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Kosher items in non-kosher restaurants


fido dido
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So...there are "traditional" kosher restaurants (e.g. delis). And then there are kosher-certified restaurants of all stripes (e.g. chinese takeout). Has anyone noticed, however, restaurant menus highlighting kosher ingredients on their menus (i.e. kosher free-range chicken) used as a selling point for the non-kosher, health/taste-conscious diner? I'm doing a little research on the topic and have been stumped. I'd be grateful for help from any eagle-eyed eGulleters.

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A friend of mine got into trouble with the local Rabbinic Council For using the words “kosher style” In describing roast chicken. I may be wrong on this but using kosher items in a non-kosher environment nullifies the situation. It might be better to refer to the items by brand. Empire poultry would be one example.

Living hard will take its toll...
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using kosher items in a non-kosher environment nullifies the situation

Simply because who knows what the kosher item came into contact with ...

Kosher style (of a cuisine, restaurant, etc.) refers to featuring traditional Jewish dishes, but not adhering to the dietary laws: i.e. kosher-style cooking.

Just an example: A corned beef sandwich may be kosher style but unless it is served in a place under rabbinical supervision, it is not considered to be kosher to orthodox Jews... and there are now laws about advertising non-kosher items as specifically "kosher style."

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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It's illegal to use the term 'kosher-style' here. Either you're under supervision/hashgacha or you're not. Our company was certified for about 20 years but the politics involved in such matters had us give up our certification a couple of years ago.

Having said that, we use only kosher ingredients and follow all the laws of kashrut. But if somebody phones me up and asks if my food is kosher I have to explain all of this rather than just say yes.

Around these parts, the only thing I ever really notice is 'kosher pickles' in many many many restaurants and of course, Costco USED to sell kosher hot dogs (until mad cow put an end to Sinai hot dogs tihs side of the border). No one seemed to mind that they were serving them in hotdog buns with dairy products in them, but there you go.

With the cost of kosher poultry are completely treif restaurants actually using it?

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I hope the idea is that the chicken came from a kosher butcher and, therefore, is being held up as being selected to higher standards than the average chicken. However debatable that claim is, the other possibility is very bad: Claiming that kosher-slaughtered chicken served in treyf dishes or subject to contact with treyf items is still kosher would constitute fraud, and I believe that would be illegal and punishable under fraud laws designed to protect consumers in certain U.S. states, such as New York. In other words, like Melissa said...

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I hope the idea is that the chicken came from a kosher butcher and, therefore, is being held up as being selected to higher standards than the average chicken. However debatable that claim is, the other possibility is very bad: Claiming that kosher-slaughtered chicken served in treyf dishes or subject to contact with treyf items is still kosher would constitute fraud, and I believe that would be illegal and punishable under fraud laws designed to protect consumers in certain U.S. states, such as New York. In other words, like Melissa said...

Pan, that is indeed the idea. I apologize for articulating my question poorly, but it's kind of one that needs to be read carefully, too. Let's try again:

Lots of people who don't keep kosher, who aren't even Jewish, are buying kosher products in supermarkets ands stores because they think it's cleaner or safer, or more reliable than what the USDA and FDA claim on labels. I was just wondering if restaurants are trying to appeal to this demographic by buying kosher-certified ingredients and labeling them on menus...sort of providing another "healthy" choice.

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I was just wondering if restaurants are trying to appeal to this demographic by buying kosher-certified ingredients and labeling them on menus...sort of providing another "healthy" choice.

and they can do precisely that but the item can not be considered kosher if not under supervision ...

But from a health standpoint? There are many people who assume that kosher meat is healthier ... not proven to the best of my knowledge.

But then there is this: how it is prepared might be an issue if the meat is sauteed in real schmaltz ... :laugh:

read this to get a better idea of healthier ...

