This DansDeals Forums thread has been busy discussing the recent news of a Kosher certified Chinese Restaurant that apparently served non kosher food.
The OK sent me this statement regarding the kosher scandal at Kosher Chinese Express in Manalapan, NJ:
Are these situations inevitable when you’re eating out? Is it just a problem when a restaurant is owned by a non-Jew?
I remember winning a free lunch at Peking Chinese in Cleveland from my 4th grade rebbi after winning a mishnayis baal peh competition in 1994. The restaurant was located across the street from Rabbi Dessler’s Hebrew Academy of Cleveland.
A non-religious Jew had sold the restaurant a couple years earlier to a religious Jew in the community, which is when everyone in the community began to eat there.
A week after the lunch that my Rebbi took me to receive, came word that they were serving treif food. I felt angry and sick over it for a very long time.
?זו תורה וזו שכרה
The owner never asked forgiveness from the community, but in time I forgave him. Financial troubles can make people do awful things.
Of course it’s not just restaurants.
In Monsey in 2006 and in Los Angeles in 2013 stores owned by religious Jews were caught selling raw non-kosher meat as well, despite having top-notch hechsherim and mashgichim in place. The largest kosher caterer in South Africa was caught serving non-kosher food in 2018.
Fraud happens in every industry, but it’s especially painful with kosher food. Can that fraud be fully stamped out or will that just drive the price of kosher food too high to be affordable by anyone?
Is the next kosher scandal already in process? What are your ideas to avoid fraud in the kosher food industry?
A DansDeals forum member who runs a Nationally recognized kosher agency reached out this week about doing an interview about Kashrus and what is done to prevent these situations. What questions would you like answered?
Can he be sued for this?
You can sue the business, but it’s already out of business so you won’t collect anything. They will just declare bankruptcy.
I’m not sure if you can sue him personally, but odds are that he would just declare bankruptcy as well. Suing individuals is rarely worthwhile, though there are exceptions of course.
Question is if the OK can be sued.
I don’t see what they did wrong. They certainly don’t appear to have been negligent in their standards or protocals.
This type of fraud literally could have happened with any hashgocha in the world and would be nearly impossible to detect.
I don’t think it’s accurate to lump in all 3 above mentioned cases. Each one had different problems and who to blame.
Regarding Manalapan, the writing was on the wall years ago. People intimately familiar were already suspicious. And sadly the OK turned a blind eye.
You have a source you want to share?
Or just spreading anonymous (mis)information, that anyone can make up.
The video caught the traif transaction. Mashgichim are supposed to be the real life video, or review the footage each night. It’s what pay them for. Like a doorman in a building or a security guard. If something happens and they weren’t there it’s on them
Did the video catch it?
It seems that (Eton G) misunderstood what the letter stated regarding a video. The video was of the owner in a different store (presumably a grocery, or the ike) buying non-kosher meat in bulk. Obviously, you don’t think that the Mashgichim are suppose to follow the owner around.
Don’t they have other locations? They’re not out of business.
Kosher location is out of business.
This can be the case. But it is also possible that he had insurance that could cover fraud. Another issue is damages. How do you put a price on having eaten treif? The cost of new kelim could be defined, but it is unlikely to be enough to justify the expense and headache of a lawsuit.
It is possible that the OK could sue him based on his fraudulent use of their hashgacha. They could claim damage to their reputation, though they also would have to quantify the damages. This might fall under the standard terms of the general liability policy (specifically, coverage B – which is called “personal & advertising injury”) which he would/should have had as a business owner.
His business closed down. I doubt there’s more than 5k left to that LLC
Bankruptcy doesnt shield fraud done in a corporation, however you are very unlikely to win much in a lawsuit for kosher/non kosher. similar to the ny state kosher laws when finkel violated them they decided not to pusue the fines as they amounted to like 200 dollars
Where’d you get the number “5k” from?
Oleh Chadash has a point of collecting from insurance. Got to talk to class action lawyers. We may get $0.59 but the lawyers would collect. May be a deterrent
First and foremost, main question would be, why would a non jew be able to get a Hashgucha in the first place? A non jew has a חזקת טריפות how can you trust them?
The protocols are that the non-Jewish owner would not be allowed to have keys to the restaurant or kitchen and the mashgiach would need to be there at all times.
A regional supervisor also checks in on the mashgiach and there are cameras as well.
The problem here is when an owner wants to sneak in small amounts of product in his pocket, how do you stop that? It’s certainly a problem that needs a lot of thought.
I would like for restaurants owned by non-Jews to have that publicly shown (on the front door or in a conspicuous place, near the hechsher)
Each individual can then make their own decision as to whether they’d like to eat there or not.
Would that be a possibility? – that’s a question I’d like answered.
Yes. I think it’s YOUR responsibly to research each restaurant owner, Mashgiach and each Hechsher’s protocols before deciding to eat there.
Check out this very informative write up by Rabbi Zibbel from Rabbinate of Central Florida.
Right, the mashgiach is the one who has the keys, but once the store is open and the mashgiach walks away or does other stuff the non jew can essentially do whatever he wants, just as easy happened here, this shows you can’t trust them period, no matter many protocols were used and implemented, after all the owner of the store wants to make money and save a buck here and there and non kosher meat is much cheaper so why wouldn’t he do it when he sees that he had that opportunity?
From all the cases listed above, it’s obvious that it’s not only non-Jews who have been guilty of such a nefarious act – frum Jews are guilty too.
The policy is that he can’t have the key but it’s not that complicated for him to get a key & he obviously didn’t care abt the policy
Doesn’t matter if he cared or not, what matters are the facts. And the investigation concluded that he did not have the keys.
You can say all you want and you can even try to do your own investigation, let us know how it goes.
How much did the owner gain? If he was doing a few packages a day he saved what $5-20 a day. Hardly worth the effort.
How often did he go in and out? As often as he wanted I suppose.
Non kosher chicken is way cheaper a couple packages of chicken breast a day can be way more then 5-20$
TBH – this whole commercialization hagocha thing is all politics. Historically people bought food from someone they trusted as having yiras shamayim, that was it. If a Jew is g-d fearing, he will do what’s right, not what’s beneficial for him financially.
With the commercialization of food processing and manufacturing, came the need for more centralized oversight, so not sure why kashrus agencies are not considered business owners and do gain financially, they too are incentivized by financial gain.
Today kahsrus agencies are known for their “vaad”, and most independent rav Hamachshirim are not “trusted” because there’s only one person. We’ll I say no, a rav hamachshir that has yiras Shomayim and knows the owner to be a g-d fearing jew, that’s what we need, like it says in Tanya.
With these vaad kashrus agencies, if everyone is accountable, no one is accountable. Someone singular that has yiras shomayim will make sure they don’t have the achrayus of someone eating non-kosher and will take every step to ensure that.
so I recommend to do away with these behemoth commercial kashrus agencies, go with the local rav who knows the halachos and is trusted as yiras shamayim, and he will then vouch for the Jewish owner of an establishment as being yiras shamayim and trust worthy, the owner should be completely transparent for anyone who wants to question their process or their kashrus standards, then you should make a decision whether to buy their food or eat from their establishment/s.
Do away with these owners who are non-Jewish or Jewish but don’t keep kosher in their own home, and Jews who are not trustworthy as g-d fearing. Unfortunately the financial incentive is greater for these individuals that they can never be trusted. If they want to circumvent the rules in place by these “akko” member hashgochas, they will find a way.
If there’s a Mirsas
Like it says in S”A about Cholov Yisroel that because the Goy is scared the Yod might stand up and catch him we can assume it’s all kosher.
The question is if that works. (Here it clearly didn’t)
This has completely nothing at all to do with heter of pri chodosh by cholov yisrael milk. A goy cannot be left with meat alone if he is the owner or not and therefore mashgiach temidi is necessary and the non jewish owner was not allowed to have have keys to his own restaurant. He snuck nevelos past the mashgiach.
Did you read the letter? He didn’t have keys and of course you need a Mashgiach Tmidi, no one said otherwise.
He asked how can you trust a Goy if he has a Chezkas Triefus so I’m saying There’s a concept of Mirsas (in addition to all the other protocols, obviously). Not talking about the Pri Chodosh or anything. Shulchan Aruch itself introduces the concept of Mirsas (when the Yid is right there, just not looking) when it talks about C”Y.
i dont believe for a second he didnt have the keys
No one really cares what you believe, we care about facts. (especially that you weren’t involved in the investigation.)
