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Moshe Ronen  Letter 07  27-Mar-2000  Income from denial of kosher certification?
"Such machinations on the part of kosher-certification agencies are not merely imaginary, but rather can be found to have been put into practice." Lubomyr Prytulak

March 27, 2000
Moshe Ronen
National President
Canadian Jewish Congress
100 Sparks Street, Suite 650
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5B7

Telephone: (613) 233-8703
Fax:       (613) 233-8748


Moshe Ronen:

Does the Council of Orthodox Rabbis (COR) make money from kosher-certification denial, and kosher de-certification?

In my letter to you of 25Mar2000, I posited that if kosher certification attracted buyers to Aluminum Foil A (an attraction which is assumed for the sake of argument, though implausible and unprovable), then this benefit would be lost upon Aluminum Foil B's also receiving kosher certification, assuming that the two manufacturers monopolized the aluminum-foil market in a given region.  At the point that only Manufacturer A was kosher-certified, then, the Council of Orthodox Rabbis could:

(1) ask Manufacturer A to pay to have kosher certification denied to Manufacturer B which would amount to kosher-certification denial generating income for the COR; or

(2) offer Manufacturer B the package of kosher certification of Aluminum Foil B together with de-certification of Aluminum Foil A for a fee higher than that currently being charged Manufacturer A which would amount to kosher de-certification generating income for the COR.

Denial and de-certification are established techniques of increasing income:

That such machinations on the part of kosher-certification agencies are not merely imaginary, but can be found to have been put into practice, is testified to by such reports as the following:


In order to land the Kashruth contract for Barton's Bonboniere and Candy, the Union (of Orthodox Jewish congregations) withdrew its () hechsher from Barricini Candy, arguing that Barricini kept its stores open on the Sabbath while Barton's stores are closed.  Yet the Union of Orthodox Jewish congregations continue to give hechsherim to concerns (including Jewish-owned) that do not observe the Sabbath.  Why then was the hechsher taken from Barricini?  The answer is simple: Barton's made this the condition for paying the Orthodox Union for affixing its to the packages.
Dr. Trude-Weiss Rossmarin writing in the Jewish Spectator, in Seymour E. Freedman, The Book of Kashruth: A Treasury of Kosher Facts & Frauds, Bloch Publishing Company, New York, 1970, p. 169.

An even better variation:

Of course instead of denying or withdrawing certification, a kosher-certification agency could achieve the same effect by raising fees for all competing manufacturers until the desired number proved unable to bear them, which would bring the certification agency the dual benefits of: (1) freedom from the accusation of an unwarranted restriction of certification, along with (2) the highest fees that the market could bear.

How does the Council of Orthodox Rabbis escape this inescapable quandary?

The negative impression that your answer might attempt to correct here is that in order to give even the appearance of being able to increase sales, kosher certifiers must guarantee a limit on the granting of kosher certification to competitors.  However, if kosher certification agencies were to guarantee such a limit, then they would be running afoul of religious principles which dictate that certification be granted to all who comply with Jewish dietary laws.



Lubomyr Prytulak


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