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Issues
General Kashrus Issues


1. What is kosher salt?

2. My husband and I are at odds about whether or not Kosher foods need to be prepared only by Jews

3. Do you have any information in your articles about using tooth whitener on Shabbat or Yom tov?

4. Does yeast need kosher certification?

5. Are genetically engineered tomatoes kosher?

6. How does your symbol tell us that something is kosher?

7. Your website indicates that the use of "pareve" regarding a food product means that the product contains no meat or dairy ingredients. Does this mean vegans and vegetarians can eat pareve foods without any concern?

8. Do all foods require a kosher symbol to tell us that they are kosher?

9. Can you tell me which responsa discusses how to dispose of Torah material written in English?

10. My firm frequently has lunch meetings where they provide non-kosher sandwiches and the like. They generally will have separate fruit platters with cut fruit as well. Is one permitted to eat the fruit?

11. Are all kosher symbols reliable?

12. Is an Ashkenazic Jew permitted to eat meat under the supervision of a reliable Sefaradic kashrus organization?

13. I've heard that if you cook or warm a flour tortilla it becomes pas Yisroel. Is that correct even though it may be eaten right from the package?

14. Are you allowed to filter tap water on Shabbos, or is it borer?

15. Does every food require kosher certification?

16. Do canned mandarin oranges need certification?

17. What is the appropriate Bracha for hearts of palm? Ho'etz, Ho'adama or Shehakol?

18. What does a hechsher represent on Cholov Stam milk?

19. Does rice need to be yoshon?

20. I haven't eaten cherries all year. Sould I recite the blessing of shechiyanu when eating cherry pie from a bakery?

21. Do Kashrus Kurrents need to be put in sheimos?

22. Does plain, unseasoned uncooked couscous require certification? The only ingredient is flour.

 


1. What is “kosher salt?”

Salt is inherently kosher and does not require certification. Salt which is termed “kosher salt” is a type of coarse salt used in kosherization of meat to facilitate drainage of blood, but is used in cooking as well.

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2. My husband and I are at odds about whether or not Kosher foods need to be prepared only by Jews

You are both (partially) right.  Some foods need to be prepared by Jews, some do not.  Examples of foods requiring  Jewish involvement are meat, poultry, and fish.  The vast majority of commercially available kosher certified foods are not prepared by Jews, only under supervision of the certifying agency.

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3. Do you have any information in your articles about using tooth whitener on Shabbat or Yom tov?

According to Rav Heinemann, for Shabbos and Yom Tov use, it is not a problem of "coloring" since the change in color is not noticeable overnight. However, the method of application could pose a problem. For instance, the use of an applicator similar to the one used for nail polish would be forbidden because of sechita, squeezing.

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4. Does yeast need kosher certification?

In a word, yes. Yeast is a fungus that has many food applications. Yeast is a fundmental component used in the fermentation of beer, wine and dough. Yeasts are used as flavor enhancers for cheese powders and spice blends. Yeasts are found in nature, and for the most part, natual fungi are kosher. However, commecially produced yeasts are grown and propagated using various media, ingredients and nutrients requiring kosher certification. Natural wine yeasts are found in grapes and would need reliable kosher certification. Autolyzed yeasts are found in beer and would not be kosher for Passover. For these reasons, yeasts require kosher certification.

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5. Are genetically engineered tomatoes kosher?

If it looks like a tomato, smells like a tomato, feels like a tomato and tastes like a tomato, it's a tomato and it's kosher.

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6. How does your symbol tell us that something is kosher?

To briefly explain, kosher certification requires a thorough review of;

  1. All ingredients used in the plant.
  2. Plant equipment.
  3. Manufacturing processes.

Star-K personnel, trained in the laws of kosher, food technology and familiar with the food industry and ingredients, visit the plant. If the plant is kosher compliant, the company will have the right to use our symbol on the kosher products. Periodic visits will be made by a Star-K Rabbinic field representative. On these visits he will check ingredients, products, labels, etc. in order to monitor and audit compliance with the terms of the agreement.

