Mashke Yisroel: Liquor L’Mehadrin Comes of Age: A Behind-The-Scenes interview with Star-K Israel’s Director of Kashrus, Rav Aharon Haskel

It is an understatement to say that we as a global society are going through unprecedented times. Due to Covid-19, the word ‘unprecedented’ has taken on new and far-reaching connotations.  On the lighter side, in the relatively new world of kashrus in the liquor industry, ‘unprecedented’ has become an appropriate term.  In general, the world of alcohol has always been shrouded in mystery.  However, during  the past 25 years, there has been a genuine movement towards greater transparency, and kosher research/analysis has made great strides in revealing the underpinnings of  the alluring world of kosher wine and spirits. With the realization that there is significant value in kosher certification, many companies have sought to become certified.  As is the case with any company seeking kosher certification, the company must now reveal their ingredients and processes to their kosher certifier. All information is kept confidential under ‘lock and key’ in the […]

A Glimpse into the System: Kosher Certification of Industrial Food

Since antediluvian times, when Tuval Kayin began fashioning metal implements (Breishis 4:22), developments in how items were manufactured progressed gradually with only incremental changes. About two-and-a-half centuries ago, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, that trajectory was rapidly accelerated.1 Since then, continual technological advances have dramatically transformed manufacturing, to the point that modern methods barely resemble antiquated techniques. Food production is no exception.

Unless one was wealthy enough to enjoy spices transported over the Silk Road, pre-industrial food was locally sourced and made with familiar utensils. In stark contrast, much of what we eat today, whether the food itself or its sub-components (which are not necessarily disclosed on ingredient panels), is processed in distant factories on specialized equipment concealed from public view. Technicians wearing lab coats in laboratories serve as part of the contemporary food supply chain alongside the more traditional growers and pickers in the fields. Industrial methods are […]