| Kosher Consumer Misconsumptions
Rabbi Tzvi Rosen, Star-K Kashrus Administrator; Editor, Kashrus Kurrents
The Star-K Hotline is constantly abuzz with kashrus inquiries. Over 13,100 consumer calls were logged during the week before Pesach 5772. Questions ranged from product information to complex kitchen shailos, from reliable kosher airline caterers to wines whose kosher certification symbols are so small you need a high powered magnifying glass to read the rav hamachshir’s name.
Chas V’shalom! The Shabbos mode does not allow one to cook on Shabbos. The Shabbos mode makes a modern oven halachically compliant so that it may be used on Shabbos and Yom Tov. The purpose of the Shabbos Mode was to address new technological and computerized features that have created issues regarding oven use on Shabbos and Yom Tov. These features include the following: 12 hour shut off; ringing and chiming at the end of the time bake cycle; inability to disable the oven light; the digital displays rendering the modern-day oven impossible to use on Shabbos, or to adjust the temperature for cooking on Yom Tov. The Shabbos Mode is an internal program that addresses and bypasses these issues, so that the oven can be used on Shabbos or Yom Tov. All laws of cooking and rewarming – bishul, shehiya, and chazara – still apply to the oven equipped with a Shabbos mode. Please note: Blanking and clearing of the control panel that allows for adjustment of the oven temperature on Yom Tov does NOT apply to Shabbos use.
Proceed with caution. There are many factors that need to be clarified:
However, the wine is still vested with kedushas sheviis and cannot be used for any non-sanctified purpose, such as extinguishing a Havdala candle, pouring out the remaining Kiddush wine , or pouring out the wine for the ten makos at the Pesach seder. The wine or produce has to be completely consumed.
Not true. Since a warming drawer can warm food beyond yad soledes bo (120oF), which constitutes halachic cooking, it would be forbidden to use the warming drawer on Shabbos. This is due to the fact that a warming drawer is halachically considered to be the same as an oven because it is thermostatically controlled. However, if the warming drawer could only warm the food below yad soledes bo (120oF), it would be permitted for Shabbos use.
This is an incorrect assumption. DE means that a pareve product was cooked using clean dairy equipment, and ME means that the pareve product was cooked using clean meat equipment. Since the product was cooked in a gender specific utensil, it cannot be eaten with the other gender; a DE product cannot be eaten with meat, and a ME product cannot be eaten with a dairy product. However, the restriction regarding the use of the other gender dishes or utensils only applies to using it while they are hot. Therefore,pPareve ices stating that they are DE may be scooped into meat dessert bowls and vice versa, and should not be washed together with the regular dirty meat dishes in hot water; however, spaghetti sauce stating that it is ME cannot be mixed with cheese.
This is not necessarily so. Some certifications certify that the product does not require any further checking; other organizations may not address the issue, or their standards may be such that the product does not require inspection. This is a challenging problem for the kosher consumer, because different organizations maintain different standards and some certifications do not address the issue entirely.
False. Due to the severity of allergies – dairy, nut, gluten – companies are very careful to make disclosures to avoid any possible lawsuits. A company can pack a dry dairy chocolate covered peanut and have a complete wipe down after the product is packed; the label will still bear the disclaimer, “Produced in a facility that manufactures milk products.” When a product states that it is pareve, and the disclaimer appears, the equipment is 100% pareve and there is no dairy contamination or intermingling with the pareve product.
This is a very important misconception, because the Israeli Chief Rabbinate will permit the use of non-cholov Yisroel powdered milk to be used as an ingredient. The product will state “avkat cholov nochri” – that non-cholov Yisroel powdered milk is a permissible dairy ingredient. This is based on the heter of Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank zt”l, former Rav of Yerushalayim, who maintained that the prohibition of cholov akum only applies to fluid milk and not powdered milk. This is not accepted as a cholov Yisroel ingredient for those who are very strict adherents. But those who accept the heter of Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank zt”l will consume “avkat cholov nochri.” Bottom line: Read the labels carefully.
Depends. Sometimes a company makes a special production using alternative ingredients, leaving out ingredients, or making a product bishul Yisroel, and does not want to pay for special packaging. A sticker is a far more inexpensive special labeling method. Sometimes, the sticker is just a ploy to lead the consumer to believe that it is a special production; at times, a sticker is put on irrespective of the kosher certification on the product. Consumers should be alerted to the fact that at times, manufacturers will overwrap a KFP product using the same year-round overwrap packaging. This issue has been dealt with at length in a Kashrus Kurrents article entitled Sticker Shock. Caveat emptor.
As you can see, in the ever changing world of kosher food certification, an educated kosher consumer is the best method to ensure that everything is kosher v’yosher.
1 Or any other shmitta produce