Im assuming you dont drink coke or eat from any mass manufactured brands of food
How did the food get into the restaurant and the Kosher supervision didn’t see it?
Are there cameras
its a scary job and responsibility but its what the OK is paid for. They need to figure out how it happen and they need to avoid it. as everything that happened is on their shoulders.
Unfortunately even with precautions like only the Mashgiach having the keys, it’s very hard or even impossible to stop an owner or employee from sneaking in small amounts at a time on their person or in small bags during operating hours. They not doing body searches…
That’s why in addition to the Hechsher and Mashgiach, one should research the owner of an establishment before eating there.
i dont believe for a second the owner didnt have the keys
Regardless of what your personal beliefs and how long you’d believe them its still in fact a policy shared across many Hashgachahs in cases of non Jewish owners and often times also with Jewish owners to require that only the Mashgiach have keys to the establishment.
Perhaps a different topic (or not), but I belive that bodek certified vegetables to be the next scam. 1. I’ve found bugs in bodek bags before. 2. Calling them, they said it’s not supposed to be 100% bug free 3. It’s a relatively new ” invention”, which is a waste of extra cost and lower quality taste.
No shychus dude
There is to me. Would love this info
In general, frozen produce that might have bugs aren’t a problem. But as always, AYLOR.
Nothing is 100% bug free, that’s for sure.
Says who? When not being pureed??
Like I said, AYLOR.
Says your local orthodox rabbi, if you ask him
If it usually dosen’t have bugs you don’t have to be חושש unles you find !3 bugs ‘עין יורה דיעה סי’ ק’ סעיף א
Why do you say “in general”? In my community the only heter is if it’s purred, don’t see how eating whole frozen bugs are allowed.
Also he’s probably talking about bodek fresh packaged produce. Hence I rarely buy the iceberg & never Romaine from them
I’ve also found bugs in “checked” lettuce, although definitely fewer than in other bags. But not worth my money when I still have to take the time to check.
Did you read “Yerushalmi” comments?
If it usually dosen’t have bugs you don’t have to be חושש unles you find !3 bugs ‘עין יורה דיעה סי’ ק’ סעיף א
I think time has proven again and again that you cannot simply rely on a hechsher.
You need to trust the owner.
Also, there should be open kitchens just like at Costco where you can see everything. It helps for hygiene as well.
Another idea is live cameras for the world to see. Just like the Kosel cam.
+1, all great ideas but likely not going to ever happen. Some have propriety recipes or methods etc, that they don’t want on display.
They do have an open kitchen there
How will you know what chicken they are using if it’s open kitchen?
Seems like the OK is trying to shift the blame here onto the owner. Of course it was the owner who brought in the treif food, and that is wrong, but it is the job of the Hashgacha and the Mashgichim to catch that. That’s one of the reasons that we have hashgachot and don’t rely on the owner.
And you can say that there is always room for fraud, but it seems like the fraud here wasn’t too complex. The owner clearly brought in the traif meat in the original packaging. Shouldn’t the mashgichim be checking that any products brought into the store are sealed from kosher suppliers?
I know it’s Elul and I’m not trying to bash anyone, but it seems to me that there is too much complacency and bad-policy (such as having mashgichim be employed by the restaurant) in many operations, and the consumers are left paying a higher price for the food AND eating traif. At the very lease, the OK should kasher the dishes and kitchens of anyone who purchased their food during the previous 6 months.
The owner didn’t bring it in the packaging into the restaurant. It seems like the owner avoided the mashgiach’s protocols by sneaking small portions of food into the restaurant, perhaps in his pockets, multiple times per day. He started doing this with the shortages in March, and when he wasn’t caught, continued to do so to save money until he was caught last week.
I’m not sure how that can be prevented or what the lessons that can be learned from this type of fraud, but I’m curious to hear suggestions.
The OK is fully responsible for this, as they are who we trust, or supposed to at least. I’ve been there with the mashgiach sitting at the table, reading, eating or whatever he was doing, but it all boils down to the OK no matter how you cut it. To prevent sneaking in, they should keep the refrigerator locked so only the mashgiach can supervise what goes in or out.
I didn’t say they aren’t responsible, but that this is a very tough type of fraud to stamp out.
It seems like the food never entered the fridge, so locking the fridge didn’t help stop this.
The onus belongs with the restaurant owner completely. He intentionally deceived his kosher clientele and the mashgiach. If he couldn’t afford kosher chicken during the shortage, he should have given up his kashrut supervision and made the restaurant openly traif, communicating this to the Jewish community.. That would have been the honest and most logical thing to do. The owner was fraudulent and deceitful in his blatant violation of kashrut and should be sued personally by way of a class action suit.
I don’t know if this rises to the level of white collar crime for stealing from customers, but if victims have credit card bills with charges to this place, a lawsuit should be filed, as well as criminal charges.
Breach of contract isn’t a crime. And religious violations aren’t either.
Fruad is a crime.
Feel free to ask any first year law school student.
it’s a civil matter, not a criminal matter.
False advertising never gets someone to sit behind bars.
Bank fraud is a crime
That story doesn’t line up. It’s all about risk/reward, and the savings from bringing in a few pieces of treif chicken per day pale in comparison to the costs of being caught and shut down. My suspicion is that this was being conducted on a larger scale than that.
And if the story is true, one possible solution is to either prevent (or escort) from the food preparation area anyone who has financial incentive to bring in treif foods. But again, any quantity of treif food that can be concealed on a person is negligible and not worth the risk.
Another idea might be to offer a generous payment to any worker who brings proof of kashrus fraud.
He didn’t start it for money, he started it because he couldn’t buy enough chicken during the March shortages.
But once you start, you get greedy. He probably had very slim margins and high volume with his low price model. If you can pad 5% extra product at 1/4 of the price, that’s a nice boost to the bottom line.
And when you start doing fraud, you forget about the risks. Just ask anyone who has ever committed fraud.
That’s not a bad suggestion to bar them from the kitchen. But would it only apply to non-frum/non-Jewish owners? What happens if they are the chef as is the case in several places?
Financial incentives won’t really work. It’s a bigger incentive to stay employed. If the incentive was big enough, it might even cause them to plot to bring non-kosher food in for a payday.
I don’t agree on a few points.
1) If the product was hard to find, then bringing in 1-2lbs of chicken in order to make a few more dishes wouldn’t be worth the risk.
2) I don’t think that any person can smuggle in 5% of the total chicken output. I’m assuming that a person can smuggle in 2lbs of chicken maximum while looking inconspicuous, and while I’ve never worked at a restaurant, I also assume that a popular Chinese restaurant uses much more than 40lbs of chicken per day. I’d be surprised if a person can smuggle in more than 1-2% of the total output, which again, wouldn’t be worth the risk (especially since treif chicken isn’t 1/4 the price of kosher, it’s around 1/2 from what I’ve seen).
I do agree though that fraud can spiral out of control, but it would need to have started at higher numbers for it to make any sense.
Regarding the kashrus suggestions,
1) I would keep every owner out of the kitchen–Jewish, gentile, frum, doesn’t matter. We’ve all seen cases of allegedly frum yidden selling treif, and I’m sure that there are many gentiles who are very respectful of the kashrus rules.
2) A chef-owner is a tricky situation. My best solution would be some sort of check before entering the kitchen. This is of course problematic if the owner also employs the mashgiach, and more reason for the mashgiach to be an independent employee of the hasgacha.
3) I considered that financial incentives may cause a conspiracy to introduce treif into the restaurant. But I think that with proper rules, guidelines and warnings, that can be largely avoided.
Why can’t he make several trips back and forth, each time with a few pounds in his pockets? That would easily be 5%.
Owner/chef situations like Street Kitchen in Miami, has a non-Jewish owner who is the chef. I’m sure there are many more places like this. Like you say, it’s very tricky.
Can dans deals compile a list of non Jewish owned restaurants? Perhaps we can then choose if we want to eat there or not.
“He didn’t start it for money, he started it because he couldn’t buy enough chicken during the March shortages”
Dan, that’s what the owner is claiming. Obviously.
I think he lost his trust already, this was probably just an excuse. Could have been happening for years.
Why lie about when it started? He’s never going to have a kosher restaurant again either way.
And it’s logical that it started then. People on DDF even speculated that before this letter.
