April 26, 2010

Disclosure Model of Kosher Food Laws Spreads, Latest is Georgia

New York…Georgia became the latest state to adopt the disclosure model of legislation to protect kosher consumers after New York’s century-old kosher protect bill was ruled unconstitutional in 2003. With only two days left to the session, the Georgia House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the Georgia Kosher Food Consumer Protection Act, which replaces the current kosher labeling laws. The new law is modeled after the New Jersey law (replaced law ruled unconstitutional in 1992), that was later adopted by New York and several other states in requiring the posting of standards used when making representations of kosher. The current law in Georgia faced a First Amendment challenge brought by the ACLU and a Conservative rabbi.

While some critics have sought to discredit the disclosure model as “irrelevant” in an era of customer awareness, the reality is that the law does protect kosher consumers. In New York alone, sources say that inspectors of the New York State Kosher Law Enforcement Bureau routinely discover instances of where unsuspecting kosher consumers are duped. They say that during the just concluded Passover holiday many items that are kosher but not kosher for Passover were placed on shelves that were marked Kosher for Passover. A prominent rabbi said: “I am flabbergasted that the same people who go through hoops to protect the ordinary consumer deny that right to people who wish to eat kosher.”