June 27, 2011

Kashrus Agency Delves Into Products Made from Petroleum

Chicago…A new generation of technologically produced foods has forced kashrus agencies to develop an expertise to meet the requirements of food producers. Rabbinic supervisors have had to become proficient in the new methods of production that result in many new heretofore non-existent ingredients. On June 21st, the Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc) convened a seminar on how organic compounds used in food are created from petroleum. The presentation by Mr. Jeff Julius of Emco Inc. focused on items made from the three simplest petroleum derivatives – ethylene, propylene, and benzene – and showed, for example, how ethylene is used to create ethyl alcohol and acetic acid. Mr. Julius learnt a great deal about kashrus from Rabbi Moshe Moscowitz, the Rabbinic Coordinator responsible for Emco’s cRc kosher certification. It was Rabbi Moscowitz who suggested that Mr. Julius share some of his chemical knowledge with a broader group of Rabbis. The 2-hour seminar was attended by the rabbinic office and local staff of the cRc, and a few dozen others participated via a live teleconference.