DDF speculation doesnt make it a fact
Hence the word speculation
Dan, cmon , The OK dropped ball here huge big time. U really think it was “small quantities “, like this china guy had small freezer in his truck and snuck in two chickens at a time and was doing this for way more than he admitted to . Where are the receipts from this food depot place ? How much chicken and meat did this guy buy from them ? this guy was bringing in tarfus for months and maybe years and the mashgichim failed to pick up on it.They most likely never would have if this guy didn’t take this video and send it to the OK . This was an epic failure by OK and they can no longer be trusted with their current protocols .ZERO APOLOGY by the OK and they blamed everything on the Chinese guy that never should have been trusted with a plastic spoon . OK nor More OK
u can’t bring chicken in your pockets to make it worthwhile to risk losing your business , he knew the mashgichim were sleeping at the wheel and he took advantage of that . I know your CHABAD and I know so is the OK and we still love you and always will but lets call a spade a spade. We would all be just as livid if it was any other hashgacha .
He did it due to the shortage, not to make more money.
But once you start down the path…
its a good excuse now. everyone raised prices inflation etc this doesnt add up
Does it make you feel better to blame an entire sect of Judaism? Yes, the OK is run by Lubavitcher Chassidim, what difference does it make? If you care about your spiritual life, i would highly consider not eating at Kosher restaurants. Are they kosher? Most definitely! But you seem to “care” so much about eating kosher you are willing to throw a huge part of your brothers and sisters (if you are Jewish?) under the bus so you can feel good about eating at restaurants. If you care don’t eat at restaurants, this could have easily happened or is happening with other agencies as well. There’s no mitzvah to eat at restaurants, your neshama would be fine if you didn’t indulge in these permitted cravings. “Just because it’s allowed doesn’t mean you need to”
I for one don’t trust certain hashgochas due to their lack of credibility and lack of Yiras Shomayim, even though only individuals led to my ceasing of trust. But i certainly know there are great people in the sect of Judaism to which that hechsher is ran by. This ain’t identity politics mister.
And people wld still respond that it doesn’t mean that hashgacha is over or categorically bad
These type of stories have unfortunately happened in various cities with different Hashgachahs from different communities.
It doesn’t have all that much to do with who runs a Hashgachah. It’s how good it’s run and even then it’s still not fool proof.
Here’s what I don’t understand: if the owner was takeh bringing the chicken and meat in in such small quantities that he was able to hide it in his pockets or his shirt or whatever (and that Mashgichim didn’t notice there was more chicken around than could be accounted for), how much could he have possibly saved from this whole scheme? I mean, was he walking back and forth from the parking lot all day with chicken in his pockets?
Perhaps there can some sort of large amount placed in escrow by restaurant owners in case something like this happens. Or some other punitive measure agreed upon in advance if their trust is broken.
Unless all agencies agreed to an escrow, they would just use one that didn’t require one.
Wouldn’t that make the hechsher requiring an escrow more reliable, which would result more business?
What owner is going to fork over say $100,000 for a hope of more business when another place doesn’t require it?
i dont believe for a second he didnt have the keys
small amounts in his pockets? are you really buying that? the picture isnt one case. its multiple cases
it seems OK has a serious problem on their hands
Can you explain what policy of any agency would have prevented this? This could have happened to any hechsher!
(Besides for not allowing non Jewish owned restaurants period. Which obviously isn’t foolproof either)
So every time someone ordered nuggets he would go out run to the closest friend refrigerator come back with busting pockets and start cooking, repeat this marathon several times for a family order, just imagine what a busy day looked like, if that didn’t raise the mashgiachs eyebrow what would?! Don’t fool yourself! You know better. Besides the ok stated that the boxes were found in the plaza dumpster and wasn’t coming from other businesses there.
You think a person like this is really worried if the chicken is refrigerated at all
It could of been a window. It’s all speculation as it wasn’t disclosed the method.
The Gemarah already gives us the solution;
The cuts of the meat.
The Mashgiach should be the one to cut the meat and apply a telltale sign only recognizable to him each piece he cuts, it can be a tiny random cut or something like that, but he can then inspect the trays of raw meat/chicken at random and see if any don’t have that little mark. The owners would have no clue and would be kept under wraps.
I have heard that one hechsher in Florida does something similar to this.
The first lesson is that you can’t trust to eat in a restaurant that is owned by a non Jewish owner
Except that 9 out of 10 times these stories happen with Jewish and frum owners.
(btw, only 5% of kosher restaurants are owned by non-jews and yet, MOST cases of “real-non kosher” being served were non jewish owned, as per a veteran mashgiach that i asked. obviously, many jewish owned were caught with infractions – from non-glatt to not kashering properly, but the numbers are the opposite of your claim)
There is a group in Monsey, I think they call themselves the חברה מבקשי הכשרות, where there are demands set up by the consumer base, and they set up the standards and what they demand as consumers. Everything is run by a prominent rav. I think there’s a small monthly fee to pay, but they send out notifications whenever there are any shailos, such as bad batch of lettuce etc. They also have guidance on how to wash and clean fruits and vegetables. Granted, this group is extreme, but it’s after stories like these when people, especially those who unfortunately fell prey to the scheme, get an התעוררות, and it’s important that we don’t let it cool down before we put anything into action.
It’s very sad. Your statement above of “זו תורה וזו שכרה” had tears welling up in my eyes.
I personally was likely also a victim to the Monsey scheme. I has a very hard time overcoming it, and frankly, I never really did or should have.
That Monsey organization you mentioned are a group of rabble rousers who know nothing about kashrus.
It’s people who call others “rabble rousers” for taking a more serious look at kashrus who tend to fall into such treif schemes, even more than the so-called “rabble rousers” themselves.
The only way is to have a strict bal machshire and eyes should be installed, there’re a few hashguchas who has it like Meshilem Polatchek and few other
Invoice matching down to the OUNCE and each hechsher maje it mandatory that meat be bought only from 1 of 2 or 3 approved wholesalers so that it can easily be traced back
How would that have helped in this case?
The kosher inventory all matched up, but the owner sneaks in small amounts in his pockets and adds it to the pile of chicken to be breaded while the mashgiach isn’t watching the pile.
How do you stop that?
Can they match up what is bought to what ends up getting sold?
If it’s a significant amount, sure. If it’s someone just padding his margins here and there, that would be very tough.
Mashgiach Tmiedi and Constant video surveillance of the complete store and surrounding “Eiyin Ro’eh… …Vichol masechoh biseifer nichtovim.
Absolutely!!!! It is simple to know down to the ounce how much meat or chicken is required per portion, you then multiply by number of portions sold/made.
The amounts he was bringing in (even though small each time) eventually added up to a large quantity, otherwise it would not be financialy worthwhile for the owner to even do this in the first place, as you see in the pics and the story it was CASES worth so magucally his kosher chicken/meat was like ner chanukkah and lasted 8 nights.
How do you account for spoilage?
I’m actually disappointed on the OK on why they don’t address in this letter on what will change on their end so this does not happen again in the future
+1 They don’t take responsibility…. Can’t trust anyone like that.
I think it’s a very tough question that will require a lot of thought.
When it comes to a Monsey type scandal, there are protocols that can be used to avoid a wholesale fraud like that.
But how do you stop something like this?
By having only the mashgiach and no one else bring out the food during all prep work, and having him stand there throughout that work.
Doesn’t that work happen throughout the day?
Dan, you keep repeating over and over that perhaps he smuggled chicken in his pockets, which is bizarre. Do you have any idea how much chicken a restaurant is going through daily? HUNDREDS of pounds. Ask the OK. Your theory just doesn’t make sense. Also, how does the OK know it REALLY started in March? Because the owner said so?
Nobody is saying all the chicken was treif. They received kosher supplies, which the owner supplemented in small amounts with cheaper trief chicken to get by the mashgiach.
Why should the owner lie about when this started? The shortage is a logical point, but what difference is there if it started 6 months ago or 6 years ago once he’s been busted?
I never said all the chicken was treif. But small amounts won’t make or break a restaurant.
Are you seriously asking what the difference if it started 6 months or 6 years?!?! The difference is HUGE, because a psak was issued that folks must kasher their utensils for the past 6 months- but the 6 month timeframe is based on the OWNER’s say-so. He’s already a liar. You want to take him at his word about this?
Additionally, where’s the apology from the OK? The letter doesn’t have one word of remorse.
Obviously the difference to consumers is huge.
But what’s the difference to guy once he’s admitting guilt if he did it for 6 months or 6 years? Either way he’s never owning another kosher restaurant and he knows that.
My read is that it seems like OK’s lawyers don’t want them admitting to guilt in this letter.
Goy dosnt have miggoy (no pun intended), he is only believed if he is masiach lfi tumo
Why can’t it have been said ML”T? He was busted anyway.
