Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Vaad HaKashrus Contract

Presumably many readers are familiar with the Vaad HaKashrus of the Five Towns. Like most, politics has reared its head on more than one occasion. Many also know about Gourmet Glatt, a kosher supermarket in Cedarhurst. On Friday, the Vaad terminated their supervision of Gourmet Glatt. Some background (I'm sure there's more on other blogs) - a couple of weeks back, GG was caught repackaging meat. Not packaging meat that wasn't kosher as kosher, at least not to my knowledge, but just repackaging (perhaps so it seemed to come from a different kosher slaughterhouse/company).

The Vaad sent out the following, scary letter:

The Vaad Hakashrus hereby notifies the community that we have terminated our kashruth supervision of Gourmet Glatt....A unanimous decision was made after the review and confirmation of serious halachic and contractual violations over time. The Vaad had attempted, on numerous occasions, to persuade Gourmet Glatt to rectify these situations but violations continued to occur. The Vaad Hakashrus bears the responsibility of maintaining the highest standards of kashruth. Our Vaad has acheived a reputable standing for its kashruth standards, integrity and reliability. To allow any lowering of these standards would be an abrogation of our rabbinic duties and responsibilities.
[skip paragraph]
Gouret Glatt's acquisition of a second Hashgacha, in addition to being a violation of its contract and policies with he Vaad, is an affront to the unity of our community. When there is one universally recognized and accepted Hashgacha in a community, the kashruth stnadards are clear to all. When one store takes on multiple hashgachot on their premises, then there is a threat to the uniform standards we have all worked so hard to achieve.
[bold indicates emphasis added]

So let's get this straight; Gourmet violated halachic and contractual matters. But, the only thing we hear about in the letter are the contractual ones?! Seriously, the Vaad has more credibility dealing with halachic than legal issues, if Gourmet violated halacha, as the letter says, tell us how or why. But don't group halachic violations in with contractual ones and only tell us about the latter, especially when the former are more important.

I fear the Vaad is upset that Gourmet brought in a second hashgacha. As well they should be, it is troubling. But if they're going to hurl accusations, support all of them. Not just the secular legal ones.

Update: Discussion over at OrthoMom