The OU Hechsher – A SELLOUT TO THE JEWS??

Orthodox Union Kosher Certification

  • The World's Most Recognized<br>& Trusted Kosher Certification

    The World’s Most Recognized
    & Trusted Kosher Certification
    For over 80 years, the Orthodox Union has set the bar for the highest standards of kosher certification.

LM thanks our contributor for this post and for the accompanying research. We think that any observant Jews relying on the Orthodox Union certification should be grateful.
June 24, 2016

Boar’s Head Kosher?  Chazer, the OU and the “highest standards” reduced for a price

While many of us are not strictly observant Jews, we do believe people for whom strict Kashrut is important should be able to rely on certifying entities. It may be time to rethink accepting the OU certification as legitimate. It is our view that the OU has sold out, is committing both a fraud and that their advertising is false. They do not, in our view, meet “the highest standards of kosher certification”

General Explanation of Kashrut

With Kashrut the Devil is in the details and different groups of observant Jews accept different standards. The following is a very basic outline of Kashrut according to a site entitled Judaism 101.

Judaism 101: Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws

General Rules

Although the details of kashrut are extensive, the laws all derive from a few fairly simple, straightforward rules:

  1. Certain animals may not be eaten at all. This restriction includes the flesh, organs, eggs and milk of the forbidden animals.
  2. Of the animals that may be eaten, the birds and mammals must be killed in accordance with Jewish law.
  3. All blood must be drained from meat and poultry or broiled out of it before it is eaten.
  4. Certain parts of permitted animals may not be eaten.
  5. Fruits and vegetables are permitted, but must be inspected for bugs (which cannot be eaten)
  6. Meat (the flesh of birds and mammals) cannot be eaten with dairy. Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either meat or dairy. (According to some views, fish may not be eaten with meat).
  7. Utensils (including pots and pans and other cooking surfaces) that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. This applies only where the contact occurred while the food was hot.
  8. Grape products made by non-Jews may not be eaten.
  9. There are a few other rules that are not universal.

BOAR’S HEAD

[Note to reader: Our criticism is of the Orthodox Union. The Boar’s Head company may be the victim of a fraud. We in no way want to suggest people should not be purchasing Boar’s Head products. We do suggest that if you are purchasing those products because you believe them to be kosher, you may want to think again.]

Boar’s Head   is a company that has been around for years. It is, as far as we know, a reputable company and its very name is known for its “cold cuts” which include pork products.

Most observant Jews will not purchase Boar’s Head products.

When you look on its website and do a search for  “Kosher” you come up with the “Pub Style Horseradish Sauce.” With a wee bit of humor the caption reads: “The rich, creamy flavor of our Pub Style Horseradish Sauce will enhance all of your sandwiches. The perfect kosher complement to Deluxe Roast Beef and Double Gloucester Cheese.” Again with humor we wonder if the observant person buying the Kosher Horseradish Sauce would eat the Deluxe Roast Beef together with the Double Cloucester Cheese. Likely not.

A call to the Boar’s Head company left us baffled when the woman we spoke with indicated that as far as she knows there are no Kosher products. We can’t really have expected her to be well-versed in their Kosher products and do not fault her for her very polite response. But she did leave us wondering.

What the following research has told us is that there is an extensive list of Boar’s Head products that carry the OU symbol.

bh.141This all started with sauerkraut.

A few days ago, one of our commenters sent us information that the OU certification may be a fraud. The commenter came to that conclusion in large part because the OU certification really should not go hand-in-hand with the central focus of the product logo being the face  of a pig. 

The commenter did not leave it there.

The commenter questioned the OU. In response to an inquiry to the OU regarding why and how Boar’s Head products obtain an OU certification the following email was received:

OU.1234d

Reading the letter, there are a number of conclusions one might raise, meeting the strictest standards of Kashrut for observant Jews, not being one of them.

A Telephone Call to the Orthodox Union

Our diligent (and strictly observant) commenter then told us the following:

I asked to speak with Rabbi Menachem Genack. He wouldn’t come to the phone, but he told Rabbi Luban to call me back. Rabbi Luban first claimed that even though some products are only eaten by non-Jews, the money the OU gets off these products are given to Orthodox Jewish causes like Yachad and other organizations, so he felt the OU was doing something good by getting money from non-Jews to help support Jewish causes. I told Luban that we are concerned of a pushback by gentiles for paying these fees. He didn’t seem concerned. Then he told me that he himself is not happy about the OU policy of certifying fake ham and shrimp.
 