MLT is only if he was not directly asked.
If directly asked he loses his MLT and is not believed with a Miggoy.
Typical example of MLT would be if someone overheard a goy saying in course of a regular conversation that he killed a certain yid or saw him being killed.
Even if he’s not another kosher restaurant… no one admits total guilt even when admitting guilt saying it only happened for 6 months due to a shortage sound a lot better then 6 years for the money … so it’s easier for him to look the OK in the eye and tell them his sob story
They literally quoted the posek who ruled the 6 months thing and that’s the Daas Torah that they’re suggesting people follow. You don’t have to agree with him, but that’s not their fault.
What did you want them to do? Not ask a Posek?
Didn’t have to literally be in his pockets, why couldn’t he bring it in a bag from his car through the back door or something whenever the Mashgiach went to the bathroom or to check some broccoli? Takes a few seconds to empty the bag in the bins and then it can easily go unoticed… They all speak Chinese and can talk as loud as they want without the Mashgiach understanding what’s flying…
I think it would help everyone if the kosher supplier showed how many cases were delivered to this establishment in the past month or so.
An age old rule for mashgichim is to always check the dumpsters from time to time. The fact that they only checked after the new broke tells the story. The OK kashrus agency didn’t do enough. I have eaten here multiple times and I’m sick to my stomach thinking I may have eaten treif.
Checking dumpsters makes sense, but is checking shared communal dumpsters and investigating the meat used by each store in that community regular protocol?
Perhaps it should be, but is it by any hashgacha?
It’s time for all hashgochas to fund an independent investigative body, they should send in fake treif wholesalers and try convincing the owner to take his meat, see his reaction, if he says he only takes kosher he can suggest he can get it with kosher labels for extra small fee. “Everyone does it”.. try tricking owners and see how they react.
Same goes for other type of spot checks. Check on Mashgiach, check on waiters etc.
If they come up with a few busts (c”v) it would shake the kashrus world and have the stores worried to do everything right because they may be next…
You know what all those scandals have in common with the Walder scandal and other similar shocking scandals? No yiras shamayim / fear of G-d; no regard for basic halacha. If any of those scandal-ridden people had basic fear of G-d and adhered to basic ethical and halachic guidelines, their scandals would never be scandals. Easier said than done, but that is the root problem. I would like to note that anyone who claims to be a religious Jew and intentionally goes against the Torah is by definition not a religious Jew, just a counterfeit. If you saw a guy wearing a kippah, eating pork and lobster while watching television and driving his car on Shabbos (all at once!), you wouldn’t say “What a chilul H” and what a disgraced religious Jew!” You would say: “that’s odd, why does that non-religious Jew (or non-Jew) have a kippah on his head? He must not know what a kippah is!”
Anyway, I would be interested to see if the owner apologizes to the community. Since he is not Jewish he probably has no idea how incredibly devastating it is what he did, to people’s spiritual, psychological, and emotional well-being and to their trust in basic Kashrus, kashrus agencies, and the kosher-serving industry. He probably thinks it’s like cheating a little on his taxes; that as long as nobody notices it’s not a big deal in small amounts. He probably feels like he just gave them a different brand or quality of the same product and does not realize the gravity and magnitude of feeding non-kosher food to Jews.
If Kosher agencies decide to give certification to restaurants or cafes run by non-Jews or non-observant Jews, I think they should be required to complete some basic sensitivity training which would help them understand how devastating it is to the Jewish community when they break that trust and deceive people to eat non-kosher food, and that it’s not just a matter of giving someone a different quality product than they paid for. If, after receiving that training, the owner seems indifferent to the seriousness, they should not be certified.
My father-in-law told me about a bakery in France which sells kosher baguettes but all the sandwiches and other store items are totally not kosher. A non-observant Jew tried to buy non kosher food in the bakery and the owner refused to sell it. She said, this is not kosher, and you are Jewish, I can’t sell this to you. The guy was so angry that he stormed out but she refused to sell it to him. I was in a different store in France with my brother-in-law and the manager questioned whether he could buy something since she believed it was not kosher. In fact it was on the kosher list but just not in her kosher section so she was not aware, but she did tell him he should not be buying the non-kosher products. People like this do exist and we should support them and get rid of the corrupt people who do not care about our values and want to just profit off of us at all costs.
The problem is that most of these scandals were done by frum Jews. So how do you weed them out?
That’s my point. They were not frum Jews, they were counterfeit. People who really know these people know if they are yiras shamayim or not. How about lots of reference checks to begin with?
That’s tough. I know in CLE it was a heimishe yid from a family that everyone trusted.
How can you weed out someone like that? In the CLE case he should have been caught because he bounced checks to the local butchers and they all cut him off, but nobody communicated. But hashgochas have learned from that incident.
Can’t weed them out. People don’t just change the appearance if they stop believing in Hashem r’l.
They have too much to loose. It’s not worth it.
You can never know.
Hats and peyos mean absolutely nothing.
Those scandals we’re done in times when the Frum ownera we’re typically trusted as the Mashgiach Tmidi by most National Hechsherim, with periodic spot checks. Now that’s unthinkable and therefore can’t happen in that way anymore.
Besides for the fact that the vast vast majority of food establishments that national hechsherim certify are Jewish owned, so again not a fair comparison.
again, Dan, you are mixing up scandals of different proportions treif and non-chalav yisroel are very different
also, a “frum jew” who serves treif is not frum. maybe he WAS frum… as a popular rav says, if you wont eat in his house, dont buy in his store!
yes there re exceptions, like monsey, but most of the time, everyone knows that the guy isnt really that “frum” (like the pizza shop owner who is waiting in front of his store when ur on your way to maariv after shabbos and u wonder if he ever goes to shul… or the guy u see on social media in places a frum person would never be…)
And how do you know who is frum and who is FINO until they’re busted?
Cleveland and Monsey were both heimishe seemingly frum Jews, as were others. Not mixing up anything.
How can it be small amounts, if boxes were found in dumpster. Are we really letting the OK slide on this?
I doubt the boxes ever made it into the store, as that likely would have been noticed by the Mashgiach. They probably kept the boxes in their car or something, and brought small amounts in every time the Mashgiach went to the bathroom, takes 10 seconds to open the back door and bring in a bag…
You keep on saying that was only small portions,
But in letter from ok says also about a video of the owner buying in bulk a week before…
He should’ve been banned right there
He was caught last Thursday buying non-kosher in bulk and was closed down. He told the OK that it was for his family’s non-kosher restaurant and I believe he was was allowed to open on Friday, under additional security measures.
On Sunday he closed for good when the OK investigated and found non-kosher boxes in the communal dumpster that didn’t belong to any other restaurant there.
Later, the owner admitted to the OK how he did the fraud, by bringing in small amounts and sneaking it past the mashgiach.
I highly doubt it was small amounts. The guy isn’t going to keep chicken in a hot car for hours at a time and take small bags in his pocket. He prob waited until mashgiach was on break and dumped the full box into plastic containers.
If going on a while mashgiach should have noticed that the bin is magically full. I believe the mashgichim that are in restaurants are typically entry level and not as experiences and savvy as the ones that are sent to plants or factories.
He could of had help from other workers and pass it through a window. The trash method is also not foolproof as he can take the trash elsewhere.
You missed a key sentence in the OK statement “It was determined that those products were not brought into the restaurant”
Meaning the boxes in the video never made it into the restaurant. A Goy is not allowed to buy Trief checken?
Buying in bulk certainly raises questions.
Right, which is why they said they shut down the restaurant until they verified that those boxes didn’t enter the restaurant.
Not sure if the rumors that he owned a Trief restaurant as well is true or not, that might also make a difference
Where’s the apology!? I’m sorry but we trust the kashrut agency. Whether or not they are responsible for a slip or not, they do themselves no good by not apologizing. The lack of empathy in these letters is disturbing.
I hear you, but that’s certainly their lawyers fault…
And I hear what you’re saying, but they are a religious organization and I ate from that store 1 month ago because of their hechsher. If they want to salvage their credibility maybe they should hire a PR team besides their lawyers Or one who specializes in damage control. Otherwise I’m not sure I will eat in another OK supervised restaurant.
Horrible horrible story. If the OK hires a PR team to get them out of this pile of poo-poo platter then most people would never trust them again. They need to come clean and show what they’re implementing to make sure this never happens again
So it boils down to money.
The bottom line for almost ALL these scandals is that kosher meat is so much more expensive then non-kosher hence the temptation by owners to replace the kosher meat with non kosher (frum, non yet frum, non Jewish etc.. makes no difference).
