Community Kashrus
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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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The Dairy at Bala / Lettuce

August 20, 2017

The Dairy at Bala / Lettuce

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.

At this time iceberg lettuce in some parts of the country is heavily infested.  If you purchase pre-cleaned salads, please check that they carry a reliable supervision.   All Keystone-K establishments use exclusively cleaned and checked produce.

 

Check the Label – From the OU – Entenmann’s

July 20, 2017

From the OU – Entenmann’s

 

Most of the product line manufactured under the brand Entenmann’s/Bimbo Bakeries is certified O/UD (dairy).  A few items are not certified and do not bear the O/UD symbol.  Consumers should always check each item when purchasing to verify that there is a Kosher symbol on the product.  Just because some of that product line is certified, does not necessarily mean that every product made by that company has Kosher certification.  Some companies have more than one plant producing the same product.  Some plants may be certified and some may not.  It is for this reason that the Kashrus agencies urge the consumer to check labels for supervision.

 

From the Keystone-K

 

Please make sure to check your purchases for appropriate supervision even when shopping in the Kosher section of a store.   Customers may pick up a non-kosher item and inadvertently put it down in the kosher section.  In addition, sometimes employees who replace returned items put them back in the wrong place.  This is especially common with Passover items that look similar to year-round items.  This happens even when Mashgichim and management practice due diligence.  If you notice such an error at a store under our supervision please notify the Mashgiach in charge or a manager.  I would appreciate being notified at ck.rabbi.ne@gmail.com as well.

 

 

Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware

June 19, 2017

Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware

The major Kashrus Agencies take their responsibilities very seriously.  In fact one of the major agencies spent an entire year experimenting with two vegetables to determine the degree of infestation during various seasons of the year, as well as how the source location effected infestation.   Along with our sister agencies we alert the community of pertinent developments so that the Kosher consumer will be well informed.  It is very helpful to keep current regarding developments in Kashrus.  We will highlight a few of the issues that call for the attention of the consumer.

Please pay attention to labels even when shopping in an exclusively Kosher store or in the Kosher section of a supermarket.  Sometimes suppliers deliver an incorrect item, and on occasion employees place items in the wrong place.  Supervisions change or are dropped, and sometimes Parve items are reformulated and become Dairy.   Sometimes consumers mistakenly replace a non-kosher item on a kosher shelf.  This is especially prevalent with Pesach and non-Pesach items that look similar.   Even though Kashrus agencies try to prevent these mix-ups the consumer is the last line of defense.  Checking labels is very important.

Where you shop is also very important.  Many items that do not suffer from infestation – and need not be checked for insects – can be problematic if not stored properly.   Raisins, flour, cereal, beans and pasta are a few examples or products that require proper storage.  It is best to purchase these items at busy stores that have quick turnover.  Food establishments are always battling all kinds of infestation.  It is always best to select stores that appear to focus on cleanliness.  It is also best not to stock these items in your home for longer than necessary.

Produce from Israel has special halochos due to the sanctity of the Land of Israel.  We give instructions how to prepare Israeli produce in our Halocha section.  Please check labeling for the source of produce.  According to USA regulations the source of produce must be clearly marked or posted.

 

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The Dairy at Bala / Lettuce

August 20, 2017

The Dairy at Bala / Lettuce

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.

At this time iceberg lettuce in some parts of the country is heavily infested.  If you purchase pre-cleaned salads, please check that they carry a reliable supervision.   All Keystone-K establishments use exclusively cleaned and checked produce.

 

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 – Shoprite on the Blvd. (Northeast Philadelphia)

December 9, 2016

ShopRite’s “Kosher on the Blvd.” at 11000 Roosevelt Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19116 is under the supervision of the Keystone-K when bearing the Keystone-K symbol. The entire bakery is now Pas Yisroel including loose items and is under Keystone-K supervision*. Check signage and labels for Parve, Cholov Yisroel***, and Dairy status. Breads, rolls, and bagels are always Parve. Specialty “cake-breads”** may be Dairy. (Baked items in other areas of the store must be checked for supervision.) Items marked with other supervisions follow the policies of the certifying agency. If there is a question, please ask the Mashgiach for assistance.

  • Items baked on Shabbos or Yom Tov are marked with a plain K.  Those items follow all of our kashrus standards and are Pas Yisroel, but were baked by non-Jews on Shabbos.  A Glow plug heater is used to keep the oven warm for the purpose of Pas Yisroel.
  • We do not certify Dairy breads and rolls.  “Cake-breads” are really types of cake, even if the word “bread” appears in the name of the product.  “Check “cake-breads” to see if they are Parve or Dairy.
  • Please check the sign for “Cholov Yisroel”.

Please make the effort to frequent those establishments that try to meet the needs of the kosher consumer.  It accordance with the importance of Hakaras Hatov (appreciation) it is appropriate to express our appreciation to those establishments that make the effort to meet the needs of the kosher consumer.

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 some companies were adding coloring to the flesh in order to make other types of fish appear to be salmon.  Many 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.

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. 

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

Contact

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