NY Jewish Leaders Criticize Kosher Inspector Cuts

They Don't Put Too Much Faith In The Honor System Either

NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880) — There is one budget cut out of Albany critics say isn’t kosher, quite literally.

State food inspectors who make sure kosher foods really are kosher have just been drastically cut, reports CBS 2’s John Slattery.

In Orthodox Jewish enclaves like Borough Park, shoppers who buy kosher trust that it really is.

“I don’t buy in a place unless I trust the guy who certifies the kosher,” resident Yakov Schamish said.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports

Food products are marked with insignias like an “O-U” or “O-K” to certify religious dietary standards, and New York’ s Department of Agriculture and Markets had a team of inspectors, but not now.

As of Jan. 1, the state of New York has eliminated its kosher inspectors, all nine of them.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind said he’s troubled that there is now only a divisional director.

“When someone says the food is kosher, the establishment is kosher; the pizza place across the street is kosher. Who’s making sure that it’s happening?” said Hikind, D-Brooklyn.

Hikind said the concern is not so much on packaged foods that include national brands. It more concerns restaurants and pizza parlors. One place Slattery visited has been in business for 40 years and the owner said he welcomes the ritual of kosher inspectors because it eliminates fraud.

“Anybody can put a sign Kosher and not be Kosher, and it’s not gonna be, not so good,” shop owner Amnon Levy said.

Critics said the problem is that eliminating inspectors puts the merchants on the honor system, and history shows that not everyone is honorable.

On Monday afternoon the Department of Agriculture and Markets announced that all 85 of the state’s food safety inspectors will be trained in checking kosher products against the state’s kosher registry.

  • L.Dinerstein-Kurs

    From a solely logistical position……..It is impossible for 9 orthodox inspectors to visit every single business in NYS that “claims” to sell kosher food. IMPOSSIBLE to be done. So, who do you think the responsibility was shared with? If for one moment you think there was a “rabbis Army” of well versed in orthodox kashruth inspectors…think again. Who could check that a business was actutally closed on Shabbos that claimed to be? So, who might be driving around to check? The people doing the “inspecting”? Therefore, this as in other situations – the inspector might not even have been Jewish. What is a trained” inspector who does NOT keep kosher, who might not even be Jewish bring toi our reliance on the NYS kosher laws when they are being enforced by not “worthy” opinions? Now, if one of these “inspectors” decide that there is an wrongdoing, they issue CITATION THAT QUICKLY IS PRINTED in papers and when they are PROVEN WRONG…they have ALREADY blackened the name of that business. Like feathers in the wind…you can’t win back all you past customers and so they cause a business harm. So, if you want to be assured of kasruth – stores can engage their own mashgiachs/rabbi who will then put there letterhead with their signature of approval and the problem is solved. It works in NJ!!!

  • Willy

    the kosher inspectors’ job was to ensure that the advertised word “kosher” is valid and only orthodox jews who know the laws of kosher were able to do that.

  • Menachem

    I am shocked at the open displays of anti-semitism. I wish that all your identities could be found out so that we would never hire you. You should get down on your knees and give thanks that the Jewish people are here to teach and lead you. Where would you be if we all went to Israel? In a state of darkness.

    • Rose

      There you go Menachem, equating opposing views as “anti-semitism”. Where would you be without your tricks?

  • Rose

    The Kosher-nostra: non-kosher and kosher foods are chemically identical. There is no difference.

    Kosher certification adds a fee to kosher foods. Why should non-Jews have to subsidize this? For example, Aluminum Foil have a hechsher. Why should I, a Christian, pay for the certification? What we need is a Christian certified/blessed food. Then the money would benefit Christian causes and charities. NOT jewish causes.

  • Michelle

    I am Catholic. I do not agree with state-sponsored or funded kosher inspectors. However, nine people losing their jobs in this terrible economy means nine families in trouble. That’s not “kosher;” that’s tragic. My sympathies to these nine inspectors. I hope there are other state openings they can transfer into.

  • Anglo-saxonknight

    why would 98%of the tax paying public pay a religious services for 2% of the public? Jews seem to think that goy are meant to serve the jew.

  • Hello

    For the Jewish folks complaining about this service being cut, are you forgetting rabbis and possibly your temple has a new sourse or business and income revenue.

  • Ari

    “Separation of church and state”?. No. — King Henry VIII is not forcing you to join the Church of England under pain of death, nor is anything remotely similar to this happening.

