July 29, 2013

Return of Kosher Inspectors to New York Vital for Kosher Consumers, Kosher Today Survey Finds

New York… The sign above the assortment of kosher cheese said kosher but here and there were some cheese that had no kosher certification from a variety of cheese products just below the kosher fare. In another store, the kosher aisle seemed to have ended but after some other ethnic items there were kosher biscuits and a few other items that had kosher certifications. It seems that such infractions were routinely picked up when the New York State Kosher Law Enforcement Division of the New York State Department of Agriculture had several inspectors crisscross the state to assure that kosher consumers would not be confused or in fact defrauded at point of purchase. After the inspectors were dismissed several years ago, ostensibly due to budget cuts, such inspections seized. Only the Director, Rabbi Luzer Weiss, remained, clearly inadequate to police kosher in the largest market for kosher foods in the nation. In visiting several stores recently, mostly in Manhattan and Queens, Kosher Today found several confusing placements of kosher that would routinely have been picked up by the kosher inspectors. Kosher Today has also learned that community leaders have been in discussions with the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo about the possible reinstatement of the inspectors. One well-connected community leader told Kosher Today that “we are getting closer and are hopeful that the state will soon reinstate the inspectors.”