A Publication of The Union For Traditional Judaism

March 1994 Vol. 1 No. 2 Editor in Chief:Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport Editor:Andrea L. Herrera

Copyright 1994-1999 by the Union for Traditional Judaism


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Reaching the Kosher Nexus

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Many candies by LEAF are now Kosher. Look at labels for certification. Included in their line-up are Whoppers and Milk Duds! There has been some confusion concerning candies by 3M/Mars. M & M's candy (all varieties) are the only candy certified kosher. Their other candies are NOT certified kosher. IMPORTANT NOTE: Valentine and Pastel M&M's are not certified kosher! Also, an oldie but a goodie: Perugina Chocolates are certified by the O-U. More good news! Bit 'O Honey is now O-U certified.

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Some Rabbis on the East Coast are raising serious issues concerning Absolut brand Vodka. It seems no one has been allowed into the distillery and we only have the company's word that they are using only Kosher ingredients. The Kosher Nexus recommends that until something definitive comes along, kosher consumers would do well to avoid this brand. For an alternative try Finlandia Vodka. It is O-U certified.

New Celestial Seasonings "After Dinner Teas" are not under certification due to unanswered questions as to the origins of the natural flavorings. If in the future, they do become certified the Kosher Nexus will be certain to let you know! Earl Grey Tea is a blend of many teas plus flavoring derived from a citrus fruit. It does require certification.

Schweppes Dry Grape Ginger Ale with the dark purple K on the label is Kosher certified by Rabbi Pearl (Texas). The cans with the White K are not kosher certified and contain non-hechshered grape juice.

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Going to Disneyland? Call (714) 999-4545 and they will arrange Meal Mart Kosher meals for you in selected restaurants.

Also in the L.A. area, you can have kosher food delivered! Call (213) 294-6378 and ask for the 30 pg booklet by "Kosher On Wheels". The food is Glatt, and the drivers are all Shomer Shabbat.

Call Amara Glatt Kosher Meat at 1-800-64- Amara to have glatt meat (Star K) delivered directly to your home anywhere in the U.S.A.

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American Beauty Spaghetti Sauce is labeled OU pareve. Watch out! It has cheese in it, and should be labeled OU-D.

Mid-West Alert: Allan Food's warehouse store in St. Louis has been improperly putting "OU" stickers on its shelves. Consumers should be alerted to this!

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Cachet Gourmet! Even the New York Times has raved about this new gourmet kosher store. You name it, they have it. The more exotic an item is, the more likely they are to carry it. Call 1- 800-879-FOOD for information, as well as delivery all over the country. They have a Sushi Bar, Cooking Lessons, Recipe Cards and an unbelievable array of unreal items. Forget the sight-seeing trip to Manhattan - go to Cachet Gourmet in Brooklyn instead!!!

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Golden Fluff of New Jersey offers a complete line of great snack products. Included is pre-popped pop corn in a variety of flavors, tortilla chips and potato sticks (also in a variety of flavors). They also have kosher for Pesah Potato Sticks in the (Continued on Page 3) original flavor! They ship by the case, have reasonable prices and also have kosher for Pesach products. They also distribute Elyon Kosher Marshmellows (the best according to this editor!), and are soon to come out with regular and sugar free gelatin products in five flavors. Call Efram at (908) 367-5448.

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The following is a partial list of items that do NOT require a hechsher to be kosher:

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The Kosher Nexus is pleased to answer your Kashruth questions. Please refer to the box on page 4 as to where to send your kashrut questions.

Ms. T.E. of Banff writes: I have heard that it is no longer necessary to break eggs into a separate container prior to mixing them into a larger bowl. Is this true?

Commercially sold eggs - as they are generally sold in the United States - are not fertilized. Unlike in the past, we no longer have to discard the entire egg should we find a blood spot in it. (Hence the separate bowl for checking each egg as it was broken.) Today, all that is necessary is to remove the blood spot from the egg. The rest is permitted. Most careful Kosher consumers, however, generally still rely on cracking each egg separately into a bowl before putting it in with the larger mixture. Old habits hang on for a long time!

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By Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport

Many consumers rely on reading ingredient lists to determine if a product is kosher. The Kosher Nexus strongly cautions consumers against relying on label reading as a sign of kosher status. There are a number of reasons not to rely on reading labels, including the following:

The product may be made in the same vats as a blatantly trefe product without intermediate kashering. As this falls into the category of L'Chatchillah (ie. done up front and not by accident) the resultant mixture can never nullify the amount of trefe mixed into it. (Continued on Page 4) Editorial Con't:

Many ingredients are just not listed on the label. For example, the clarifiers and stabilizers used in apple juice may be trefe. Neither is listed on the label. Release agents used in baked goods (to "grease" a pan) can be made from lard, and they are never listed on the label. Also, the word "natural" has no legal standing in most parts of the United States. A flavor created in a laboratory can still be labeled natural even though it is entirely chemical in origin. Similarly, some flavors come from a glandular excreta of beavers. Natural? Yes! Kosher? Absolutely not! Foods colored with carmine need only list "natural food color" on the label, yet, carmine comes from crushed beetle shells-another trefe source. The USDA allows a food producer to label vegetable shortening as 100% pure, even though it can contain up to 5% animal shortening.

Consumers who do not eat/drink "stam yaynem" should note that more and more products now use grape juice to fill out the flavor of their syrups, juices and other mixtures. Many of those products do not list grape juice, or if they do, they don't state whether the grape juice is hechshered or not. Fruit cocktail now needs a hechsher, for example, as carmine may be used to color the cherries and they may use grape juice to fill out the flavor of the syrup.

The hottest trend in marketing now is the move to make more and more products certified kosher. Newsweek and other magazines have recently documented this trend. More and more marketers have discovered that adding hashgacha to their products significantly improves their market share. Many non kosher consumers now look for certain kosher symbols, as they perceive those marks to be the very best "seal of approval". Believe it or not, there are actually more Gentiles who buy kosher than Jews! The old argument that the "big bad Hechsher company" wants too much money for their certification just does not hold up to scrutiny. When the New York Coca Cola Bottling Authority put the O-U on their product, they blew everyone else out of the water! When Coors put the O-U on their product, they became the largest selling beer in Philadelphia! Can companies afford not to be kosher????

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Recipe of the Month

In a 6 quart pot, place flanken covered with water to about one third the depth of pot. Cook covered over medium heat 1-1/2 hours. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until both cabbage and meat are tender.

Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Cook an additional 15 minutes. Serves 8 to 10.

Variation: Add 4 medium potatoes - diced, to vegetables.

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Watch for a special edition of the Kosher Nexus in mid March!

Copyright 1995-1999 Union for Traditional Judaism