Community Kashrus
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Greater Philadelphia

The Keystone K

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Certified Establishments

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Become a member of the Keystone-K and receive special benefits at many of our certified establishments.

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Kashrus Updates & Alerts

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Cheese / Grape Juice / Fruit Juice / Pearled Barley / Raisins / Flour etc.

August 26, 2016

Alert : The O/U does not certify Bill Baron’s Parmesan Panko.  Some products sold at Whole Foods Market bear an unauthorized O/U.

Alert: Mother’s Maid unsweetened Grape Juice is NOT O/U certified.  Some labels bear an unauthorized O/U symbol.

Alert:  Mr. J’s all-in-one 100% Fruit Juice in several flavors bears an unauthorized O/K Kosher symbol.

Many people wonder why does fruit juice need supervision?   While fruit juices may have a number of problematic ingredients, the most prevalent is white grape juice.  White grape juice is one of the most commonly used sweeteners at this time.  It is usually not listed by name, but as “natural sweeteners.  Kosher bottling plants use white grape juice.

Alert: Unger’s Pearled Barley,

Unger’s Pearled Barley – in particular lot #26917 and 62318 have been found to be infested and should not be used without checking the product thoroughly.  (You can check for infestation by spreading the barley out on white paper.)  Measures are being taken to prevent the rampant infestation of the barley.

The risk of infestation is much higher with products that are purchased in small shops.  Most infestation of pasta, raisins, flour, barley, etc. occurs during storage.  National brand products sold at large (clean) supermarkets have a much lower rate of infestation.  It is recommended that you do not stock up at home with products that tend to become infested.  Some people keep their flour and other ingredients that tend to become infested in the freezer.

Great News! Wricley Nut Products

August 12, 2016

We are pleased to announce that Wricley Nut Products at 480 Pattison Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19148 is now a 100% kosher production facility.  All products which bear our seal are Kosher. If they are marked with the word Dairy or a D they are Dairy Cholov Stam.   All Parve products are prepared on a dedicated separate Parve line.

Starbucks

August 8, 2016

The following are recommended (but not under our supervision) at any Starbucks:  Americano [with paper cup, without “shot” glass], bottled Starbucks drinks with “KD”, Expresso [with paper cup, without “shot” glass], and tea with hechsher [paper cup].  Rav Heinemann of the Star-K researched Starbucks.   Keystone-K disseminates information based upon our own research and that of the national kashrus agencies.  It is not the position of the Keystone-K to usurp the position of your rabbi and poseik.  The results of the research and the reasoning behind it may be viewed at:

http://www.star-k.org/articles/kosher-lists/1709/starbucks/

http://www.star-k.org/articles/kashrus-kurrents/kashurs-kurrents-2011/summer-kashrus-kurrents-2011/601/dont-drink-the-coffee/

Some people make the mistake of assuming that everything in an establishment is kosher if they see observant people in the establishment.  Starbucks is a clear example of the error of this assumption.  While some items are acceptable, others are not.

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Great News! Wricley Nut Products

August 12, 2016

We are pleased to announce that Wricley Nut Products at 480 Pattison Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19148 is now a 100% kosher production facility.  All products which bear our seal are Kosher. If they are marked with the word Dairy or a D they are Dairy Cholov Stam.   All Parve products are prepared on a dedicated separate Parve line.

Something’s Fishy / Snake-oil Salesmen

August 8, 2016

One of the major modern challenges in the field of Kashrus is that the business world has become more sophisticated and has developed hard to detect means of deception.  While the Kashrus agencies make use of modern technology in the observance of Kashrus, unscrupulous manufacturers make use of modern technology to increase their profits through deceptive business practices.

 

The FDA has done DNA testing on numerous fish samples and has found that specie substitution is rampant.  Larry Olmsted wrote a book “Real Food Fake Food,” and CBS 60 Minutes, the WSJ, and Consumer Reports Magazine have recently publicized these practices.  94% of red snapper is not really red snapper.  Tile fish (high mercury) and tilapia are often substituted for red snapper.  Approximately 1/3 of fish which is sold is mislabeled.  Substitution is prevalent in restaurants, as each time the fish is transferred to a new owner another opportunity for deception arises.  Approximately 95% of fish in the USA is imported, and as is well known many foreign countries turn a “blind eye” to deceptive business practices.  In the past many kashrus agencies relied on color to identify salmon.  The major agencies discovered that the companies were adding coloring to the flesh in order to make other types of fish appear to be salmon.  The major agencies now require inspecting each salmon for scales.