Kosher meat is considered safer and cleaner than conventional meat for good reason. Strict Jewish law requires rigorous inspections: Animals must be active and healthy before slaughter and blemish-free afterward. Kosher beef inspectors reject about 50 times as many animals as USDA inspectors do. The slaughtering process is also considered by some to be more humane and hygienic. Kosher slaughterers train with rabbis and veterinary experts to learn how to administer quick, painless deaths, and the meat is immediately cleaned and salted—a practice that is dictated by religious law and has the benefit of inhibiting bacterial growth

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I don't think Kosher food is particularly healthy just because of the kashrut in today's environment. It may have helped a mediterranean tribe in the days before refrigeration, but from a health point of view is largely irrelevant. Indeed the typical eastern european derived Ashkenazi diet, low fibre with a large amount of saturated fat is a long way from perfect.

If you are saying the extra amount of supervision in the food chain helps, then that is a reflection on the poor quality of your local food chain. Its not at all clear that rabbinical supervision results in better animal welfare, food hygine, less additives or other good things than, for example, organic certification. It is not the primary purpose of such supervision, nor are the supervisors trained that way. For example there is no kashrut requirement on the seperation of cooked and raw meats to prevent cross contamination, nor on cold chain or temperature management. You can cook, say, a kosher hot dog and keep it at bug breeding temperatures for hours, then serve it still completely kosher. I have known some truly appalling, but completely kosher kitchens.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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Jack

You're right that kashrut doesn't expressly forbid such cross-contamination or poor quality cleanliness. But, local health and safety regulations do. Commercial kosher kitchens are under exactly the same H&S rules that non-kosher kitchens are.

On the question of does kosher = good quality. The simple answer is no. As Melissa's link points out, animals killed under shechita are reared along with animals destined for non-kosher slaughter. In fact, in the UK, there is tendency for kosher meat to be particularly poor quality. Try getting hold of an organic or free range kosher chicken, let alone beef from a high-quality herd. The problem is that kosher meat is expensive because of demand/supply and additionally expensive because of the costs associated with being affiliated to the various kashrut boards. People seem to be unwilling to pay even more for the privelege of premium breeds, even if it does mean they're eating better food.

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Before I get into this mini-rave, let it be clearly stated that I do not myself keep kashrut in any sense of the word.

First of all, the vast majority of people who maintain kashrut do not do it out of any set of thoughts regarding to health or physical well-being but as an acceptance of the rules they believe to be important in their acceptance of and devotion to God. Issues about why this or that food item might not be "good for you" now or historically or about why mixing this and that together would not be kosher" are primarily rationalizations by people trying to explain the inexplicable.

In a phrase and quite simply stated, historical and all other reasons aside, kashrut has nothing whatever to do with health. It has only to do with belief and its acknowledgement. It is true that there are some cultural and even rabbinical variations in determining what is and what is not kosher and when it may be acceptble, but those too are nothing more than matters of faith as intepreted over several thousand years in different settings.

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Your assumption that the implication that it's healthier seems flawed to me. While I agree Hebrew National did a great job years ago with their advertisements that "We answer to a higher authority", you forget that it may be an attempt to cater to Muslim patrons, who care less about it being Kosher, but want to make sure it isn't Pork.

Most Jews are well aware of the difference between Kosher and Kosher style.

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Your assumption that the implication that it's healthier seems flawed to me.  While I agree Hebrew National did a great job years ago with their advertisements that "We answer to a higher authority", you forget that it may be an attempt to cater to Muslim patrons, who care less about it being Kosher, but want to make sure it isn't Pork. 

Most Jews are well aware of the difference between Kosher and Kosher style.

Good point, and I am in complete agreement. Actually, consumer reports have shown that "kosher" appeals to lots of different people for lots of reasons. Vegans, the lactose intolerant, muslims looking for halaal options, etc. That's why I'm asking if anyone's noticed anything going on in restaurants to cater to these people.

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Your assumption that the implication that it's healthier seems flawed to me.  While I agree Hebrew National did a great job years ago with their advertisements that "We answer to a higher authority", you forget that it may be an attempt to cater to Muslim patrons, who care less about it being Kosher, but want to make sure it isn't Pork. 

Most Jews are well aware of the difference between Kosher and Kosher style.

Actually, Muslims would care that it is Kosher because they basically kill their animals in the same manner as we do. However, they do not separate dairy and meat and they do eat shellfish.

Both religions state that if only Halal or only Kosher meat is available, then you can purchase Halal or Kosher meat. Mind you, there are some Orthodox that will not eat Halal meat.

