Slurpees and the intrepid one man hashgacha

[Hat tip BA]

A reader formally asked 7/11 in Melbourne about their slurpees. In Melbourne we have a reliable and respected kashrut authority where the finances are overseen by a lay body and a team of supervising Rabbis and applied chemists have no involvement or inducement via financial gain in regards what they approve or otherwise.

This was not the case in the days of yore when various communal Rabonim provided their own hechsher and benefitted financially from the activities. I remember, for example, that strictly kosher people did not eat from the then Melbourne Beth Din or Rabbis Rudzki or Lubofsky et al. Many times I would buy a shawarma before a gig because I did not have confidence in the hashgacha. Nowadays, it’s almost never the case.

Things have improved greatly. Kosher Australia is trusted locally and internationally. It is not a one Rabbi entrepreneurial organisation but has a board and includes a cross section of the community. Finances are audited etc

Here is the readers response from the 7/11 people. I will leave my readers to draw their own conclusions.

Unfortunately not all of the Slurpee flavours that we have are certified as Kosher, however we did receive an unprompted email out of the blue last week notifying us that kosher certification was awarded by “It’s kosher authority” for the following flavours this December.

1. Lemon Lime Bitters
2. Classic Lime
3. Zilched Fruit Salad

Author: pitputim

I'm a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia although my views have naught​ to do with my employer. I skylark as the band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel.

20 thoughts on “Slurpees and the intrepid one man hashgacha”

  1. I also received the above from 7 Eleven.

    They also mentioned the ‘problem’ is with Coca Cola Amatil and has nothing to do with 7 Eleven, hence I am not sure why KA told people to write to 7 Eleven with ‘our concerns’, when they should be contacting CCA instead.

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  2. The Sydney kashrut authority has a very different attitude towards beverages than Melbourne’s “Kosher Australia”: http://www.ka.org.au/index.php/component/option,com_kosherdb/Itemid,61/catid,86/

    I understand that Sydney’s position is aligned with the London Beth Din and I would think that it therefore represents “minhag Australia” rather better than Melbourne’s, which seems increasingly aligned with the OU and the USA generally.

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    1. I don’t think you can talk about MINHAG Australia, if anything in Melbourne I’d say the majority follow and are comfortable with OU.

      In this case though you will notice that unlike R Moshe Gutnick, this agency, according to THEM had never been approached and were advised via an email!

      R Moshe Gutnick has good reasons for some of his different practices. It can be cogently argued that Melbourne is very different. I see how successful Johannesburg is. An independent Rabbinic entrepreneur might be put in Cherem for such!

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      1. I don’t have a problem with “Kosher Australia” generally, but I very much doubt that most Australians know or care about the halachic bases that distinguish the OU from the LBD or CRC or Kof-K or whatever. On the other hand, I believe our historic ties with the LBD mean that we should pay great respect to their halachic positions.

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        1. There are effectively three broad approaches:

          That of a high standard ( badatz are also Machmir on bishul Yisroel issues) this is common to the OU Star K Chof K, kosher Australia etc

          There is an acceptable community standard especially for nascent communities. This certainly was the case for Australia in the past and undoubtedly the LBD in its earliest days

          Then there is the maverick who is not a shoe lace on Rav Abadi, has done no Shimush on Kashrus and asks many questions on the Internet to lay Talmidei Chachomim and others.

          Dismiss the maverick where there is a community based hechsher which everyone trusts. In Melbourne, everyone trusts the Mehadrin line, for example.

          There is simply no room for mavericks who have no Shule and who wander from Shule to Shule marketing themselves via exposure and whose FINANCIAL accounts are NOT for public scrutiny. Rabonim MUST be disconnected from financial gain and be on a proper community based wage based on experience and expertise.

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          1. I think you might be judging a bit harshly. It’s like tzedoka: some mashgichim give hechsherim grudgingly, and only if they get something in return. Some, particularly mashgichim in isolated areas, give hechsherim willingly, without expecting anything in return. And some give the highest level of hashgacha, *without even being asked*! Surely this is something that should be praised.

            (the above is naturally tongue in cheek 🙂

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            1. “in Melbourne everyone trusts the mehadrin line”. You are obviously referring to Kosher Australia, who you say follows the OU standard..

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            2. By “two lines” I assume you mean KA’s mehadrin and not mehadrin. Even their “mehadrin” is nowhere near OU standards. One example is they don’t have full time hashgacha at eateries as the OU do. It doesn’t seem to be al pi Shulchan Aruch either(owner not frum)

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      2. Cherem? Have you ever heard of anyone being put in cherem for this? There are quite a few private rabbinic hechsherim in other places(U.S., Europe etc.) Some are very high standard, others…..

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        1. Having returned from JBurg and seeing that it works because there is ACHDUS amongst all, I’d say that any Rov who entered that community and created his own hechsher should be put in Cherem!

          They have allowances for Chalav Yisrael and for Chassidishe Chalofin.

          I think they have been successful because apart from Chabad there is no other Chassidic community and there are heaps of good natured Litvaks.

          The last thing it needs is a new Reballeh who funds himself via Chumros through his own hechsher.

          Feh!

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  3. Maybe re ShA there is possibly some heter. However, according to a letter I have from the OU, you are incorrect(bmchls kvdcha)about their policies outside NY. I don’t know how to put it on here, but I can send the complete email to you, if you like.

    Anyway, I asked if there was a difference in NY and other places. Their response included the following “The OU requires a mashgiach temidi at ALL food service establishments, meat or dairy, caterers, restaurants……. Additionally, the OU requires that at least one of the owners… be Shomer Shabbos as well.

    Their standards are on a much higher level than Kosher Australia

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    1. A lot of agencies would say this or similar. It is their official policy. I am talking about what is done in practice out in the field… The OU and other agencies are known in the industry for having official policy yet referring individual “exceptions” to the OU poskim for variations in rulings in practice in different circumstances. Those in the field know this even though the general public may not. (In the same way that all sorts of claims have been made about KA supervision most of which are conjecture and hearsay.)

      It is a fact that of town facilities (and agencies) in general cannot and do not always abide by the strictest standards that can be practiced in the larger Jewish communities (availability of suitable personnel and a much larger customer base that influences financial ability to pay for longer hours of supervision, are important variables in the field of supervision depending on locale) . The AKO (Association of Kashrus Organisations that reliable agencies are members of – http://www.akokosher.org ) recognises this in their minimum policy standards that governs membership. On the other hand agencies like the OU have other leniencies that KA don’t accept for certification (pas Yisroel and various cases of bishul Yisroel being one example, kitniyos shenishtaneh for Pesach being another – there are many more) but all within what we call AKO “industry guidelines”. So it’s not telling or practical nor really relevant to make generalisations as to which agency is stricter than the next based on any particular one or two specific areas.

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      1. The OU leniencies are part of their policy and they would be first to admit that it is not the highest standard let alone mehadrin. Whereas Kosher Australia have mehadrin certification (highest standard)for things that no one else would call it such. E.g. the eateries we are discussing. It seems downright dishonest.

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