I then told Luban that we believe having an OU symbol next to a picture of a pig’s head is a chilul hashem. He said, “I hear you.” I demanded he provide Rabbi Genack’s email address so I could protest to Genack directly. The email address is: Genackm@ou.org.

KASHRUT FOR PROFIT AND NOT FOR INTEGRITY

Companies, like Boar’s Head, are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a stamp of approval which supposedly meets the standards of an observant Jewish market willing to pay more for guarantees of Kashrut. Observant Jews are paying more for products so that they can feel settled in knowing that they are meeting appropriate dietary laws. Non-observant Jews and non-Jews are unwittingly paying more for products with the OU label because they are just happen to have a Kosher label.

Based upon increased cost alone, we believe wholeheartedly that people Jewish and non-Jewish alike should be scrutinizing the standards by which the Orthodox Union products are certified Kosher (OU) and the value placed upon that certification. The letter above and the conversation that followed could, in our view, amount to extortion.

Companies who want a legitimate Kashrut label may want to go elsewhere. In our view, the OU is bilking them to meet the needs of a market it may not actually be meeting.

If providing Kosher certification is a money making endeavor, as we had suggested in a very early post of ours, than observant Jews may want to consider speaking to their Rabbis and getting advice on which products to buy. If it is all about the money, a false advertising marketing scheme of epic proportions is being perpetrated upon observant Jews who rely upon that marketing.

The Orthodox Union and its OU symbol in our view represent a hypocrisy of epic proportions. Kashrut in its strictest sense is falling to the wayside.

We have followed this with a fairly comprehensive list of Boar’s Head products certified Kosher by the Orthodox Union which may not exactly be meeting appropriate Kosher standards.

We do not place blame upon Boar’s Head but upon what we now view to be a money making fraud perpetrated upon them by the Orthodox Union.

BRAND PRODUCT TYPE SYMBOL STATUS
Boar’s Head Sugar & Spice Glaze Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Mayonnaise Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Real Mayonnaise Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Horseradish Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Hot and Spicy Gourmet Barbecue Sauce Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Boarshead Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Real Mayonnaise Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Cage Free Egg Mayonniase (pails) Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Savory Remoulade Cajun Style Mayonnaise Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Horseradish And Beets Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Real Mayonnaise made with Cage Free Eggs Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Mustard Honey Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Real Mayonnaise Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Sauerkraut Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Mustard Deli With White Wine Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Horseradish Sauce Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Mustard With Horseradish Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand H.J. Sweet Relish 561 Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Hot Pepper Relish Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand New Kosher Pickles Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Sour Relish Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand N.Y. Sour Dills-All Presentations Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand N.Y. Sour Pickles-All Presentations Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand New Pickles-All Presentations Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Kosher Dill Pickles Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Sauerkraut Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Kosher Spears Pickles Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand 1/8 Inch Sour Relish 564-A Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Deli Pickle Chips Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Fresh Deli Spears Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Half Sour Pickles Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Hot Peppers Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand New Kraut Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Pickles Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Sweet Gherkins Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Sweet Relish Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Vinegar Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Deli Pickles-All Presentations Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Genuine Dills-All Presentations Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Processed Dills-All Presentations Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Half Sour Pickles Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Deli Pickles Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Hot Dog Relish Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Sweet Pepper Relish Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Sweet Wonder Hot Peppers Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Tartar Sauce Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Barrel Cured Pickles-All Presentations Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Cold Pack Pickles-All Presentations Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Half Done Pickles-All Presentations Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.
Boar’s Head Brand Half Sour Pickles-All Presentations Pareve OU Symbol required. Not Kosher for Passover.

 

 

14 thoughts on “The OU Hechsher – A SELLOUT TO THE JEWS??

  1. First like others said that this is not fraud not a story. Waste of time. I am always looking for more options. I wasn’t even aware this was an option for me thanks for pointing it out. Now I can buy it if it’s a good value. Second getting the kosher symbol for foods like this have a nominal cost not worth mentioning especially if the product is being packed up for other brands. It’s like a deeply discounted deal for everyone. If you understand food processing plants there isn’t a massive amount of variety. It’s more about packing and branding along with the specs that you provide the processor. Again not an issue with most pare down items. If Hassidim, our so called Jewish brethren, don’t want to eat OU certified that’s there problem. If they want to separate from the mainstream and do their own thing go right ahead shaigot. If they want to worship their grand master like a pope and be ovair on avoda zara go right ahead. If they want to deny Gds physical world by misinterpreting things in the Torah like the world was literally created in six days let the apikorsim keep trucking. I know if I can help it I try not to eat their treif heckshers. Poor souls. If they only knew that for the last few hundred years the BS”T has sent them down the path of gehrnom.