I bought Halal meat in Lugano. The only other option was to have Kosher meat sent to me by train from Zurich or find a Kosher butcher in Milano.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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Jack

You're right that kashrut doesn't expressly forbid such cross-contamination or poor quality cleanliness.  But, local health and safety regulations do.  Commercial kosher kitchens are under exactly the same H&S rules that non-kosher kitchens are.

On the question of does kosher = good quality.  The simple answer is no.  As Melissa's link points out, animals killed under shechita are reared along with animals destined for non-kosher slaughter.  In fact, in the UK, there is tendency for kosher meat to be particularly poor quality.  Try getting hold of an organic or free range kosher chicken, let alone beef from a high-quality herd.  The problem is that kosher meat is expensive because of demand/supply and additionally expensive because of the costs associated with being affiliated to the various kashrut boards.  People seem to be unwilling to pay even more for the privelege of premium breeds, even if it does mean they're eating better food.

I have to agree with you about the quality in London. It is deplorable. I went to checkout several Kosher butchers in Golders Green. Two I walked out of immediately because it smelled like rotten meat :shock: and the prices they were charging were highway robbery. We usually eat fish when we visit my MIL. On the rare occassion, I will buy a Kosher chicken from a supermarket in the O2 building on Finchley road.

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I havent worked in a Kosher enviroment but was heavy into gourmet sales, mostly "gifty" type items sauces, candies, dressings, etc. If I knew that a product was kosher I would mention it to the client, and often have to give a brief on what that meant. I always just told them that another layer of inspection never hurts and its better for potential food allergies to know off the bat if something contains ...say milk protiens. Many of our clients were in mixed marriages and would be seeking items to serve relatives. Our cakes were Kosher, as long as we sold them sealed in the original box. It was always sweet when neighbors would contract us to send a Shiva gift but I wonder how much got buried in the yard.

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I've had non-Jews order a parve cake due to a milk allergy - and I've sold meats and meals to muslims but I think that the non-Jews who generally came to our restaurant weren't coming because they felt things were healthier. They wanted the 'Jewish' food..

It's unfortunate that there are places where all the kosher options are low quality. We try to bring in only high quality stuff - luckily we can get very good meats in Canada. If only I could get better dairy, but that's another thread.

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I went to checkout several Kosher butchers in Golders Green. Two I walked out of immediately because it smelled like rotten meat  :shock: and the prices they were charging were highway robbery.

If you want a decent kosher butcher in London, try Greenspan's on Falloden Way, which is pretty close to Golders Green. However, it is expensive.

I have to say in defence of UK kosher meat, I haven't really seen good quality kosher meat anywhere except France and Israel. What I mean by good quality, is not simply a broad range, but animals that have enjoyed exceptionally high qualities of life and are butchered with care and tended to ensure the finest eating. So that when you go to buy beef rib, it is well hung, with good marbling rather than insipid looking and hardly any fat.

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I always enjoyed this story about Kosher Oysters

Edit:

My favorite part of the story:

Rabbis who heard about Chauvin's signs weren't offended -- just amused. Louisiana has a law against falsely labeling nonkosher food as kosher. But few Jews live in south Louisiana outside New Orleans, so the claim wouldn't help Chauvin financially.

"It's absurd," said Yisroel Shiff, rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation in New Orleans. "I can't even say that it's even misleading anyone, because everyone already knows that oysters are not kosher.

Bringing back to the OP's question (sorta). It seems to me that the only people complaining about something being labeled "Kosher" that is really treyf is someone who doesn't keep kosher to begin with. Because a truly observant person wouldn't be in the restaurant to begin with, and would already know that it wasn't kosher.

Edited by Turtleboy (log)

I let Jsmeeker tell me where to eat in Vegas.

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I've had non-Jews order a parve cake due to a milk allergy - and I've sold meats and meals to muslims but I think that the non-Jews who generally came to our restaurant weren't coming because they felt things were healthier.  They wanted the 'Jewish' food..

It's unfortunate that there are places where all the kosher options are low quality.  We try to bring in only high quality stuff - luckily we can get very good meats in Canada.  If only I could get better dairy, but that's another thread.

