Jan 30, 2017

Parmesan Chicken on the label with the OU

Here is an interesting difference between American hechsherim and Israeli hechsherim.

Hellman's mayonnaise, bearing the kashrut symbol of the Orthodox Union (OU), bears on its label a recipe for "Parmesan Crusted Chicken".

Being imported into Israel, someone noticed the recipe and was shocked to see it with the OU hechsher right next to the recipe on the label. Upon being contacted about this, the OU responded that they give the hechsher on the product, the mayonnaise, and not on the recipe printed on the label.
source: Kikar

In Israel that would never fly. The hechshers here, at least the various Badatzim, take all sorts of other things into account when giving a hechsher. They make companies print separate packaging and labeling for lines of the same product with their hechsher. Eida refuses to certify foods with athletes and actors and actresses on the packaging of the food, for example. They would never certify a product packaged with a non-kosher recipe recommendation.

Is it good or bad? I don't know, but it is different. Should they get involved in other issues when giving a hechsher? is there really room to worry that someone might mistake the hechsher for including the recipe for Parmesan Chicken? Are the Israeli Badatzim doing a better job by including all these other issues in their hechsher?

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  1. It's not as if they make the mayonnaise just for a Jewish market. It's not as if the manufacturer is Jewish. The hechsher simply indicates that Jews TOO may eat this. Who cares what recipe is on the label? Even for the Israeli market, doesn't an Israeli consumer see that this isn't a local product?

  2. I noted a similar distinction when I visited the Bamboo Garden, a vegetarian kosher Chinese restaurant in Seattle (http://www.bamboo-garden.co/ -- highly recommended!). On their menu, they include Shark Fin Soup and Sauteed Eel -- of course, all simulated and made from vegetarian ingredients.

    My take was that the menus would never fly in New York, the Diaspora capitol of frum wackiness.

    If this is the sort of nonsense that passes for "stringency" in kashrut, I'll happily stick with OU and rabbanut supervision.

  3. As Mordechai Scher noted, this isn't a Jewish-targeted product - it's a product for the general American public that happens to be Kosher. The OU has no moral or Halachic issues with John Smith in Dubuque, Iowa making parmesan chicken - a non-Jew is perfectly allowed to do so. In Israel, though, domestic products ARE targeted at Jews, so the need for Kosher-only recipes makes sense.


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