slaughtering differs significantly. According to Mehadrin supervision, birds should be shechted more slowly, usually 12 birds a minute or less. Any shaila in the shechita will disqualify the bird. Non-Mehadrin allows quicker shechita, and any shailos are decided according to the Shulchan Aruch’s lenient position. There are 2 complete teams of Mehadrin shochtim that work interchangeably. One team works 30 minutes & then rests 30 minutes. Usually not more than 25-35 birds are shechted per minute. Non-Mehadrin shochtim work 40 minutes & then rest 20 minutes. There is one substitute for every 2 shochtim. A non-Mehadrin team shechts approx. 100 birds per minute.

After slaughter & defeathering, an internal check is made. Mehadrin mashgichim on the line check every lung for disease, as well as tendons for torn ligaments, tzomes hagidin. Sometimes intestines & gizzards are also checked. Non-Mehadrin mashgichim don't have time to check everything. It's assumed the birds are not treif. Kidneys are usually taken out of a Mehadrin bird, as mandated by the Pri Megadim. Mashgichim ensure the birds are completely clean from blood inside & out, and that there are no blood clots (tzirirus dam). Non-Mehadrin birds’ kidneys are not removed, and often their lungs are not taken out. The level of cleanliness from blood is considerably less than in Mehadrin.

Kashering - when chickens are soaked & salted, care is taken that Mehadrin birds are soaked for a half hour. The water is relatively clean & not too cold. Non-Mehadrin birds are usually soaked for 30 minutes, but it can't be guaranteed. The water is often bloody & can be very cold, which is not optimum for kashering. There is an additional Mehadrin mashgiach that makes sure that birds are salted completely, whereas there's usually no mashgiach standing at the salting table of non-Mehadrin salting to make sure chickens are adequately salted.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference of opinion whether Chazal decreed that milk from a herd of cattle that belongs to a mechalel Shabbos, a nonobservant Jew, falls into the category of cholov akum. Both the Chazon Ish, zt”l, and Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, ruled that this milk is permitted. Based on this psak, most Mehadrin and non- Mehadrin milk is milked without a mashgiach present on the premises of non-observant farms. The only difference between Mehadrin and non- Mehadrin is that Mehadrin milking is not done on Shabbos. There are some Mehadrin hechsherim, however, that send a mashgiach to the chaliva (milking), although it is not for the entire chaliva, and often not even from the beginning of the milking. Tnuva Yerushalayim, which carries the hechsher of Aida Hachareidis, takes milk only from shomer Shabbos farms.

Due to an increase of non-Jewish workers on many farms, kibbutzim, and moshavim, a question was recently posed to the Poskim whether the milking of an aino Yehudi on a non-shomer Shabbos Jewish farm constitutes cholov akum (non-supervised milk). If it does constitute cholov akum, who, on the farm is going to vouch for the fact that the aino Yehudi did not milk the cows? The members of the farm are not Sabbath observant. The questioners reasoned that a mechalel Shabbos may be a Jew, but he certainly does not have halachic credibility to vouch for the fact that the non-Jewish workers are not doing the milking. If their milking renders the milk cholov akum, we would not be able to drink any milk from a mechalel Shabbos farm. To avoid this problem, Mehadrin hechsherim (as in the case of Tnuva, the largest dairy company in Israel) send a mashgiach to the farms once a week to make sure that an aino Yehudi is not doing the chaliva. As mentioned earlier, Tnuva’s branch in Yerushalayim takes milk only from shomer Shabbos farms.

Regarding dairy products, in general, there are many differences between Mehadrin and non-Mehadrin. According to the Rabbanut Harashit, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, no liquid cholov akum may be used even in a non-Mehadrin hechsher, but powdered cholov akum may be used in non-Mehadrin products, based on a psak from Rabbi Zvi Pesach Frank. There are other powdered milk byproducts made from cholov akum, which are also used in non-Mehadrin hechsherim. Mehadrin products never use non-supervised powdered milk.

Furthermore, the cultures used to coagulate the milk in cheese and yogurt are often from cholov akum in non-Mehadrin hechsherim and from cholov Yisrael in Mehadrin ones. There can be a dramatic difference in Mehadrin and non- Mehadrin ingredients in manufactured products, as well. Regular beef gelatin can be used in non-Mehadrin products such as marshmallows, yogurts, and ice cream. Flavorings and colorants differ between Mehadrin and non-Mehadrin products, also.

Anonymous said...

Since there is a greater prevalence of insect infestation in Israel than in many other countries, there are requirements that have been set by both non-Mehadrin and Mehadrin hechsherim regarding Israeli produce. The Chief Rabbinate, the Rabbanut Harashit, has mandated that all restaurants and caterers, both non- Mehadrin and Mehadrin, purchase leafy vegetables from sources that grow produce in controlled environments such as the former Gush Katif hothouses. Mehadrin establishments also require that canned vegetables be purchased from insect controlled sources; non-Mehadrin does not have this policy.

Other halachic differences that pertain to fruits and vegetables are the requirements of separating terumos and ma’asros. It is a daunting task to control the tithing of the fruits and vegetables. It requires constant vigilance of the kashrus organizations and their mashgichim. Mehadrin hechsherim do their best to ensure that all terumos and ma’asros under their certification have been separated. Non-Mehadrin hechsherim are generally more lenient. Another halachic problem that needs to be addressed is orla. Fruits produced during the first three years of a tree’s growth are prohibited and are called orla. The problem with orla fruits is further complicated with new agricultural advances. Today’s trees now give edible fruit in their second year of growth. Furthermore, the older and taller the tree, the more time and money it takes to pick. It makes economic sense, to uproot some trees every few years and replant again. This restarts the orla count. Other fruits that are commonly replanted are grapes, where shoots are being continuously put into the ground.

How do the Mehadrin and non-Mehadrin certifications deal with orla? There are many opinions in approaching this issue. The most lenient approach is that of the Chazon Ish, zt”l, who says that since the majority of fruits grown in Israel are not orla, the halacha gives us the right to assume that the fruits sold in the market place are from the kosher majority. This is a leniency for the consumer, and the position taken by the non-Mehadrin certifications. Mehadrin certifications would not certify a product based on assumptions, but would take the strictest opinion that states if the total orla volume of fruit in the marketplace is less than 1/2%, the fruit is permitted. This is based on the halacha that if orla is co-mingled with kosher fruit, it is nullified in a 200 to 1 ratio (1/2%).

Wine addresses the same issues in Eretz Yisrael as in Chutz La’aretz. However, it is harder to tell a non-observant Yehudi than an aino Yehudi not to touch the wine. Mehadrin hechsherim are more insistent to use Shomer Shabbos workers and to have a mashgiach making sure that the wine is properly double sealed. Non-Mehadrin standards regarding wines are more lenient.