Community Kashrus
Greater Philadelphia

The Keystone K

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Kashrus Updates & Alerts

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Rutledge Rita’s / SNAPPLE / Store Brands

February 11, 2018

Rita’s Rutledge

The Rutledge Rita’s will not be under supervision this year.  They will carry some non-kosher products.


Not all flavors are supervised by the OK.  Please check each type for supervision.  Mixed cases are sold, some bearing an OK and some do not.  The non-supervised bottles may contain grape-juice.


It is very common for supermarkets to change the suppliers for their store brands.  Being that some of the suppliers have kosher supervision and some do not, a product which you have been using may suddenly appear with the same label sans supervision.  Sometimes old and new stock appear together on a shelf mixing supervised product with non-supervised product.



Keystone-K Announcement – Change of Supervision

January 31, 2018

Supervision of Six Points Restaurant Group has been assumed by the OU beginning February 1.  We wish the OU, the Tavern, and The Dairy much hatzlocha.

Keystone-K Health Alert – Ice-cream Bars – possible listeria contamination

January 16, 2018

Observant Jewish families are very careful about mixing fish and meat even though it is a health issue (recorded in the Talmud), not a Kashrus issue.  Fish and meat may be eaten at the same meal if they are properly separated.   We do not know if the health issues are still relevant, or if the type of fish about which we are concerned is consumed in the USA.  Some people even have a minhag to cook fish and meat in separated pots.  Keystone-K requires separate pots at our establishments for the sake of those community members who follow this minhag.


It is for this reason that certain salad dressings carry a Fish designation (such as OU Fish), as someone might unwittingly use the dressing or sauce directly with meat.   There is a Torah concept called “chamira sakanta yoser mei’issura”  (danger to health is to be taken even more seriously than halocha prohibitions).  Even though we are uncertain if the health issue with fish and meat is applicable in our circumstances we take it very seriously.  It is for this reason that Keystone-K promulgates government health warnings that come to our attention.  The following link will give you important information regarding a recall of ice-cream bars due to listeria contamination.  These products are sold in our area.  No Cholov Yisroel brands are currently included in the alert.







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Orla ערלה – The first Three Years

January 1, 2018

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.


Keystone-K Timely Kashrus Information

November 21, 2017

Now that cooler weather is upon us there are a number of Kashrus issues to be mindful of:


The cool weather tends to lower the amount of insect infestation of local produce, however, much of the available produce is imported.  Mexico and other warm climates tend to have an above average incidence of infestation.  For health reasons as well it is advisable to wash all imported produce with extra care – using ample amounts of either liquid soap or anti-bacterial vegi-wash.


We recommend not purchasing fruit from Eretz Yisroel unless it has a reliable hechsher.  Much of the fruit exported from Eretz Yisroel is orla (from the first three years).  The laws of “orla” from Eretz Yisroel have special impact due to the Kedusha of Eretz Yisroel.  [We have detailed Halocha explanations about this in our halocha section.]


Please check the origin of the produce you purchase.  According to USA law the origin of the produce must be on the label or posted.  We have detailed instructions regarding the removal of Terumos and Maasros from vegetables that come from Eretz Yisroel on our web-site.  We strongly encourage purchasing vegetables from Eretz Yisroel.  It is longstanding Jewish practice to express our affinity for Eretz Yisroel by purchasing and using produce and objects from Israel.


In order to share the most up-to-date Kashrus information, the major Kashrus agencies (AKO) meet yearly at the offices of the OU.  The following information may be of particular interest:


Vinegar and salt-water cleaning are no longer accepted as effective for infested fruits and vegetables.


Special attention must be given to the cleaning of organic produce.


Riced cauliflower (from a reputable company) has been commercially cleaned very well, and does not need to be cleaned or checked.


False claims of Kashrus are rampant on the Internet.  Amazon is very responsive when an unauthorized Kashrus symbol is used on their web-site, many other companies are not compliant even when alerted to the illegal use of registered trademarks.  It is advisable to check the product itself for the Kosher symbol.  Symbols printed on the product itself are usually accurate.


Much of the Kosher news on blogs is either erroneous or posted maliciously by someone with an “agenda”.  Your family’s Rav and the recognized Kashrus agencies are the best sources for accurate information.


Please check for symbols when buying items in the Kosher Section of a store.  Shelf-stockers and customers do place items in the wrong place.  If something doesn’t seem quite right, please check carefully, and feel free to ask.


The Keystone-K depends on memberships.  The cost of membership is kept low so that everyone can join the community in supporting this vital Communal organization.  Even if you are already a member, please encourage your friends and neighbors to join as well.   The web address to sign up on-line for membership is  We will be happy to sign-you up manually if you send a check (Community Kashrus) to the address below with your e-mail.


Community Kashrus of Greater Philadelphia

2014 Upland Way

Philadelphia, PA 19131


V-Coffee on Shabbos

September 14, 2017

V-Coffee on Shabbos

A new way of manufacturing instant coffee is becoming popular.  Coffee produced in this manner is touted as tasting better and being healthier.  The process for producing “V-Coffee” does not involve any pre-cooking, but rather, air-roasting and grinding.   It is roasted by a process similar to making air popped popcorn.  Due to the fact that this coffee is not pre-cooked, using it on Shabbos poses a halachic question, as there is a question if re-cooking an item that was baked or roasted is permissible in a “kli-sheni” (second vessel).  As always, everyone should follow the guidance of their own rabbi.  My recommendation is to use “irui kli-sheni”  (pouring from a second vessel).   This is the procedure: pour from the kettle into a cup, put the V-coffee into a dry cup, then pour the hot water into the second cup.

