It seems that we can almost never rely on people anymore for kashrus?

Check out this story.

Have things changed? Is commercialism and making an extra buck overtaking honesty despite government laws? I wonder what those who “eat fish out” say. It’s scary.

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

13 thoughts on “It seems that we can almost never rely on people anymore for kashrus?”

  1. It’s been going on for many, many years, including here in Australia. E.g. cheap Terakihi being named expensive Baramundi(although both are Kosher). One of many examples. Flake(not Kosher) is substituted for other fish.


    1. As is the case with tinned tuna. Some hashgachos visit the plant every so often. Others, have mashgiach temidi, some of them even stricter.
      As one of the Melbourne kosher food importers told me-when he was looking into which hechsher to have on tuna from Thailand. He was told by the wholesaler in Thailand about a certain hashgacha “Don’t use them. They are crazy. They insist on seeing every single fish..”


          1. I read it here: R.J.J. – Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society, Vol. 15, “Is Canned Tuna Kosher?” by Rabbi H. Schachter. It’s copyright from what I can tell, so I can’t send the PDF.
            On the other hand (and I haven’t listened to these) you could try any of these audio links



  2. There’s nothing new about this issue. Back in about 1980, if I recall correctly, the Age investigated this issue and found that 50% of fish sellers in Victoria substitute fish at least occasionally. They also found that there was effectively no government supervision on this. One datum that sticks in my mind is that more barramundi was sold in Victoria than was caught in Queensland. Fortunately the species they found was most often substituted for barramundi was trevally, which is kosher, and in my opinion quite tasty, but of course nowhere near as expensive.

    In any event, this story does not in any way justify your headline. Yes, we can rely on people for kashrus, just as we always could. But we cannot buy filleted fish from a nochri now, just as we never could. Nothing has changed since Chazal’s time.


    1. Clearly there wasn’t an implication that one can eat in a fish restaurant or buy filleted fish sight unseen. My point was that in a day and age where food and cuisine have become far more important than they were commercially even twenty years ago, what we don’t see is the concept that an אומן is מירתת … that the producer/restaurateur has much respect for the rules of fair trading which suggest that one not sell product A when it’s product B.


      1. The chazokos that Chazal gave us are still in place. An uman is mirsas — if and only if he stands a decent chance of getting caught. Since it’s very difficult to detect the substitution of fish, there is no mirsas and there never was. They do it because they know they will get away with it. That’s why the same Chazal who gave us the heter of mirsas forbade us from buying fish without a siman.


        1. The idea of Mirsas surely extends to financial loss on the part of the restaurateur. One would think that even though it is more difficult to detect fish substitute they would be reluctant to risk their reputation. This was my presumption. The article would suggest that they don’t seem to have this worry as the practice is widespread (quite apart from it being easy to conceal)


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