Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Question! About Hechshers . ..

Given the copious amount of hechshers out there, I wonder whether it's frustrating for those Jews who take these things seriously to navigate through them. Has there ever been a discussion about adopting one universal symbol? In any case, that's not my question for today. Today's question is:

What's with the hechshers on non-food products?

In our kitchen I found four different non-food items with three different hechshers:


 
plastic wrap                     tin foil

  
   wax paper                   Ziploc Baggies

And in our laundry room/ cleaning supplies closet: 

                      
                          fabric softener                   detergent 

                                                 

                           paper towel                      bleach 
                                                                         Come again. What?!                
                                                                 BLEACH!!  Yes. Bleach.
                                                

     From an internet search:

   
      Mouthwash                          Co2  Canister  

                             
     Dishwasher Gel                    The cosmetics don't have hechshers, AFAIK. 
                                                               However, there is a letter on the web-site  from Rabbi  
                                                                    Eliyahu Shuman confirming Star K certification for Pesach 2011.

And just for fun:
                            
                                Kosher Davening Photo from Maya Escobar (tallis not on the market).  






14 comments:

  1. Unfortunately I have to agree with ksil.
    Sometimes the hechsher on non-food products is valid. Something that comes in contact with your food (eg. tinfoil) might be coated in something non-kosher. Nowadays that's rare but there's money to be made from people who are insecure.

    ReplyDelete
  2. anon, why is that unfortunate?

    also, lets face it, people truly believe that they need these products to be kosher, and the rabbis encourage that and view it as a "better" keeping of mitzvot.

    many of us view it as an un-necesssary chumrah. i wouldnt even call it a chumrah...

    ksil

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. > the rabbis encourage that and view it as a "better" keeping of mitzvot.

      Do they really view it as a chumrah, or just as a source of revenue?

      Delete
    2. Do rabbis really encourage people from using it, for whatever reason? I seriously have not met any rabbi like this, nor my charedi friends follow these hechsherim.

      Delete
    3. Do rabbis encourage? Yes.

      You "seriously" havent met? Wow, thats like one level higher han just plain ile meeting, so that must mean its important and has validity

      Ksil

      Delete
  3. Absurdity. Dishwasher fluid isn't edible. The whole thing is insanity piled on top of insanity - and the original insanity is a mountain of insanity dangling from a thread of an insane book.

    ReplyDelete
  4. > Has there ever been a discussion about adopting one universal symbol?

    No, for two reasons. 1. The symbols are company trademarks. I’m not sure that you can trademark a symbol that available for everyone to use. And if one company owns the trademark and licenses it to others, that gives that company too much power. Which brings us 2. Hechsherim are a business. Complete with brand recognition.

    > What's with the hechshers on non-food products?

    Some of them use animal byproducts in the manufacturing process. Most are just because some people are stupid enough to assume that it’s always better to buy the brand with a hecsher over the one without. For manufacturing companies, that’s the only reason to get a hechsher anyway. It’s a form of advertising, feeding on the widespread misconception that kosher products are superior to imply that their product is better than the competition.

    > bleach

    Anything that’s poisonous doesn’t have to be kosher, even if it comes into contact with food.

    For that matter, anything that isn’t food doesn’t have to be kosher, even if for some reason you decide to eat it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Money, ego and power.
    Im glad I am not part of that world anymore

    ReplyDelete
  6. >Sometimes the hechsher on non-food products is valid. Something that comes in contact with your food (eg. tinfoil) might be coated in something non-kosher.

    Isn't there a rule that says if 1/60th is non-kosher then that's okay? If tin foil comes in contact with your food, would it leave more than 1/60th of residue, no?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe that is only if its accidental, after the fact. Not from the get go you know something not kosher is touching it.

      Delete
  7. It's marketing. Period.

    Those who are religiously knowledgeable know that there are items, including food items, that don't require a hechsher at all. That said, kosher l'Pesach labelling can be a bit more legitimate, since the rules are stricter and prohibit not just consuming, but even owning, any chametz, and I don't believe that the 1/60th rule applies to eating chametz.

    Companies, however, know that putting one on items will increase revenues, and if they are willing to go through the process and pay the fee, the various agencies aren't about to say no. I've read that only a fraction of the market for kosher-labelled items is even Jewish (vegetarians, people with severe allergies, Muslims, Christians who follow certain dietary laws, etc. also look for the symbols), so I'm wondering if some non-Jews also look for the label on non-food items.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very interesting, JRK. It'd be interesting to know how much of the hechsher-seeking market is not Jewish . . .

      Delete

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