Meat, Meat Equipment, Dairy, Dairy Equipment, Parve … Do I have to wait before Dairy, etc.?

Meat, Meat Equipment, Dairy, Dairy Equipment, Parve … Do I have to wait before Dairy, etc.?

Eating “out” is very much a part of contemporary society.  What are the chef’s secrets that I need to know?

If you eat at a Dairy/Meat establishment you must assume that anything fried has been made in oil that was used for other items on the menu as well.  That would mean that French fries, onion rings, etc., must be considered to have Dairy/Meat status (unless otherwise verified).  Soups, dressings, and sauces are often enhanced with hidden Dairy/Meat ingredients.  Unless you have verified that your food is Parve you should consider it Dairy/Meat.

How about Dairy/Meat Equipment?   If the only concern is the equipment, there is no need to wait between Meat and Dairy.  Serving the food with the opposite type is more complex, for example: eating a potato that was cooked in a meat pot with Dairy butter.  This question depends on custom, and is different for Sefardim and Ashkenazim.  You should follow your family custom or seek your rabbi’s guidance in this regard.

After eating aged cheese it is necessary to wait (your customary length of time) before eating meat.  Rabbi Gordimer researched the manufacturing process of all major cheeses.  The results of his research are available in the linked file.

As with all practical halocha follow your family custom or seek your rabbi’s guidance.  As always, your family rabbi is your most important resource for personal guidance.

כתיבה וחתימה טובה

May you, your family, loved ones, and all Klal Yisroel be written and inscribed for a good year.

But What Could be Wrong with…


But What Could be Wrong with…

It is often puzzling why the reputable Kashrus agencies require supervision for products that appear to be “natural”.  The following excerpt from the Wall Street Journal of September 14, 2017 makes it quite clear.  This does not mean that every product on the market needs supervision.  For example, laundry detergent does not need supervision.  Some companies wish to supervise all of their products for marketing purposes.  Some Kashrus agencies feel that there are advantages in supervising even products that are 100% innocuous.  In reality though, as technology advances there are fewer and fewer products that are truly innocuous.

“Hart Perez, a 31-year-old video director, became curious about what was inside the product after he spent six months drinking only sparkling water, mostly LaCroix, and “wasn’t feeling as sharp as usual.”

He determined that the product contained “a natural flavor—and natural flavor can really mean anything.” Mr. Perez never figured out more.  “I’ve had two this morning already,” he said on a recent weekday.

“Essence is something mysterious,” says Robin Scott, a 56-year-old rancher in Templeton, Calif., who has been drinking LaCroix for 30 years. When traveling, her first stop after the airport is often a supermarket—to stock up on seltzer. “I know what flavors I like but I have no idea what kinds of chemicals are in there and I don’t care. I know it tastes good.”

A laboratory of EAG Inc., a scientific-services company, said more than $100,000 of testing would be required to independently determine that LaCroix contains only natural essence oils.

Essence isn’t defined in U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, an FDA spokeswoman said. Yet the FDA permits companies to use the word when describing “flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof,” according to food-labeling rules.”

I am including the following links to my Dropbox files from the CRC and Star-K that share the collective research which is the result of the collaboration of all the major agencies.


כתיבה וחתימה טובה

May you, your family, loved ones, and all Klal Yisroel be written and inscribed for a good year.



The Dairy at Bala

September 12, 2017

The Dairy at Bala

The Dairy at Bala is undergoing renovations at this time.  While The Dairy is being renovated The Tavern at 261 Mongomery Ave., Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 will be serving non-Dairy meals.  There is no need to wait in order to eat Dairy food after eating Parve food made on meat equipment


This is the link for the Slurpee list.

Icing on the Cake – Parve/Dairy

February 13, 2017

Please check any icings and frostings which you use to make sure that their Parve status has not changed.  Due to government regulations some frostings are being reformulated and are now classified as Dairy.

Modern Developments and Kashrus Concerns

January 23, 2017

Modern food production is in constant flux in ways that effect Kashrus – some for the better and some for the worse.  A number of developments which have raised Kashrus concerns follow:

Most natural sweetener used in juices and other products is white grape juice (with all of the attendant kashrus concerns).   The Kashrus agencies make sure that only Kosher grape juice is used in products which they certify.

When companies produce powdered milk, they recycle the chemically pure hot water which is produced.  Not only is the water a valued commodity but the fact that it is hot makes it more valuable.  Even though this water is chemically 100% pure and not a concern regarding allergies, it is clearly a component of milk.  Even for people who do use standard milk it is a meat/milk concern.

The same issue of a hot water byproduct applies when manufacturing starch.  The obvious issue here is “Chometz” on Pesach.

Many canning companies are using their canning equipment for non-kosher (meat/fish) products.  For this reason, the Kashrus agencies recommend using only kosher certified canned goods.  This is not a concern in regard to frozen vegetables that contain only kosher ingredients.



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.


Tevillas Keilim

What needs Tevilla? Utensils which are used for eating or for preparing food require tevilla.  Those utensils that are used in early stages of preparation of food do not require tevilla, for example equipment used to harvest food and equipment used to sift flour.   Only utensils owned by someone who is Jewish that were … Continued

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


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