Periodically, Star-K distributes “Kashrus Konnections”, a compilation of policies meant for the kashrus professional. Some items may be of interest to consumers as well. Below are some of the topics addressed in past issues. To sign up to receive the publication via e-mail, send a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I am going to a Star-K restaurant over Chol Hamoed Sukkos. Will I have to take the food out or will there be a sukkah on the premises? Star-K policy is that eateries must have a sukkah available for customers on Sukkos. (It is important to note that due to the kedusha of a sukkah, a garbage can may not be put inside.)
- If an electric coil on a range-top does not get red-hot, may it still be kashered?
Yes, it may be kashered as long as it gets to libun kal (550°F). Any residue should be cleaned off first.
- When kashering with irui, may I just pour the water and let it spread out over the surface to be kashered?
The water must hit each part of the surface to be kashered. Note the following distinction: Upon contact with the surface to be kashered, the flow of water which spreads out immediately, is considered irui. The surfaces hit from this initial flow are kashered. However, the water which spreads out further after the initial contact is not sufficient to kasher.
- Is there any difference in kashering temperatures in Mexico City or Denver because of their higher altitudes?
Water boils at different temperatures depending on the altitude. At higher altitudes the boiling point is lower. In a place where water boils at less than 212°F, boiling can still constitute a hagolah.
- I heard that products cooked by hot water or steam may be considered bishulYisroel by turning the boiler switch off and on. Is this true?
Turning a boiler switch off and then immediately turning it on may not be sufficient to effect a bishul Yisroel. This is because a boiler is controlled by a thermostat and will only go on when the temperature of the water drops below the setting of the thermostat. Therefore, one must turn off the boiler, wait until the temperature of the water drops, and then turn the boiler switch on, so that the fire is ignited as a direct result of the mashgiach’s act.
- What is “reworking” and how does it affect kosher productions?
“Reworking” is when ingredients or products that were produced are reintroduced on the line to be reprocessed. Examples would be: a product taken from bags which have torn, or a product that did not pass quality control. Very often, a company can rework one product into another product if they are similar. In a plant that has treif and kosher, or dairy and pareve, there could be a significant impact on the kosher or pareve product if a non-certified product is reworked into a certified product. Mashgichim must always be alert to rework issues.
- If a product contains fish gelatin, would it be noted on the label? If a product is made with fish gelatin and the gelatin is not batel, we would require a clear indication on the label stating the fish content. This is to warn people not to eat the item with meat. If the item is dairy, no fish indication is needed, since in any event it may not be eaten with meat.