If we could bring down the cost of kosher meat to within 5-10% of non-kosher, we wouldn’t have these issues.
Better yet let’s make it free
I understand your cynicism, but this is the root of the problem. There are supposedly 10 million kosher consumers in the US. There must be a way to bring down the prices of kosher meat. I understand that shochtim, mashgichim etc..the whole kashering process adds a lot to the expenses, but 80% -100% more then non kosher??
Question for him: why isn’t technology used more including mandatory live monitoring? And should an establishment owned by non Jew/non religious need a mashgiach temidi ?
I’m not saying these will stop such stories but they seem to be common sense
Who said there wasn’t?
Unless you’re suggesting they should hire a full team to constantly watch all the cameras in every resturaunt, (which will probably double the cost of the kosher food), it only takes a few seconds to sneak something in the back door so if there’s no one constantly watching the cameras not sure it’ll help much.
There’s many companies doing that for construction sites. Just the fear knowing the cameras are monitored will help + the costs are not super high as one person can watch many cameras
1. then you’re back to square one- you’re trusting a Goy to watch the cameras for you.
2. Even if each restaurant has just 4 or 5 cameras, multiply that by the hundreds of Restaurants any given Hechsher certifies…
I’m not saying it’s not possible but defiantly not as simple as you’re making it to be
A concealed item can’t be easily seen by someone watching multiple cameras. It can be noticed by someone studying one zoomed in screen.
To me, the fundamental question that should be asked (and apologies if it was asked earlier in the discussion) is how he was able to sneak in non-kosher chickens and how will the OK (and perhaps other organizations) going to change their protocols to prevent this from happening again.
That’s the million dollar question, and unfortunately it doesn’t seem like there’s a simple answer. But I’m sure all the big agencies will be discussing how to prevent such things going forward…
Being a mashgiach in a restaurant isn’t a prestigious job. The job boils down to checking the eggs and greens and verifying lists of inventory. Investigating or being super vigilant is above the pay grade and capacity of mashgichim who are often young or people unable to find better paying jobs…
In addition, their salary comes from the restaurant, not from the certifying agency and that is just scandalous.
When it becomes known that a group of researchers are paid by the pharmaceutical company whose products they recommend, everyone knows to be skeptical. Why is this any different…?
At some point, the status quo has got to be scrapped and the whole system reimagined
we need Kashrus reform. ASAP. How much longer are we as a community going to standby and witness this time and time again. L’havdil, this is the complacency that the dems protest against after school shootings – initial shock soon melts away. Hopefully there are real meaningful reforms put in place but I for one am not optimistic. Business interests are opposed and the consumer unfortunately is not truly motivated beyond posting on social media. And I am including myself in that category.
Can always trust someone to bring in politics.
Can always trust someone to miss the point of an analogy
When someone is caught and then forced into a position where they must admit to what they did wrong, they will most likely admit the least possible, just enough to satisfy the public with a complete story. Who knows what and for how long really went on.
Not with a Goy that non of us will ever see or hear from again, and not if he knows there’s no difference and no consequence. Meaning even if he admitted to doing it for 8 years (like the Monsey scandal), it’s not like he would suffer more as a result. He closed down regardless…
(and he clearly doesn’t appreciate the value and sensitivity of kosher, and probably looked at it like cheating a bit on your taxes as mentioned above.)
The ok release says “empty boxes of non kosher meat” were found in the dumpster. Unless the guy was saving his months worth of recycling it was Prbly that’s weeks worth non kosher!! That’s a lot!!! He wasn’t sneaking it in his pockets.
When they say small amounts, it means relative to the amount being normally imported. If the got 10 cases of chicken per week, sneaking in a one case of in a soy sauce box would be considered small amount…..
Is solvency a pre-requisite for Hasgacha? Perhaps it should be. Would successful businesses be tempted to sell non-kosher food? Perhaps but if they are earning money then they have a lot to lose.
Iirc the owner charged the meat to his business credit card. Is a review of bank statements and credit card statements part of hashgacha?
If it’s true that he started when there was chicken shortage… chances are he couldn’t get any chicken from anywhere… so unless he carried stock for a while. 100% of chicken bought during the shortage was treif. That’s a large amount to sneak last the Mashgiachim. Sounds like they were sleeping
Places were being shorted, but they still received product.
Very easy to verify, hard to believe when most other restaurants were completely out he was able to get enough to cover and not have to bring in bulk. The would need to investigate those specific days input vs output. Not something the day that have done
While the repost of the OK statement is appreciated, the rest of the article is misinformed, misleading, and making wild assumptions and connections that aren’t there.
Better to ask actual rabbonim and kashrus EXPERTS – commercial kashrus experts – instead of publishing inflammatory pieces.
Please specify which parts of the article are incorrect.
I’d like to note two seemingly glaring inconsistencies in the OK statement:
1. Today the OK is testifying that the owner decided to close shop “days later”, but in the initial letter (on Monday) his closing was already addressed.
2. Today’s letter insinuates that the boxes found (“days later”) in the dumpster, were used by the owner of this store. Here’s my question: If as they claim he had no key to the store, and the store (we know) is closed since Monday, then how could he have ?
Absent clarification this smells like a cover up of the truth.
1. The initial letter didn’t say he was never reopening.
2. I don’t follow. The boxes were used by the owner before they closed and were still in the dumpster afterwards.
1. Whether it said it was a permanent decision or not (it didn’t — nor did it say it wasn’t), is besides the point. It wasn’t open since.
2. If they were able to determine that the boxes seem in the video weren’t brought to the store — that would necessarily mean that they checked the dumpsters then and there on Monday. Clearly these ‘other’ boxes weren’t present at the time, or else they’d be found then, and not only “days later”.
Something fishy – or should I say, CHICKENY – is clearly going on here.
Your questions don’t make much sense.
1. The video surfaced on Thursday, the OK says they right away closed the restaurant temporarily until they verified those boxes didn’t enter the store.. Then a few days later after discovering the boxes they closed it permanently.
2. He clearly smuggled it in while the store was open and hence didn’t need keys.
What’s so confusing?
They should implement month to month certification re-evaluations with non-Jewish owned restaurants. And take some sort of deposit. These crooks will never get greedy like that. It may also help to change up the Mashgiach temidis so the smart Chinese don’t get to know the mashgiach inside and out like they know their own kids.
The vast majority of these scandals happen with frum owners, so how does that help?
Deposits would only work if every kashrus agency agreed to a standard, otherwise a restaurant will go with an agency that doesn’t require a deposit.
Switching up mashgichim is a good idea.
It still doesn’t sound right to me. If the owner only brought in “small amounts”, “in his pockets”, how much could his margin have been improved overall? Even if it’s a tiny restaurant that only serves 20 lb or chicken a day, if he brought in a pound a day in his pockets, the other 19 pounds were still purchased at the regular high prices.
Cost of 20 pounds kosher chicken breast = 20 x 8.99 = ~$180
Cost of 19 pounds kosher chicken breast = 19 x 8.99 + 1 pount non-kosher chicken breast at 3.99 = ~$175
So he saved 5 bucks. Big deal.
And he’s probably using more than 20 pounds a day, more like 100 pounds or more.
The whole story doesn’t sound kosher to me.
It doesn’t say “in his pockets” in the letter.
The mashgiach is not a military sentry and is not expected to be. He is supposed to be around so you can’t back a truck in. If the owner brings in a box two three times a day, he won’t be caught. He knows when the guy is eating or in the bathroom.
He clearly didn’t bring in any boxes.
why dont they say they checked the cameras and can confirm no large quantities were brought in? no cases? etc
I’ve heard chatter/ speculation among some in kashrus of the possibility of the owner having had a seperate ghost kitchen (treif) to prepare and deliver some of the larger orders to shuls and events. He apparently did many deliveries personally so all he would need is access to tape to seal the pans, and all the locks and mashgiach temidim INSIDE the restaurant wouldn’t get in his way. The ability to produce and deliver hundreds of pounds of treif product would provide a far greater profit incentive than just sneaking in small quantities to his restaurant. Again just speculation as far as I am aware.
Yes I heard this too. He would use his non kosher restaurant for the catered events.
How he got the hashagacha tape is the question….
Hashgacha tape is a dime a dozen. I could walk into a restaurant and grab a roll and nobody would notice.
It’s not intended to do the job that it’s being asked to do.
Two things can be true at the same time,
A) The OK is ultimately responsible and should issue a formal apology as well as a plan of action of what will be done different in the future to prevent this.
