Community Kashrus
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Greater Philadelphia

The Keystone K

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Kashrus Updates & Alerts

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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. 

Produce Junction – Teruma and Maaser Alert

May 4, 2016

Produce Junction (and many other stores and outlets) carry Israeli produce.  According to US law retailers are supposed have either stickers on the produce or signage which identifies the place or origin.  Israeli produce is usually labeled Israel, though sometimes it is unfortunately labeled “Palestine”.   Sources of produce can change on a daily basis, so please check labels and signs each time you shop.   We recommend against purchasing fruit from Israel without supervision as a very significant percentage is orla.   Vegetables and herbs may be purchased and the tithes may be removed as per our “Four Easy Steps”.

The following procedure for removing terumos and maasros (the tithes) can only be used on one type of produce at a time, its value must be over about $.75 (if silver is worth less than $20 per troy ounce) or over about $1.00 (if silver is worth $28 per troy ounce) or over about $1.25 (if silver is worth $35 per troy ounce). These numbers are approximate values. You can calculate more precisely with the formula 11 times dollar value of troy ounce of silver divided by 310. Please note that the value of silver fluctuates greatly. Please do not follow this procedure for produce of a lesser value, the procedure for produce of a lesser value requires that you have something called a pruta chamura which is difficult to come by outside of Eretz Yisroel.

 

1) Place the produce in front of you, and do not move it. Remove slightly more than 1% of the produce. For example, if there are 95 tomatoes separate 1 tomato. (If you have 10 carrots break off a piece of a carrot which will be slightly larger than 1/100 of the total.)

2) A coin, which is valid currency in the country in which the redemption is performed, is designated for redemption. At the time of this writing, one nickel is sufficient. (If the price of a troy ounce of silver goes above $50 it may be necessary to use a dime.)

3) One of the two following texts is recited:

The amount in the northernmost part of the separated portion which is greater than 1% of the total amount of the produce shall be Terumah Gedolah.   The remaining part of the separated portion, plus an additional 9% on the northernmost side of the produce shall be Ma’ aser Rishon.  The part of the separated portion that was previously designated Ma’ aser Rishon shall be Terumat Maaser.  10% of the remaining produce in the southern side shall be either Ma’ aser Sheni or Ma’ aser Oni, in accordance with the year of the shmittah cycle during which the produce was grown.  If the 10% on the southern side is Ma’ aser Sheni, it should be redeemed by transferring its kedushah calculated at its value plus 25%, to the coin. If the produce is neta revai, it should be redeemed by transferring its kedushah calculated at its value plus 25%, to the coin.

>> Alternatively, if one has difficulty with the full text or it is not available, this simplified text may be recited:

“All separations of terumah and ma’ aser and redemptions of Ma’ aser Sheni and neta revai shall be effected in accordance with the text of the Chazon Ish.”

4) The separated produce (the part which was more than 1%), and the designated coin are wrapped and discarded.

 

 

 

UPDATE – Stores from which Chometz may be purchased after Pesach:

May 2, 2016

Stores from which Chometz may be purchased after Pesach:

Chometz may be purchased from the following national chains after Pesach: Acme, Aldi, Save a Lot, CVS, Rite-Aid, Trader Joes, Walgreens, Walmart, K-Mart, Petco, Petsmart, and BJs, Costcos, Dollar Tree and Whole Foods.

In addition to this the following stores in the Philadelphia area are OK: All Giants of the Ahold Group,  and ShopRite Roosevelt Blvd.

We have received queries about Target.  It is not approved.

Quick turnover items may be purchased at any major store two weeks after Pesach.  Slower turnover items may be purchased four weeks after Pesach.

Food items which may contain an insignificant amount of Chometz may be purchased at any store after Pesach.

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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.

 

Starbucks

March 3, 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.

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.

Infestation Policies

The degree and type of infestation depend on the source of the produce and are also seasonal.   The major kashrus organizations communicate with one another in order to remain current.

Torah/Halacha

DIY Teruma and Maaser in 4 Easy Steps

DIY Teruma and Maaser in 4 Easy Steps Research has determined that a significant percentage of Israeli fruit is “Orla” from which no benefit may be derived.   It is recommended that Israeli fruit should only be purchased with a reliable supervision.  Vegetables and herbs do not have “orla” concerns.  For more information regarding “orla” please … 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