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  2. I was in the horseradish plant where boars head is packaged. It is the same kosher horseradish that is being packaged under 5 other brands, so why should it not get an ou? If I found myself looking for kosher horseradish in Omaha Nebraska, and boars head was the only brand in the store I would be grateful to the ou for helping me out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. @LM
    I believe I’ve read (or at least tried to) every article on this site and am totally with you guys…but this one is baffling me…

    Are you saying the fraud is that the strictly observant kosher market will not actually buy these products because of the picture of the pig on the label? That is completely and ridiculously untrue. Maybe Chabad, (I’ve heard they wont have any pictures on non-kosher animals even in pre-school classrooms) and maybe other Chassidim who don’t support the OU because it would put their rebbe’s certifications out of business if they did….
    But to me this is a good thing. OU is certifying THE FOOD, not making ‘kashrut’ about pictures or politics or anything else. Notice that all the rules you mentioned describe the FOOD not the packaging or the sexual orientation of the person who manufactured it🙂

    In Israel there have been stories of hotels losing certification because of the types of entertainment they offer or if they allow New Years eve celebrations. The Rabbis there are super imposing their view of acceptable activities onto food kashrut. Kashrut is about the ingredients and only the chareidim would like to see it become about something more than that.

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    • @wow we think it’s a problem that the hechsher may be about the money and not the products or the company. The mustard has wine. Is that mevushal or lo mevushal? We agree with your point and have debated it amongst ourselves. Our point here is whether or not the products are kosher in the strictest sense or whether they have simply been bought and paid for. The contributor felt very strongly about this point and there is a follow-up. If providing a hechsher is about money then there may be little point to it. If it is becoming increasingly tolerant then we are all for it but if it is about money then the whole endeavor may be a fraud, in our view.

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      • LM – Thanks for getting back to me. The contributor should have asked the question about the wine when he s/he called the OU. But just because one Rabbi there talked about money in a stupidly worded ‘justification’ doesnt in any way prove that the products arent kosher.

        And just because a Rabbi or your contributor isnt comfortable with kosher fake ‘ham’ or ‘shrimp’, doesnt make those products non-kosher. Many strictly kosher observers I know absolutely love kosher shrimp (never seen or heard of fake ham so i cant speak to that).

        Im still not getting your point. If the certification is all about money then indeed that would be a scandal but we are going to need actual evidence that this is about the money and they are certifying non-kosher FOOD before this becomes a scandal. For now, all you’ve done is elevate the OU’s status in my eys – Im glad they are willing to certify a product with “inapproriate” pictures on the label. I’m going to look out for these in my supermarket now. I’m sure this will be a show stopper the nest time we have guests.

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        • hit send too soon – apologies for all the typos
          and btw – I’m sure Boars Head has enough brainpower in their accounting department to figure out whether or not the ‘tax’ they are paying to the OU is adding to or subtracting from their bottom line. If its not increasing their sales, whether to kashrut observers or others who just like the concept they wont need LM to figure out that the OU is not creating new markets for them.

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  4. I’m kinda with Andrew. It’s not like OU is certifying their “pure baloney, not phony baloney,” just their other stuff. Yeah it’s weird with the chazar on the label. But there are goyim who like kosher certification because they consider it a better product.

    So this isn’t a real issue to me.

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  5. Are you for real? This is NO story. Boars Head products are completely independent from each other. A kosher consumer would VERY well be buying the OU mustard or whatever.

    This is Much Ado About Absolutely Nothing.

    Shades of Shmarya and his rants.

    Besides these products are often produced by other companies and then just labeled with the Boars Head (or whomever) brand. If there is an OU on the product, why not put it on the label.

    Do you think that the heimishce labels actually produce all their product line in their own factories? It’s just labeled from elsewhere.

    Continue uncovering corruption and the other amazing work you’re doing.
    But — puleez don’t go making a big deal over nothing.

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  6. Calm Your Tits….It could be that Genack could not come to the phone because he was making out with Hilary Clinton.

    Don’t get your panties in a bunch. I love Boars Heads Mustards, Pickles ETc.
    Dont propagate a non-story about certifying BH products, much better stuff out there

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    • The article was about fraud, certification as a money making endeavor and false advertising. You eat your pickles and mustards. We don’t want to pay more for kosher products that may not be kosher.

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      • Yes, but there remains no evidence that the certified products contain non-kosher ingredients. There have been no shortage of such incidents over the years, some involving certifying authorities considered more Orthodox than OU. f such evidence does turn up here, by all means enlighten us. Until then, I see nothing here. My Chabad relatives would definitely avoid these products because of the pigs in the brand name and on the label, but that’s another story.

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