Free koshering of kitchens is nice but not practical.
B) This could have happened under any of the other organizations. Ultimately it’s all the owner. Always has been, always will be. All a Hechsher can do is set a kosher standard so not everybody makes up whatever halachah they want, as well as provide a little supervision. If an owner or manager tries to maliciously subvert nothing can really be done to stop them.
Maybe the OK should have required their “mannequin mashgiach” to be in the back where the kitchen is at instead of saying Tehillim in the dine in area facing the street. Ein Somchin Al HaNes. If I was this owner I would have done this scandal long ago. Low risk high reward
If this can happen under the watchful eye of a Mashgiach tmidi, how could some reputable kosher certifying agencies (like Vaad Harabonim of Queens and Khof K in their certifications of the kosher stands at Citi Field) certify meat restaurants WITHOUT a Mashgiach tmidi?
I want to preface this with stating that I have never been to this restaurant, nor do I know anything about these mashgichim. The implied accusation I’m about to lay out does not apply to them personally. Nor was this under the auspices of OK, but rather a different generally accepted to be good hasgacha.
I have been to some restaurants where the mashgiach is some barely frum kid. Not an isolated incident, but several times at multiple restaurants. To the point where I trusted the owner more than the mashgiach.
Additionally, I’ve had a representative of another hasgacha call me out of the blue and offer me a mashgiach job. Not a “let’s meet and discuss it further” but more of a “we need a mashgiach at such and such address by 3pm today, get in your car now”.
I don’t even know what I don’t know about kashrus and they were trying to ask me to take responsibility for the kashrus of the dinners of tens of yidden.
I turned them down naturally, but they just slotted in some other equally unqualified bumpkin and the restaurant opened that night as scheduled.
Really opened my eyes to how this all works, and you really don’t want to know how the sausage is made.
But you didn’t actually meet with the Hashgacha who offered you a job so you wouldn’t actually know what the job or training (if any) would have been required.
I personally know someone you would describe as “some barely frum kid” that was a Mashgiach and took his job so much more seriously then many people who have the looks.
The kashrus industry needs to collectively agree to shorten their certifications from a year to a month or two, at a time. Store owners get greedy! Also the rabbis should take a trip to Vegas together and copy cat the surveillance measures put in place at every casino.
Casinos can afford 24/7 monitoring.
Will you be able to afford kosher food if costs triple?
I think he meant surveillance cameras. That’s not going to triple the food costs.
There were surveillance cameras. They’re not intended to stop this kind of fraud.
Hence his comparison to casino. Have you ever seen the casinos I’ve seen? Many cameras are intimidating. They don’t take chances.
Right, but they have the money and manpower to monitor all of them.
Casinos don’t monitor all of them. I recently stayed at BahaMar and took a trip over to the casino at Atlantis where my wife and I were accused by a drunk couple of stealing their money. It took the casino an hour to find someone to review the surveillance cameras. (Btw we were compensated by Atlantis casino for the inconvenience and for the taxi rides to and from BahaMar!) But anyway I agree that cameras is a practical eland realistic step in the right direction.
While I was makpid not to eat there as it was owned by non Jew and didn’t feel comfortable, I fail to see why the ok is being vilified here. Many if not most restaurants not located in Brooklyn/Lakewood/Monsey are owned by non Jews and they all have various kosher certifications from different hashgachos. Everyone knows that some hashgachos won’t give to fleishig restaurant owned by akum while some will. This story can and maybe is (unfortunately) happen at any establishment with any hechsher. As a consumer, if you are like me and don’t want to eat in a fleishig non Jewish establishment then don’t, if you do then do basic research. Unfortunately this could happen at Jewish establishments as well, hechsheirim aren’t magicians.
Agree on all accounts. You have to acknowledge the extra risk you’re taking here in the first place to get your Chinese food.
Can I dispute the charge on my credit card for a meal I purchased here?
Haha. Well they never accepted American Express. Now we know why. But we should all dispute whatever charges we can. Last time I went, paid cash. Oh well.
If it was truly small amounts why would anyone need to Kasher their equipment. As small amounts get nullified. They may not know how much or how big was this fraud. They do have video and they still can’t find out exactly where they went wrong how he circumvented their controls. Of course there are more details to this stories.
Who said truly small? Small amount each time can add up.
The letter states the admission to “small amount” it also notes they couldn’t find “physical evidence”
Because it doesn’t show up on video. Hence my speculation that perhaps he used his pockets to avoid them.
From my rusty recollection of Semicha, the trief cuts would be a chaticha hareuya lehiskabed and not be battel.
OK hasnt even updated there alerts page
not now and not when the story initially broke. so presumably, all alert subscribers got nothing.
We need very very good and totally astute mashgichim. Constant mashgichim for dairy as well as meat restaurants and caterers. And no penny pinching.
Less heterim with kashrus agencies. Whats Hashem want from us? Thats also to look into. This is tragic and very avoidable. Theres a reason a lot of gadolim wont eat anywhere except their own kitchen.
Sounds great, but wages would have to triple to attract talent.
Who is paying for that?
Prices would go up, but triple wages doesnt mean we pay triple. Long run would cause less unknown kashrus issues which would be priceless
Question is thus: if we pay so much extra for Mashgichim to oversee these establishments and they can’t stop the fraud then why should we pay so much if they’re not doing their job? If the mashgichim were really watching everything coming in and out there wouldn’t be these issues. In LA the Mashgiach felt it was more important to go daven shachris early in the morning at shul rather than be there for the traif delivery. Or they’re on their phones sitting in the back as traif boxes go overlooked. We’re paying tons of $ and the job doesn’t get done.
Mashgichim don’t that much, it’s not a wage that can typically support a family. You get what you pay for.
Understood but the higher ups are making $$. Kosher is a billion $ industry. The guys on the ground SHOULD get paid more to ensure what we are paying more for is intact. Furthermore, hashgachas could put cameras in establishments as well, which are monitored. For the amount of $ establishments are paying for a hasgacha and the amount of $ the industry and top guys are making there’s a way to do this that can mitigate these issues. JMO. Ive been wrong before but we pay so much for our kosher food. On the flip side, the amount of times this happens, vs how many establishments have hashgachas is miniscule. So there’s that.
1)As others have said, the OK has not owned up to this and has not addressed how they will change in the future.
2) I highly doubt it was a small amount of chicken. Not worth the risk. I don’t believe a word the owner says.
3) A good time to revisit the sorry state of mashgichim of our establishments. More often then not completely inadequate. Time to raise their salary and for them to get paid directly from the agency.
Lot more to be said on this subject…
The inevitability of the potential of products being “somehow snuck in during operational hours “ is because the hired mashgiach is not being able to actually be mashgiach. A mashgiach should be in the kitchen full time, not an additional slave for the establishment’s owner = not in the kitchen, thus enabling the bringing in the treif food through the back delivery door. All this is with the knowledge, encouragement & blessing of the certifying agency in order to alleviate the high price for the certification besides the cost of the mashgiach. All this causes also the laxity in the standard of checking for bugs, since the owner needs him somewhere else.
If the owner can’t afford kosher certification then he should open a non food store.
Bingo. As long as restaurants are paying salaries for mashgichim that attract only those who aren’t skilled enough to command decent salaries elsewhere, and treating them as such, giving them menial jobs all day, these issues will keep happening. We need skilled mashgichim, hired by the hashgacha, whose main, and only job is to be mashgiach, not manning the register, cutting vegetables, or doing menial labor while having the official title of mashgiach.
We need professionalism, accountability, and systems. When a mashgiach reports an issue retaliation should be absolutely out of the question. EVERY report should go directly to a publicly accessible database with a written summary of how/ if it was addressed and any changes implemented. It should NEVER be acceptable for any agency to issue a fine or take action for a major violation without informing the public, no matter how back it looks for the agency.
As long as they are acting in good faith Mashgichim should not be afraid of bringing up legitimate issues for fear of being blacklisted for hashgacha jobs because they are viewed as problematic.
The above would be a good start in a system that needs a major overhaul.
He began doing this in March – HAHA HAHA – March of what year would you surmise?
Anything he says has no credibility, so how do we believe him that he started in March 2022? If he was caught a year later, he would’ve also said “March (2023)!
AYLOR about your dishes from way back.
What’s the difference to guy once he’s admitting guilt if he did it for 6 months or 6 years? Either way he’s never owning another kosher restaurant and he knows that.
