If you look at the food you buy you will often see the containers marked K or U or other symbols related to the kosher food industry.
It turns out that this means the food has been produced according to the laws of Orthodox Judaism and is "kosher". Orthodox Jewish believers are not allowed to eat meat from animals which do not have split hooves or chew their cud. The animals also have to be bled alive.
Now if people have certain beliefs about what they eat, it is only right that there should be confirmation on the container that it is OK(1). The same with organic and vegetarian food etc.
But it seems that the cost of this kosher label is enormous and adds over the range of products a significant amount to the price. It also makes a fortune particularly for two groups behind the labeling.
These are the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations (U) who apparently have about 80% of this business and the Committee for the Furtherance of Torah Observance (K). They have registered(2) the labels as trademarks and so no-one else can use them without paying the fee. Other groups who have issued Kosher labels include the Council of Orthodox Rabbis (COR) and the Metropolitan Kasbruth Council of Michigan (MK).
Food companies pay these groups in total millions of dollars for the right to have their trademarked labels on their packaging, fees which are obviously passed on in the price to every customer no matter what their religious belief. And the whole thing has become so ludicrous one must ask the question: is this practice about a religion or a racket?
The Chicago Sun-Times of March 24th 1975 reported the problems that General Foods faced over it's Jell-O product. It was given the "K" kosher approval by a rabbi from the Furtherance of Torah Observance, but then the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations told Jewish people that Jell-O was NOT kosher and instructed them not to buy it. General Foods then invited the "Union" to inspect their factories and they then issued the "U" label...for yet another fee!
You will see these kosher approvals on a range of products which would not for a moment come into question over being kosher. Products like Coca Cola for instance. But to make the killing as comprehensive as possible, these organisations insisted that "their" people must know also if a product needs a kosher stamp or not. In other words they opened up their range of income to potentially every product. They began to issue K-Pareve and U-Pareve stamps, which means the product is "neutral" and does not need a kosher stamp!!!! And they charge for this! Labels began to appear of kitchen foil, sandwich bags, window and other cleansers.
And all this is added to the price of the products involved. As usual, it seems to me, the smokescreen of "religion" is being used yet again to make a fortune for the tiny few at the expense of all the rest - the mass of the Jewish people included. Again, as usual.
This is what happens in the United States. Can anyone confirm that this happens in other countries also? Can anyone prove the Torah, standing alone as the source, requires all of this?
(1)The symbols at right are all widely-accepted kashrut certifications commonly found on products throughout the United States. With a little practice, it is very easy to spot these marks on food labels, usually near the product name, occasionally near the list of ingredients. There are many other certifications available, of varying degrees of strictness.
The most controversial certification is the K, a plain letter K found on products asserted to be kosher. All other kosher certification marks are trademarked and cannot be used without the permission of the certifying organization.
The certifying organization stands behind the kashrut of the product. But you cannot trademark a letter of the alphabet, so any manufacturer can put a K on a product
(2)THE OU EMBLEM is the registered trademark (U.S. Patent Office #636,593 and #1,087891) of the Kashruth Division of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America - The Orthodox Union. It may be used only by authority of the Orthodox Union Kashruth Division.
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