Pam, what kinds of places did you have in mind when you were referring to places with kosher options? From the responses I've gotten in this thread, it seems like there are only kosher and non-kosher restaurants, and no one seems to know of any restaurants using kosher ingredients.

I also wanted to share with you guys a conversation I had with a girl in my food studies class today. She's Jewish and keeps kosher, but she's flexible enough to go to non-kosher restaurants and just order either meat or dairy. I explained my question to her, and it got her scratching her head, too. She has a lot of non-Jewish friends who buy kosher or halal meat at the supermarket to prepare at home because they perceive those labels to mean they're cleaner, more human, whatever. Or lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy, vegan friends who use kosher labelling to guide their selections. So with all the added adjectives to be found on high-end restaurant menus (organic, free-range, hormone-free, heirloom, certified from Timbuktoo! etc.), why wouldn't a chef want to buy kosher, organic, hormone-free meat (which is indeed available) and appeal to these customers? Because let's face it: those very people who are concerned about hormones and animal rights are also often found to be eating at said high-end restaurants. Am I crazy?

Edited by fido dido (log)
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So...back to my original question...has anyone seen restaurants billing menu ingredients as kosher and thereby implying that the resulting non-kosher dish is healthier?

No, largly in part from the leagle standpoints already mentioned.

Living hard will take its toll...
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I've had non-Jews order a parve cake due to a milk allergy - and I've sold meats and meals to muslims but I think that the non-Jews who generally came to our restaurant weren't coming because they felt things were healthier.  They wanted the 'Jewish' food..

It's unfortunate that there are places where all the kosher options are low quality.  We try to bring in only high quality stuff - luckily we can get very good meats in Canada.  If only I could get better dairy, but that's another thread.

Pam, what kinds of places did you have in mind when you were referring to places with kosher options? From the responses I've gotten in this thread, it seems like there are only kosher and non-kosher restaurants, and no one seems to know of any restaurants using kosher ingredients.

I also wanted to share with you guys a conversation I had with a girl in my food studies class today. She's Jewish and keeps kosher, but she's flexible enough to go to non-kosher restaurants and just order either meat or dairy. I explained my question to her, and it got her scratching her head, too. She has a lot of non-Jewish friends who buy kosher or halal meat at the supermarket to prepare at home because they perceive those labels to mean they're cleaner, more human, whatever. Or lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy, vegan friends who use kosher labelling to guide their selections. So with all the added adjectives to be found on high-end restaurant menus (organic, free-range, hormone-free, heirloom, certified from Timbuktoo! etc.), why wouldn't a chef want to buy kosher, organic, hormone-free meat (which is indeed available) and appeal to these customers? Because let's face it: those very people who are concerned about hormones and animal rights are also often found to be eating at said high-end restaurants. Am I crazy?

Because Kosher isn't "cleaner."

With regards to a cow, kosher mainly has to do with the wy it was slaughtered (let's ignore Glatt for now).

In fact, there was a big story a few months ago about how PETA snuck into a kosher slaughterhouse and took a secret video purporting to show how awful it was.

I let Jsmeeker tell me where to eat in Vegas.

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Pam, what kinds of places did you have in mind when you were referring to places with kosher options?  From the responses I've gotten in this thread, it seems like there are only kosher and non-kosher restaurants, and no one seems to know of any restaurants using kosher ingredients.

Sorry.. I was referring to posts upthread - London's lack of good kosher meat.

I don't really know of any restaurant or food-service estab. not under hashgacha promoting the fact that they are using kosher ingredients (other than my own). I am very aware of the fact that there is a perception that kosher food is better and healthier. I've been asked several times in interviews why kosher food was healthier. I'm not sure where this idea came from.

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  • 8 months later...
...I am very aware of the fact that there is a perception that kosher food is better and healthier.  I've been asked several times in interviews why kosher food was healthier.  I'm not sure where this idea came from.

I know quite a few non-Jews who believe that kosher meat is cleaner. I had an aunt who only bought Empire brand chickens and turkey because of this perception. And she wasn't Jewish in the least.

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