    That being said the government does not have a role to play ensuring Kosher stores are Kosher. The role should be played by private citizens who have an interest in the subject, and paid for by people who have an interest in the service provided. People such as Kashrut Jews, as well as vegetarians, value the service and will pay for it with their own dollars.

    As a Kashrut following Jew I have no interest in anyone paying for how my food is examined, aside from the standards which all food in America is examined by.

    Factoid: Jews are some of the richest people in the country, while at the same time some of the most impoverished [the Ultra-Orthodox, who are recognized in black suits, for example are not a wealthy people on the average]. It is erroneous to declare all Jews being rich. An impoverished Jew suffers twice; once for being impoverished, and twice for being jeered at as a supposedly rich person.

  • Peter

    Shana, My response was not Antisemetic, whatever that is. Nor is it antisemitic.Just because someone disagrees with a Jewish or Israeli position, that person is not biased or prejudiced in any sense of those words.I was merely replying to the illogical premise posted by the person saying the inspectors’ jobs were to prevent fraud.And you, Shana, broadly addressed ALL responders as Antisemetic.I think that in itself expresses your bias to anyone with an opposing viewpoint.

  • Steelers 2011

    Seperation of church and state??? Thank you Gov Patterson for seeing the light. Let the Jews pay for it themselves.

  • Shana Madel

    To All

    I can’t believe the antisemetic tones to all of these responses.
    As someone mentioned, truly orthodox people do not count on the state to delcare what is “Kosher”. Especially to Rick, how sure are you that the “Jews” have enough money….I am Jewish, and guess what…I don’t have all that much money….

    And to Ali…..Perhaps you should move someplace else…the US of Israel is obviously not for you.

  • suzie

    Why not have Rabbi’s volunteer to do this job on a rotating basis!?? Why should taxpayer have to foot the bill for religious guidelines.

  • Marty

    How much money will the kosher division cuts save?

  • Moishe Kaplanowitz

    Okay, cut teachers. Cut state workers pay. Close state parks. Release inmates to save money. Increase transit fares. BUT PLEASE, leave those Kosher Inspectors alone!

  • miker

    I’m a Jew!
    I never heard NY State has such department. Fire their ass off!! What a hypocrites. I never had any respect for these people anyway. This is the reason why we have anti-Semitism.

  • Mohamed

    It’s not fair….How come there are kosher inspectors and no Halal food inspectors? Why???

    • John

      cuz you’re people aren’t white.

    • Akbar Ali

      Its because you live in the United States of Israel. Whaddya gonna do?

  • Besalel

    As an Orthodox Jew, I am glad that this waste of tax payer money was put to rest. We orthodox jews only eat food that is certified kosher by a reliable private certification company. What is the point of having state inspectors look into “kosher” representations? No orthodox jew would trust a state inspection anyway. Although this was never a major part of the budget, i am glad that it has come to an end.

  • Al S.

    The same people who tell us we can’t have a Christmas tree at the firehouse, have us paying for their religious fetishes? Time to fire the rest of those “inspectors”.

    • MK

      Al S.
      You should try a little harder in the future to mask your antisemitism.
      It is not the jewish people who are preventing christmas displays, it is the liberal, God hating atheists who prevent, or attempt to prevent, the open display of religious practices or symbols, including prayer. They hate Christianity as well as Judaism. And they aren’t fetishes. Jews are trying to adhere to God’s commandments. Please pick up a bible some time and read it carefully. You might learn something.

  • 5 town fan

    whos rules determine kosher mine yours or theirs

  • Rick

    Are you fkin kidding me? I think Jews In the tri-state area have enough money to pay 8 inspectors to check on kosher food. Why do tax payers have to shell out for this nonsense? Last time I checked we weren’t in the middle east.

  • Tomas

    While its purpose and intent was good, it is an expense to the state for the benefit of the few. Why not impose a tax to support the inspections.New York State is great at that….What a country

  • Francois

    May be the State should enforce Catholic sex abstinence before the marriage… or the proper use of condoms according to Papal guidelines…

  • jim

    Excuse me? What business does the state have here? Separation of church and state?

    • Chaim

      The states business here has nothing to do with church and state. it is to guarantee that fraud isn’t committed by publicizing items as kosher when they aren’t. Think of it as if they were making sure that a chocolate bar had a dietary warning and/or allergy warning. They aren’t checking for religious purposes.

      • Peter

        Kosher signifies a religious adherence.Use the word edible instead.Is is safe to eat?The warning you seek to protect is religious in nature.To foist these inspectors on the taxpaying public is a fraud,rabbi.

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