Dec 2, 2012

Rabbanut Goes With New Digital QR Code Kashrut Certificates

The Rabbanut is busy finding ways to improve it's system of kashrut approval, with a new system that will make it more difficult to forge kashrut certificates.

The Rabbanut has created a new type of kashrut certificate in which the certificate consists of a QR code that can be scanned by a smartphone with internet access. The QR code will take the viewer to an image of the actual kashrut certificate on the Rabbanut website, along with all details regarding kashrut of the establishment.

The first placements of these new certificates was this past week in Ashdod. I heard heard it on the news on Friday morning, so I guess the first placements were on Thursday.

A sample of how it works is this QR code hanging in the restaurant...

and scanning that code leads one to this image of the certificate:

found at this URL.

The head of the Religious Council in Ashdod praised the new system and also said it gives them the ability, if it should be necessary, to publish warnings about places that will easily be distributed to the public.

The Rabbanut said that with the successful implementation in Ashdod, they plan to push out the program to other cities around Israel.
(source: Ashdod Net)

The only thing I don't understand is that if the certificate with the QR code will be replacing the normal certificate, and from now it will only be online, what will people without smartphones do regarding knowing the kashrut of a food establishment? And if the actual certificate will be hanging there as well, what's the point of the QR code? After an initial period of curiosity, I doubt people will bother scanning the QR codes if there is also a full certificate on display, so they won't notice the warnings that might be on the website. On the other hand, if there is only a QR code, how do they ensure people will actually bother to check the kashrut and not just assume it is ok because there is a QR code hanging there?

I have seen in Bet Shemesh, already a few months ago, a QR code at the bottom of a kashrut certificate - though not as a replacement for the certificate.

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  1. I just think the irony is too delicious - you can only check if the restaurant is kosher if you don't have a kosher phone!

  2. They need both the regular certificate along with the QR code. The reason the QR code is useful, is because there are stores that photocopy or forge a valid teuda, which wouldn't work with QR codes. Additionally, sometimes a store claims that the old certificate expired and they haven't gotten their new one yet.

  3. First of all, it's simple to make a QR code. Anyone who would zerox a certificate can also make their own QR code (which would lead to their website with a photoshopped teudah), or just copy another legitimate QR code.

    Secondly, I don't see how this helps. It's nothing more than an extra step to get the teudah. A QR code on the teudah would at least be helpful - the webpage could include extra information like who the certificate is for, when it's valid from and till, if it's been renewed (how many times does a store owner say "yeah, I know it's expired, I just haven't hung up the new one yet"), when the last time the store was inspected was, etc etc.