June 1, 2009

Multiple Hashgochos Also Has Down Side, Consumers Learn

Brooklyn...Kosher consumers have in recent years come to appreciate multiple layers of hashgocho that appear to satisfy diverse segments of the market. For manufacturers, the addition of niche certifications to one of the large certification symbols can open the doors to smaller markets that rely only on an hashgacha of a particular Chasidic rabbi or group. Last month consumers learned that the multiple certifications can also have a down side, particularly when one of the certification exits or claims that the departure was “due to kashrus problems.” That’s what happened to the 15th Avenue Food Corp when one of its hashgochos ostensibly pulled out “for kashrus reasons.” Not so, said the remaining hashgochos, the OK Kosher Certification, and the Central Rabbinical Congress that replaced the Volover Rav. The OK released a statement that said: "All products baked at 15th Ave. Food Corp. and sold under the names Korn’s, Stern’s, and Kohen’s are under the OK Kosher Certification and adhere to the highest standard of kashrus. This has been in place for the past many years and continues now and in the future. The Laromme brand has been added on in the last year or so, as well.” Sources say that while the company was making the change, it temporarily suffered from unsubstantiated rumors about its kashrus, which can be the down side of the multiple hashgochos. One kashrus source told KosherToday: “It’s just one of those issues that the kashrus world will have to deal with in the future lest many legitimate businesses fall victim to a subtle vindictiveness.”