Plus, the chicken shortage is logical point to go down this path. He got desperate to stay open and felt he had nothing to lose by supplementing…
But yes, always ask your LOR.
The difference is if you need to AYLOR about your Kaylim from before March.
And of course he blames the chicken shortage. He has to have some quick answer ready when he gets caught.
I didn’t say there’s no difference to you. I said there’s no difference to the owner.
It is unfortunately human nature and when we rely on other people, sometimes we get burned
If there was a shortage of chicken, how did all the other “kosher” restaurants get sufficient product? Is anyone doing a post audit of invoices and tapes everywhere to see where this was also happening?
They were all shorted. Some chicken places closed.
name names. which?
People said Mike’s chicken closed. I recall others from GKRF as well.
All the restaurants in lkwd were affected & had limited supply, yes Mike’s closed for few days & glatt bite used dark chicken
as long as they sell the beer to a non jew on pesach and make a big PR about it
I’ve been reading online that the owner owned a few other “kosher” places in the tri state area. Does anyone know if this is true?
I appreciate your informed comments.
One point i have while i can’t begin to understand the sick feeling when you found out that you ate non kosher,what does that have to do with ?זו תורה וזו שכרה. That saying is generally used when someone has tragedies even though he was completely and utterly devoted to hashem like the malachim asking hashem about R’ Akiva being tortured . In this case it’s very sad and disheartening that a frum jew served the Cleveland community treif but i don’t see how that particular line applies
Because he won that lunch from a mishnayos contest.
I don’t believe for a second that he “only” started selling Treif in 2022. That store had extraordinarily cheap prices for many many years. It is impossible that they paid for a mashgiach Timidi AND kosher food to still turn a profit with those prices. If you used your own utensils, i would kasher if you ever ate there. I believe it was likely always Treif.
The following still working link shows their menu prices. Show me even 1 kosher place that sells a hot dog for $2. Lunch special for $8 etc.
I’m no expert, but i think the following below would be a simple solution for kashrus.
Why can’t restaurant owners be required to provide itemized receipts and matching credit card/ bank statements of where they bought their food? Doing so would automatically make largescale fraud nearly impossible as an owner must purchase enough from a kosher vendor to satisfy the mashgiach looking over the receipts and statements.
So anyplace cheap is treif?
Kosher wok’s $8 lunch special
New Kosher Special’s $10 combo meal?
Every expensive place is trief because they ripping off the customer
Same prices as a few other kosher restaurants. For example new kosher special. Go check it out.
The small amount would be Batul Berov. It must be more than a small amount.
No, a treif piece of chicky would not be batel
Based on all of this I would recommend that none of your readers eat at the above mentioned establishment
Kashrus is very important and we must strive to only eat kosher and not eat any treif chas Vashalom
This is a wakeup call to stop speaking lashon hara, we must watch what goes into our mouths and what leaves our mouths as well
Mashiach will come very soon and we will not need a MashGiach no more.
Working on hospitality and restaurants for 15+ years, I can tell you – 1. The OK is responsible , 2. I don’t believe for a second he was sneaking chicken in his pockets,
Could have been his backpack.
I had an employee steal little items from our warehouse in his little lunch bag. He was always taking it with him everywhere. until we spent few hours tracking him and saw his little slick slips
Sadly, Agree and Agree!
@Dan, if it makes you feel any better i don’t think you actually at halachik treif.
You can speak to a posek but here are some possible avenues:
Porush mrubo parish has status of kosher. It is not considered treif.
+ Chances are there was kosher meat there as well and it becomes a question of rov and bittul / nosen tam etc
I’m pretty confident a posek would be able to put together a solid tshuva for why it was not a vaday treif.
Same goes for this Chinese place. Need to kasher yes. But will you burn for the pgam in neshama? I would bet the shu”t ppl would give a solid case for why it bdieved fine
Why need to kasher if bittul? So they don’t believe that it’s bittul. .
As pgam in neshama you may have to look at intention..
Maybe Rabbi Hoffman wants to write an article on these subjects.
Here’s an uncomfortable story.
Some years ago, we used to order lunch to the office from a heimishe restaurant on 13th Ave. It was delivered by a nochri but it had the requisite tape and seal so all was good.
One time the roll of tape was mistakenly included with the lunch so I called the restaurant and they said that they will pick it up. Ten minutes later, the non-Jewish delivery man showed up to pick up the tape. I called the owner and told him that if the tape is not guarded the hechsher is useless. I never again bought from there.
They closed not too long after. Heard rumors of a scandal but unconfirmed.
Don’t ignore the signs. Ever.
Funny because just last night I had a conversation with a kashrus guy about this Chinese restaurant scandal and he told me the whole story of that 13th avenue dairy restaurant. It’s a bad story…..
I am curious what impact this has on the kashrut of the community. My understanding of kashrut is pretty basic. If I warmed food from that restaurant in my oven, then my oven is treif, no? Now suppose I made a potato kugel in the treif oven and gave it to a friend who warmed my kugel in their oven. Isn’t their oven now treif? Then they bake a chicken and bring it to a another friend who warms it in their oven. Rinse and repeat. How is this different from COVID? At this point wouldn’t you need contact tracers to map out the treifness in the community (and beyond). If a large fraction of the community now is treif, is there a possibility of herd immunity? (Tuma hutra betzebur) Serious question.
Not at all. But feel free to call your Rov
I don’t live any where near that town or restaurant- so I believe I am “socially distanced”. I am curious what the orthodox rabanim in that area are telling their congregants. How are they addressing contagion, if at all?
It’s called nat bar nat. AYLOR.
I don’t understand dan’s insistence on downplaying the owner’s deceit.
Of course we don’t know how long
he was doing it for , and in what quantities.
It’s “possible” that when it came to those specific questions he decided to tell the truth (because it’s plausible..chicken shortage..)
But why Dan why would you actually spend time to argue that case . If we know he did it this time then he lost every shred of credibility.
Regarding your argument that once the cat is out of the bag he will confess to all his crimes , because what does he have to lose. is inherently offset by the excuse of the chicken shortage because now he has in his mind(and apparently in yours as well) a more human excuse that he was cornered and wasn’t a “maized” rather than admitting he was evil from the start.
I also don’t understand why your comfortable with the OK not accepting any sort of responsibility.
They didn’t even apologize!!!! This is something that happened on their watch, and they must ask mechilah before yom kippur.
Your defense that their lawyers don’t want them accepting responsibility is not good enough, I’m sure there is some workaround if they actually wanted to.
I wonder if the same argument can’t be made on Lufthansa not taking responsibility because their lawyer told them not to
Maybe because this is not an okay problem but rather a
Kashrus industry problem
So my bad neighbor’s problem is not his problem, it’s humanity’s problem…..
Rabbi Shain from Lakewood was the original co-certifier of this restaurant. He has been sending out warnings since 2016 not to eat at this restaurant. He has been saying for years the the owner actually DID have the keys to the restaurant. He also points out the chicken shortage began well over a year ago.
Regardless, this owner has no neemanus. He was being interrogated by the OK and at the time of the questioning he thought his restaurant might be able to stay open.
This is a complete failure on the part of the OK. Rabbi Shain warned them countless times to remove their certification.
I will never rely on the OK.. How do I know what is going on in Snapple where nobody is there to take videos?!?
Not a single statement in here is true. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is Yudel Shain commenting here of one of his agents that he sent to all the websites to leave his propaganda
It’s possible to have a locksmith make a keys and also turn off cameras by shutting the breakers. You can pass items through windows. Fraud is hard to detect.
I blame the Rabbi’s. Why does kosher meat need to be more expensive then non kosher meat? Rabbis make a profit/royalty percentage off the meat and other kosher products they put a stamp on which help drive the price up which then makes owners like this guy to buy non kosher food or people to eat non kosher to save $
@Adam, You kiddin, right? There can always be improvements but anyone who knows anything about Halacha understands why Kosher meat is more expensive. How much more costly it needs to be may be another question though.
@Adam, you may be unfamiliar with what is involved in the processing of kosher meat. Kosher does not consist of “blessing” the product. Kosher consumers are expecting that kosher meat is prepared in consistency with kosher law which includes being slaughtered by a trained professional “shochet” and salted under the supervision of a kosher observant supervisor “mashgiach”. This takes extra time on the line and added employees not required for non-kosher meat. When it comes to beef, there are certain veins and fats that need to be removed, and the entire back half of the animal is most often not used. Additionally, many animals do not end up kosher after lung inspection and have to be sold at non-kosher prices. Not to mention overhead, management, and travel. This all drives up the cost – not some ridiculous conspiracy of rabbis taking a royalty.