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7. Your website indicates that the use of "pareve" regarding a food product means that the product contains no meat or dairy ingredients. Does this mean vegans and vegetarians can eat pareve foods without any concern?"

Fish and eggs are pareve, since they are neither meat nor dairy, although they are not considered vegan. As far as vegetarians are concerned, there are different levels of adherence and varied opinions as to what vegetarians will accept. We are aware of many vegetarians who seek out pareve foods and feel that pareve satisfies their needs. However, we cannot say definitively that all pareve foods are suitable for all vegetarians. If you have a question about a specific product, feel free to contact us.

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8. Do all foods require a kosher symbol to tell us that they are kosher?

No, some foods are always kosher. Two examples are sugar and raw split peas.

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9. Can you tell me which responsa discusses how to dispose of Torah material written in English?

Please see our shaimos article for a detailed discussion of this issue.

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10. My firm frequently has lunch meetings where they provide non-kosher sandwiches and the like. They generally will have separate fruit platters with cut fruit as well. Is one permitted to eat the fruit?

We could not recommend the fruit since they may be cut with knives used to cut non-kosher. You could cut off a thin slice of fruit where the fruit has been cut. Discard that slice and eat the rest of the fruit. (You should use a kosher knife which should be washed before further use.) Tart fruits should not be eaten even in this manner.

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11.Are all kosher symbols reliable?

Our policy is not to answer general questions about hechsherim. Please call our hotline at 410-484-4110 if you have a question about a particular product.

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12.Is an Ashkenazic Jew permitted to eat meat under the supervision of a reliable Sefaradic kashrus organization?

Sefardim may be stringent in some areas of shechita as Bais Yosef requires. This would be acceptable for an Ashkenazi. If, however, the leniencies of Bais Yosef are also followed, then an Ashkenazi should refrain from eating that meat.

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13.I've heard that if you cook or warm a flour tortilla it becomes pas Yisroel. Is that correct even though it may be eaten right from the package?

If the flour tortilla is considered a finished product as sold, and you are cooking it or warming it up (just like putting bread in a toaster) only to change its texture, this would not give the tortilla a status of pas Yisroel. However, if the tortilla requires the extra preparation, then the extra baking gives it the status of pas Yisroel.

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14.Are you allowed to filter tap water on Shabbos, or is it borer?

Assuming that there is no electrical process involved, water may generally be filtered on Shabbos. There is no concern for borer (separating) because the water could be imbibed even without the filtering and the filtering is only for added purity. Additionally, the filtering of tap water is usually only for chemicals invisible to the eye and does not violate the prohibition of borer. (In locales where water is not permitted without filtering due to insect infestation, filtering may be prohibited on Shabbos. Consult your Rav.)


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15.Does every food require kosher certification?

S
ome items that do not require certification click here for more information.

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16. Do canned mandarin oranges need certification?

If the ingredients are just mandarin oranges, water, and sugar, then it would be fine to use. If you are unsure of other ingredients, you can call us. If they are product of Israel, they would need certificaion due to tithing concerns.

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17. What is the appropriate Bracha for hearts of palm? Ho'etz, Ho'adama or Shehakol?

The proper Bracha is Ho'etz.

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18. What does a hechsher represent on Cholov Stam milk?

The vitamins and equipment used are kosher. There is no oversight of anything that happens on the farm.

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19. Does rice need to be yoshon?

No, rice does not need to be yoshen. Even though its blessing is mezonos, it is not one of the five grains(wheat, oats, barley, rye, spelt) which could be a yoshon issue.


20. I haven't eaten cherries all year. Sould I recite the blessing of shechiyanu when eating cherry pie from a bakery?

It depends if they use fresh or canned cherries. You would not recite the blessing on the canned variety used by many bakeries, but you would recite the blessing if they used fresh cherries. .

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21. Do Kashrus Kurrents need to be put in sheimos?

Kashrus Kurrents are sheimos due to the Torah articles.

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22. Does plain, unseasoned uncooked couscous require certification? The only ingredient is flour.

It is fine to use without any certification, as long as it not a product of Israel. If it is a product of Israel, it requires certification due to tithing and shemitta issues.

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