 

To combat the deception our mashgichim check each fish for scales.  We require that a sizable skin tag be left on each fish so that it can be inspected for scales.  The mashgichim must check the skin tags for any anomaly because unscrupulous sellers have even tried attaching skin tags from one fish onto another.  Experienced mashgichim can detect such fraud with ease.

 

At one time many kosher consumers would purchase extra-virgin olive oil without a supervision.  Sadly, a large portion of the extra-virgin olive oil on the market is made by adding chlorophyll and flavoring to inexpenive types of oil.  Pure honey is often adulterated with corn-syrup.  American business people have a higher standard of ethics than business owners in many foreign countries, and American government agencies are more vigilant than most.  Therefore, imports from other countries are at an even greater risk of adulteration than products manufactured in the USA.  

 

The major Kashrus agencies employ experts with business experience and scientific expertise in order to keep current with industry developments.  Through AKO (Association of Kashrus Organizations), of which Keystone-K is a member, the Kashrus agencies pool their expertise and cooperate with one another for the sake of the Kosher consumer.

 

Starbucks

The following are recommended (but not under our supervision) at any Starbucks:  Americano [with paper cup, without “shot” glass], bottled Starbucks drinks with “KD”, Expresso [with paper cup, without “shot” glass], and tea with hechsher [paper cup].  Rav Heinemann of the Star-K researched Starbucks.   Keystone-K disseminates information based upon our own research and that of the national kashrus agencies.  It is not the position of the Keystone-K to usurp the position of your rabbi and poseik.  The results of the research and the reasoning behind it may be viewed at:

http://www.star-k.org/articles/kosher-lists/1709/starbucks/

http://www.star-k.org/articles/kashrus-kurrents/kashurs-kurrents-2011/summer-kashrus-kurrents-2011/601/dont-drink-the-coffee/

Some people make the mistake of assuming that everything in an establishment is kosher if they see observant people in the establishment.  Starbucks is a clear example of the error of this assumption.  While some items are acceptable, others are not.

Important Announcements and Alerts

July 20, 2016

Leo Tai of Sushi Talk Asian Catering at 7588 Haverford Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19151 informed us that he will not continue as a kosher establishment as of August 1, 2016.  Leo Tai will be available as a Kosher Sushi Chef with a mashgiach temidi beginning August 1, 2016.   His work as a kosher sushi chef is the responsibility of each certifying agency, not the Keystone-K.  

 

The brand new Fresh Grocer in Wyncote has established a large kosher section under our supervision.  You can view their information on our web-site under establishments.

 

H & E Cohen Catering is now under Keystone-K supervision.  You can view their information on our web-site under establishments.

 

At this time a large percentage of carrots come from Eretz Yisroel (for example – Restaurant Depot).  Please follow the procedure we posted on our web-site for removing the teruma and maser.

 

From The O/K: Great Value Broccoli & Cauliflower

Great Value Steam-able Broccoli & Cauliflower Great Value Cut Broccoli Great Value Steamable Broccoli Cuts Great Value – manufactured in Mexico and being sold in Wal-Mart stores, bear an unauthorized O/K symbol:

 

Star-K: Nature’s Kitchen/East Coast Fresh Carrots from Israel

Please be advised that packages of carrots and products containing fresh carrots with a sell-date of July 17 or earlier, bear an unauthorized Star K.  These products require that Trumos and Maasros be taken.  Instruction of how to do so are available on the Keystone-K web-site.

Slurpees

June 16, 2016

According to the joint research of the major Kashrus agencies all Slurpees are kosher and Parve except the following:

 

Barq’s Brand:  Caffeine-Free Root Beer (kosher only when bearing O/U)

The following flavors are kosher – Dairy

Fanta :  Banana Split and Pina Colada are both dairy, Cholov Stam)


Jolly Rancher:  (Note:  All Flavors are Dairy, Cholov Stam)

Yo Cream:  (Note: all flavors are Dairy, Cholov Stam)

Pepsi   (Note:  Diet Pepsi is dairy, Cholov Stam – Diet Pepsi Soda is Parve)

 

The following Slurpee flavors are NOT Kosher:

Horchata Ole – Not Kosher

Orange Barq Smoothie – Not Kosher

Strawberry Twizzler – Not Kosher

Monster Black – Not Kosher

Tropicana Grape Wild Strawberry – Not Kosher

Great News! Wynnewood Giant – Two Kosher Bakeries!

May 18, 2016

Giant Wynnewood has opened a second kosher bakery.  One is Pas Yisroel-Pareve and one is Pas Yisroel-Dairy.  Everything baked at Giant Wynnewood is Pas Yisroel and supervised by the Keystone-K.  High Pas Yisroel standards are in place.  All bread, rolls, bagels, and Challah bread are Pareve.  All other products should be considered Dairy unless the label states Pareve.   Management is working on adding to the Pareve selection of cakes and cookies.  Strawberries will be cleaned in accordance with the Keystone-K policies. 

Please check for our symbol on the baked goods.  If a product baked in the bakery is marked with a plain K that means that it meets our kashrus standards, but it was baked by non-Jews on Shabbos.  Baked goods bearing the symbols of other Kashrus agencies follow the standards of those agencies. 

Infestation Alert from the COR (Toronto)

April 26, 2016

Infestation Alert from the COR (Toronto)

Lieber’s crushed tomatoes for Pesach should be checked for small white worms.  As of this time it is not known if they have been found in the UISA as well.

Orla ערלה – The first Three Years

April 22, 2016

The fruit of a tree or fruit bush may not be eaten during the first three years of its growth.  Not only is it prohibited to eat the fruit but no benefit whatsoever may be derived from the fruit.  This halocha applies both in Eretz Yisroel and in חו”ל (outside of Eretz Yisroel).  There is one major difference between Eretz Yisroel and  חו”ל (outside of Eretz Yisroel) – in Eretz Yisroel we must determine that the fruit is not “Orla” before eating it, while in  חו”ל (outside of Eretz Yisroel) we may go after the majority of fruit which grew after the first three years.  If you pick your own fruit you must ascertain that the tree has been growing for at least three years even outside of Eretz Yisroel.

If a tree is replanted without a ball of earth around the roots (bare roots) the three years must be counted over again.  This is how most commercial orchards plant trees.  A nursery plants the saplings and when they reach the desired size they are chilled so that they go into dormancy.  The young tree is shipped bare rooted as it is much less expensive to ship it without a ball of earth around the roots.  This means that in most cases the three years need to be counted from the replanting, not the original planting.

Even the non-observant farmers find it difficult to find customers for their orla produce in Eretz Yisroel.  That means that most of the orla produce (as well as other forbidden produce) is exported.  We need to be aware of this when shopping for produce.  It is a privilege and a mitzvah to purchase Israeli produce, however, only with a reliable supervision.  It is very common to find unsupervised Israeli produce in the American market which is 100% forbidden.  Grapefruit sections are one extremely common Israeli product which absolutely must carry a reliable supervision.  If one purchased or picked orla in error it must go to waste.  It is not permissible to derive any benefit from orla.

The produce of the fourth year is called “revai”.  It is sanctified and must be eaten in Yerushalyim.  It is possible to transfer the sanctity onto coins, as is done with מעשר שני (The Second Tithe).  May Moshiach come soon and may we fulfill all of the מצוות (precepts) attached to the Land of Israel, thereby meriting the Land’s Blessings in full.

 

Snapple and Other Soft Drinks

November 24, 2015

Most Snapple drinks are supervised by the OK.  Please check for the supervision as not all types are supervised – such as cranberry raspberry .

Many soft drinks have white grape juice added as a natural sweetener, and some processing equipment in  bottling plants is used for heating unkosher ingredients.  It is important to check that drinks have proper supervision.  We supervise the entire local Pepsi plant and all of their products.

You may check the Star-K website for a comprehensive list of soft drinks as well as alcoholic beverages.  The major kashrus agencies have embarked on an analysis of alcoholic beverages with the goal of expanding on the list of permitted drinks.

Cholov Yisroel / Pas Yisroel

July 2, 2015

Please note: The teudos (certificates of certification) state if an establishment is “Cholov Yisroel” and/or “Pas Yisroel”.  This can be viewed on the certificate displayed in the establishment as well as on the online certificate.

Torah/Halacha

DIY Teruma and Maaser in 4 Easy Steps

DIY Teruma and Maaser in 4 Easy Steps As it is a Mitzva to eat the produce of Eretz Yisroel, and supporting the economy is a mitzvah as well, we encourage our members to follow the procedures below so that they can purchase Israeli vegetables without concern. Research has determined that a significant percentage of Israeli fruit … Continued

The White Knight and Kashrus

One of the counterintuitive ordinances of the “metzora” (“leper”) is that one who is afflicted from head to toe, completely white, is considered pure, while on the day that a small amount of normal flesh is found on his body he becomes impure.   Is it possible for us to find any message in this curious … Continued

Brussel Sprouts / Asparagus and other vegetables

A number of Mashgichim experimented with Brussel Sprouts and asparagus for a year.  They found that wherever they grew and at whichever season Brussel Sprouts were highly infested.  Only Brussel Sprouts grown in an insect free environment should be used.   On the other hand, white asparagus are very clean and may be used without checking.  … Continued

Contact

Have any questions about one of our establishments or general kashrus issues?
Contact our kashrus administrator