You mention “other kosher products”. Most kosher products available on the market are from national brands that are not are not priced differently than their non-kosher counterparts. The added cost of kosher largely depends on how much effort is needed to produce or certify any given product as kosher.
Any basic study of the matter would preclude one from making conspiracy statements regarding kosher.
There are rumors of “ ben pakuah” farms . I will let others elaborate but should that take off the cost of kosher meat should come down considerably. @ Adam it will still cost more like what @ beans is saying but will probably take off 50% of the current markup.
The whole point of making the ben pakuah farm is to lower the cost of the meat bc (from my understanding) you can eat the entire animal w/o shechita or any checking
Most heimishe rabbonim are not pro the ben pakua farms. Just saying.
agreed. same with free range eggs and vegan and whole foods and organic. all of them are just after their money and if they really cared about you then they would sell it at a loss even thought the costs to make them are 2-3 times the price.
1. Small quantities? Where was he storing the rest? How many times was he going in & out stuffing his pockets & that the mashgiach didn’t notice & they couldn’t find it on the cameras?
2. The statement from the OK on Monday said that he closed the store on his own but also they don’t trust him so won’t be certifying him anymore, Thursdays statement sounds like he was given back certification, something sounds off trying to get clarity?
3. As mentioned a good idea would be to have many cameras in place constantly being monitored (just like internet filters) you can have 1 guy monitoring many cameras from different places, just the fact that someone is actually watching them makes the fear real.
4. I’ve worked in a kitchen, & for 1 mashgiach to be doing everything is not really possible if someone is trying to cheat the system, it can only work when the kitchen staff are trying to abide by the rules.
The video originally surfaced on Thursday and that’s when the OK closed the restaurant temporarily..
And the small quantities could have been in his car near the back door, frozen.
Dan I agree with your sentiment that this kind of fraud can be very difficult to weed out.
One idea would be to have daily or weekly spot checks of video footage. And maybe even a team in the central office constantly reviewing or monitoring footage for any suspicious activity. (Especially for stores owned by non Jews)
I’m sure that if he was doing it a few times a day In small quantities, it could have been picked up if the footage was often monitored or reviewed.
As if a weekly spot check of footage would catch a 5-second slip in the back door…
If someone is actually monitoring the cameras you’d pick it up if the owner/chef is going in & out multiple times a day seems fishy
It’s usually hot in the kitchen and they can often leave for a minute here and there for a phone call or a cigarette… Wouldn’t look suspicious at all.
(Again, no one said it was 10 times a day. Could even be 2 or 3 times a day when the Mashgiach is in the bathroom…)
And it’s not necessarily something you’d notice in a camera as suspicious. I doubt he brought it in the boxes…
Every time a worker is seen in the camera bringing in a bag they’ll investigate? By the time they call the Mashgiach the bag can be emptied into the bin already. We’re talking about seconds here.
i never understood this. why do the establishments (and not the hechsher) pay the mashgiach?
This is a major flaw in the system. It’s a total conflict of interest.
You really want a solution? The answer is so simple but NEVER done. It is called mashgiach training.
I, like many others, worked dozens of mashgiach jobs, especially in my bochur years. I worked in shlachthoizes, wineries/grape concentrate plants, restaurants, catering, pesach programs etc etc. Did anyone ever tell me even one time what I was supposed to be doing? Not once. The things I witnessed in my time as mashigiach are outrageous, even in those instances where the hasghocha was being ran by competent G-d fearing individuals. I’ll post many stories if anyone is interested. The actual ‘boots on the ground’ had zero clue what they were doing. No basic training, no manuals, no instructions about what is ok vs what is not ok.
THIS in my opinion is the only thing that really needs to change. I hope someone who has any power in the industry reads this.
Yes this is HUGE problem, as they say most ppl in the kashrus industry will not eat out
As trained as you are, you still need the bathroom sometimes (unless we make a new policy that Mashgichim need to come with diapers)
There was a Shiur in manalapan that guided people to repent and be more careful with kashrus. Will there be a similar shiur from Rabbi Forchheimer or Rabbi SM Katz in lakewood? After all many from Lakewood ate there and I am told with the blessing of the kcl.
First: Dan, kudos for patiently answering all of the posters. I am very impressed by your apparent patience with everyone.
Second: Fellas, please carefully bear in mind the halachos of Lashon Hora before posting. This should not be interpreted as an accusation of having posted Lashon Hora here, but rather, as an observation that some posts have come close. There is a very fine line between restating fact, especially such that should be taken as warning, and supposition or accusation.
Third: The next fine line that appears to have blurred in the comments pertains to what is considered kosher – that is, what is halachically permissible to rely on. Despite what posters seem to think, the OK remains an organization that one is permitted to rely on. That said, in the kashrus world, mistakes happen. No hashgacha is truly safe. So, relying on ANY hashgacha carries risks of timtum halev, but you go try living without them. We do our best and rely on what we must, preferably the ones that seem to have a better handle on things.
Fourth: If you want to discuss when it is permitted to trust someone, have a look in Y.D. Kuf-Yud-Tes instead of speculating. You may find that someone who the halacha says you can trust has messed over Klal Yisrael. That did not change the halacha in the past, and all it says about the future is that you have to try harder.
Fifth: I am proud to be a member of a nation that gets so worked up when faced with the possibility of having eaten issur b’ones (or b’shogeg).
On your third point ppl are upset at the ok for not owning up to the event & take responsibility & apologize & explain what they will try to do to prevent such thing from happening, which is what makes ppl say they don’t want to trust them amymore
If it would be an issue of the ok solely, you’d have a valid point. But the unfortunate fact is there’s no policy in place of ANY national Hechsher that would’ve prevented this from happening (at least the ones that allow non-jewish owned)
Which is why, for those who know, the higher ups in all the big Hashgochos and AKO are franticly trying to figure out a solution to this problem since the story broke…
The hashgochos all look at it as a general kashrus issue, not an OK issue.
It’s only the Naive people that think this is only an OK issue…
As for your second point, I don’t know where lashon hara comes in. Maybe we should’ve kept the Monsey treifus story a secret due to lh. Please have a look in chofetz chaim and shmiras haloshon and you’ll see what I mean. Lh is permissible in time of need. But hey, AYLOR.
Just reading the owner’s replies to any negative feedback received (Google reviews) over the past several YEARS, will tell anyone that this is someone who does not care to do that which is wrong. That alone should have been (a) word(s) of caution a long time ago…
It appears that owner’s replies have since been taken down… Replies such as: “Yes I nasty, but I nasty only to nasty people”. “You didn’t brush your teeth so blame the food is not good.” Very telling.
There are several kosher restaurants like that.
Is there way to detect non kosher meat in a laboratory due to the salt content? I believe the ou laboratory caught cheating company by testing their product in their laboratory.
Exceedingly unprofessional on the part of the OK.
How could they continue to give a Hechsher to a GOY after they caught the guy buying a large amount of non kosher meat and chicken?
They say that they “determined” that it didn’t find its way into the restaurant. What a joke! Obviously their determination process it is not very effective.
And “snuck”? In an official letter? Seriously?!
I know that the dictionaries have begun allowing that word to be used, but it’s not meant to be in a professional setting
So if a Goy is seen buying meat for his Trief restaurant we still have to completely shut down the kosher restaurant even without any proof? Obviously hindsight is 2020 but try to be objective for a second…
And your second point is beyond laughable. Do you really think at that point once the OK and the Mashgiach were on high alert they were wrong about the fact it didn’t enter the restaurant?! They have access to the cameras as well! The OK still stands by the fact that those boxes NEVER made it into the restaurant, as well as the fact that those boxes were not found in the garbage’s
It’s very different to sneak things in when the Mashgiach is not on high alert or he’s in the bathroom (he’s human after all) in smaller quantities like bags…
Since when is the OK a vocabulary hechsher?
The OK should be made to release video footage covering a span of time to the public. At minimum to an independent review panel for scrutiny. Only then can the public know whether the OK was/wasn’t negligent here.
Is it possible for the hechsher to require stores/restaurants to match up inventory? What came in from the kosher distributor and what was sold?
Would it be a good idea for hechsherim to require stores/restaurants to match up their product purchased from the Kosher distributor and product sold? With most stores using advanced POS systems this information should be easy to provide.
This solution would have solved many of the recent scandals.
Thanks to all for robust discussion!
You can continue the discussion and give your ideas for how to prevent this from happening in the future on the DansDeals Forums here: