Monday, November 22, 2010

Who is the OK?

At an IAS Term, Part 42 of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, held in and for the County of Kings, at the Courthouse, at Civic Center, Brooklyn, New York, on the 7* day of June, 2005.








- against -

DON JOEL LEVY, et al.,



The following papers numbered I to 9 read on tliis motion:

Papers Numbered

Notice of Motion/Order to Show Cause/

Petition/Cross Motion and

Affidavits (Affirmations) Annexed 1- 2 3-6

Opposing Affidavits (Affirmations) 7-8

Reply Affidavits (Affirmations) 9

Affidavit (Affirmation)

Other Papers

Upon the foregoing papers in this action by plaintiff Chana Levy, as Executrix of the Estate of Eliezer Levy, Deceased (plaintiff) for an accounting, defendants Don Joel Levy (Rabbi Don Yoel), Donel Corporation (Donel Corp.), Committee for the Furtherance of Torah Observance (the CFTO), Va'ad Hakashrut D'America (the Va'ad), and Committee for the Advancement of Torah (CAT) (collectively, defendants) move for summary judgment dismissing plaintiffs complaint as against them. Plaintiff cross moves, pursuant to CPLR 2221, for leave to renew her opposition to defendants' prior motion to dismiss the second cause of action of her amended complaint, which resulted in the October 7, 2004 decision and order dismissing said cause of action. Plaintiff requests such renewal based upon the ground of allegedly newly discovered evidence that the signature of Eliezer Levy (Eliezer) on the April 6, 1998 assignment was forged.

Plaintiff seeks, upon such renewal, an order vacating the October 7,2004 decision and order, and leave to amend her amended complaint to state a claim that the assignment is void and of no force and effect because Eliezer's signature thereon was a forgery. Plaintiff further seeks, in her cross motion, an order, pursuant to CPLR 3126, compelling defendants to produce evidence in response to her Decembe • 8, 2003 notice to produce.

George Goldstein d/b/a O.K. Laboratories was in the business of, inter alia, providing kosher food certification under trademarked symbols, i.e., the Circle K Marks (a circle with the letter k inside). O.K. Laboratories would inspect facilities of food manufacturers and certify fiat their products were prepared in accordance with Jewish dietary (kashruth) laws, and, if certified, the manufacturers were permitted to print the Circle K Marks on their products. In February 1968, pursuant to an Agreemeni of Sale, George Goldstein d/b/a O.K. Laboratories sold to Rabbi Bernard Levy and the Va'ad, a non-profit religious corporation which was formed on December 15, 1963, his business, which included the business of publishing a kosher food guide (the Jewish Homemaker), the Circle K Marks, the goodwill thereof, and the renewal of contracts with companies which with George Goldstein did business.

While the Agreement of Sale did not allocate the assets as between Rabbi Bernard Levy and the Va'ad, Rabbi Bernard Levy allocated to himself the Circle K Marks and the right to license them, and he allocated the renewal contracts and client lists to the Va'ad for use in its kashruth certification business.

Beginning with the purchase of George Goldstein's kashruth certification business and continuing until September 1971, Rabbi Bernard Levy, as the owner of the Circle K Marks, licensed ihe Circle K Marks to the Va'ad, which continued its operations of providing kashruth certification to food manufacturers and using the Circle K Marks to identify products which met the standards represented by these marks, as set by Rabbi Bernard Levy. Rabbi Bernard Levy and his wife, Thelma Levy, were trustees of the Va'ad and there were four other trustees. Rabbi Bernard Levy was also employed by the Va'ad and received a salary from it.

In September 1971, Rabbi Bernard Levy and others formed the CFTO, a non-profit religious corporation which succeeded to the Va'ad in providing kashruth certification under the Circle K Marks. Rabbi Bernard Levy, together with Zvi Gartenhaus and Frumma Gartenhaus (his son-in-law and daughter), were trustees of the CFTO, and Rabbi Bernard Levy was employed by and received a salary from the CFTO.

Both the Va'ad and the CFTO operated under the trade name, O.K. Laboratories and variants thereof (OK Labs, Organized Kashuth Laboratories). Rabbi Bernard Levy licensed the Circle K Marks and the O.K. Laboratories trade names to the Va'ad and the CFTO on a royalty-free, exclusive basis. All fees paid by the food manufacturers were paid to the Va'ad and the CFTO.

Rabbi Bernard Levy died on April 4,1987, and, in December 1988, Thelma Levy, as the Executrix of his estate, filed a Certificate of Discontinuance of Business of O.K. Laboratories, "for the reason that [she]... ha[d] sold, transferred and assigned all of the said unincorporated business (including, without limitation, the goodwill and business name)" to Rabbi Don Yoel and Eliezer, who were her and Rabbi Bernard Levy's sons. The December 1988 assignment provided that Thelma Levy, as Executrix of the Estate of Bernard Levy, assigned to Rabbi Don Yoel and Eliezer "all of the interest of said Estate in and to the unincorporated business O.K. Laboratories, including without limitation, the goodwill and the name of said business." By a separate assignment dated December 29, 1988, Thelma Levy, as Executrix, assigned to Rabbi Don Yoel and Eliezer, doing business as O.K. Laboratories, "all rights, title, and interest in and to the [Circle K trademark (one of the Circle K Marks^L toeether with the goodwill of the business symbolized by the mark." The Certificate of Discontinuance of Business further provided that Rabbi Don Yoel and Eliezer would conduct business in partnership and would simultaneously file a Business Certificate for Partners.

A Business Certificate for Partners, which certified that Rabbi Don Yoel and Eliezer were conducting business as members of a partnership under the name of O.K. Laboratories, was filed by them on December 29, 1988. There was no written partnership agreement relating to this partnership. As partners, Eliezer and Rabbi Don Yoel continued licensing the use of the Circle K Marks royalty-free to the CFTO. After Rabbi Bernard Levy's death, Thelma Levy, Malka Levy, and Rabbi Don Yoel became the trustees of the CFTO.

On October 9,1996 Rabbi Don Yoel and Eliezer formed the corporation, Donel Corp., under Business Corporation Law § 402, with each of them holding 50% of its shares. By assignment dated January 15,1997, Rabbi Don Yoel and Eliezer assigned to Donel Corp. "all right, title, and interest in [the Circle K Marks, the OK Labs trademark, and other marks owned by them], together with the goodwill of the business symbolized by and associated with said rademarks, service marks and certification marks." On December 16,1997, CAT, a successor to the CFTO, was formed as a non-profit religious corporation. The trustees of CAT were Rabbi Don Yoel, Rikal Fogelman, and Thelma Levy. Rabbi Don Yoel was the president of CAT and Thelma Levy was its secretary and treasurer. All kosher certification agreements held by the CFTO were assigned to CAT. CAT provided kashruth certification to manufacturers, and operated under the trade name O.K. Laboratories. Donel Corp. licensed CAT to use the Circle K Marks royalty-free.

By a document entitled "General Assignment," dated April 6,1998, Eliezer assigned his 50% shares of Donel Corp. to Rabbi Don Yoel. The assignment is executed by Eliezer in two places and by Thelma Levy. It contains a statement by Thelma Levy that as long as she and E.iezer are alive, she "will use [her] influence as a director of [CAT] that [he] should be compensated at a salary of $81,640 - - which will be subject to cost of living increases," and that "[t]his is with the assumption that [he] will perform [his] duties in the same manner as [he] performed them in the past."

On July 29, 1998, Eliezer died. On June 9, 2003, plaintiff, as the Executrix of Eliezer's estate, commenced this action, setting forth a cause of action for an accounting of the partnership between Eliezer and Rabbi Don Yoel. On June 30, 2004, plaintiff amended her comp aint to assert a second cause of action for a judgment declaring the April 6, 1998 assignment of Eliezer's shares in Donel Corp. to Rabbi Don Yoel null and void based upon the ground that it was made for inadequate consideration. By decision and order dated October 7, 2004, the court found that since the assignment was in writing and signed, the amount of consideration could not affect its validity, and that the assignment was valid and enforceaVle. It, therefore, dismissed plaintiffs second cause of action.

Defendants' instant motion seeks summaryjudgment dismissing plaintiffs complaint, which consists of her remaining cause of action for an accounting. In addressing such motion, the court notes that the six-year Statute of Limitations for an action seeking an accounting begins to run when the partnership is dissolved (Partnership Law § 74; CPLR 213 [1]; Mills v O'Donnell, 188 AD2d 692, 693 [1992]). Thus, where partners transfer a partnership's assets to a corporation that takes over the business of the partnership, the partnership is considered dissolved upon such transfer, and the cause of action for an

accounting accrues at that time (see Judelson v Weintraub, 55 AD2d 906, 907 [1977]; Hutchinson v Sperry, 158 App Div 704, 708 [1913], affd 214 NY 616 [1915]).

Defendants, in support of their motion, assert that the partnership between Eliezer and Rabbi Do a Yoel was dissolved when, on January 15,1997, they assigned the Circle K Marks, "together with the goodwill of the business symbolized by and associated with said trademarks, service marks and certification marks" to Donel Corp. They assert that the Statute of Limitations on plaintiffs cause of action for an accounting, therefore, accrued at that time, and, since plaintiff failed to commence this action until more than six years from that time, her present action is barred by the applicable Statute of Limitations (see Mills, 188 AD2d at 693-694; Hutchinson, 158 App Div at 708).

Plaintiff, in opposition, argues that the partnership's kashruth certification business was bein^ run and carried on through the various religious corporations (i.e., the Va'ad, the CFTO, ar d CAT), which employed the kashruth inspectors, paid their salaries and all other expenses of the business, and collected all of the fees paid by the food manufacturers who wished to be certified. She states that the Levy family received their personal income from the religious corporations, and that Donel Corp. received no income and held the trademark as its only asset which, on a tax return, it assigned a value of only $2,500. Plaintiff contends that no p.rt of the kosher certification business whatsoever was passed on to Donel Corp. other than the ownership of the Circle K Marks, which was licensed back to the religious corporation, and that this trademark was merely one component of the partnership business of Eliezer and Rabbi Don Yoel. She argues that the kashruth certification business did not merge into Donel Corp., but that, instead, the actual partnership business continued to be carried or through the religious corporations. She claims that defendants have thus denied her and her children a share in the family business.

On a motion for summary judgment, however, once the moving party has established that it is entitled to summary judgment, the opposing party must lay bare its proof and demonstrate the existence of a triable issue of fact {Roberts v Rubio, 189 AD2d 867, 867 [1993]). Here, plaintiff has failed to submit any evidentiary facts showing that after the ownership interests in the Circle K Marks were transferred to Donel Corp., any other business was conducted by Eliezer and Rabbi Don Yoel as partners. Rather, the evidentiary facts subr litted show that prior to the January 15, 1997 assignment to Donel Corp., the only business that Rabbi Don Yoel and Eliezer had conducted as partners was to hold the ownership interest in, and right to exploit, the Circle K Marks. They did not perform any services, but only set the standards for using the Circle K Marks and licensed the right to use the marks royalty-free to the religious corporations. Both before and after the transfer of the Circle K Marks to Donel Corp., the certification of kosher products was carried out by the religious corporations.

As noted above, the trustees and officers of the religious corporations were persons other than Eliezer. There is no evidence that Eliezer received any profits from the religious corporations, and the evidence discloses that Eliezer never reported income from any purported interest in the kashruth certification business on his tax returns. Eliezer is not alleged to have exercised control over the religious corporations through which the purported partnership is alleged to have conducted its affairs. Indeed, at plaintiffs deposition, plaintiff testified that Eliezer did not say anything to her that indicated that he had an ownership interest in a kosher supervision business, and she could not recall him ever telling her that he was a partner in a kosher certification business, or him ever complaining that he was not receiving his share of any such business.

Moreover, Eliezer had no ownership interest in the religious corporations. The religious corporations are subject to article 10 of the Religious Corporations Law, and the Religious Corporations Law prescribes and limits the powers and duties of the trustees and other officers {see Religious Corporations Law § 5). The powers of the religious corporations with respect to the handling of funds are expressly set forth in the Religious Corporations Law. The assets of a religious corporation do not belong to any one individual or group, and the trustees must administer the religious corporation's property or revenues "in accordance with the discipline, rules and usages of the corporation and of the ecclesiastical governing body, if any, to which the corporation is subject" (Walker Memorial Bapist Church v Saunders, 285 NY 462, 467 [1941], quoting Religious Corporations Law § 5; see also Beth Jacob ofBoro Park v Morgen Appliances, 196 Misc 677, 678 [1949]). Here, pla'ntiff has not shown that Eliezer ever received any monies from business with, through, or conducted by the religious corporations during his lifetime other than receiving a salary for work performed by him.

Plaintiff points to the fact that in a March 30, 1995 letter (submitted in connection with trademark infringement litigation), defendants stated that Rabbi Don Yoel was a principal nember of and employee of CFTO. This same letter, however, states that while Rabbi Don Yoel and Eliezer owned the trademark and licensed it to O.K. Laboratories and were its employees, "neither [of them] conducted business as O.K. Laboratories or otherwise performed certification services other than as an employee of O.K. Laboratories." Thus, plaintiff cannot establish that a partnership continued to conduct business by relying upon the kashnth certification work carried out by the religious corporations that Eliezer did not control and from which he did not receive any profits.

PU intiff srelianceupon5/a«£v5/a«A:(222 AD2d 851,852-853 [1995]), which states the established general principle that persons can form a corporation and still be partners as between fiemselves, is misplaced. Blank (222 AD2d at 852) involved a motion to dismiss, pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (7), wherein the alleged facts in the complaint were required to be accepted as true and accorded the benefit of every possible inference in the plaintiffs favor. S'milarly, plaintiffs reliance upon Sagamore Corp. v Diamond West Energy Corporation (806 F2d 373,379 [2dCir 1986]), Arditi vDubitzky (354 F2d483,486-487 [2d Cir 1965]), and Paretti v Cavalier Label Co. (702 F Supp 81, 84 [SD NY 1988]), is also misplaced. In Sagamore (806 F2d at 379), there were evidentiary facts that the parties therein c1 early intended the joint venture agreement to survive the formation of the corporation; in Arditi (354 F2d at 487), the plaintiff was permitted to show that it was the intention of the parties to set up the corporation only as a means of carrying out a joint venture; and in Paretti (702 F Supp at 84), there was evidentiary proof of an ongoing partnership conducted in corporate form. Here, plaintiff, in response to defendants' prima facie showing on this motion, has failed to sustain her burden of producing any evidentiary proof so as to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether any partnership activity took place following the January 15, 1997 assignment to Donel Corp. Consequently, defendants' motion for summary judgment must be granted {see CPLR 213 [1], 3211 [a] [5], 3212 [b]; Partnership Law § 74).

Plaintiff, by her cross motion, now seeks leave to renew her opposition to defendants' prior motion to dismiss her second cause of action. She bases her request for renewal on the ground that she has newly discovered evidence. Specifically, she asserts that she has now retained new counsel, who retained two handwriting experts. These two handwriting experts have coir pared the two signatures of Eliezcr on a copy of the April 6. 199,9 General Assignment with original cancelled checks bearing Eliezer's signature, and opine that the signatures on the assignment are forgeries. Defendants' handwriting expert disputes the findings of plaintiff s experts and points out that such experts did not review the original document. Defendants also point to plaintiff s deposition testimony that Eliezer told her that "he signed some paper" that would "assure that after [Thelma Levy] passed away [Rabbi] Don [Y]o J1 would keep paying him," and that the signature on the assignment "look[ed] like" Eliezer's signature.

In any event, is well settled that "[a] motion for leave to renew must be 'based upon new facts not offered on the prior motion that would change the prior determination,' and the movant must state a 'reasonable justification for the failure to present such facts on the prior motion'" (Yarde v New York City Tr. Auth., 4 AD3d 352, 353 [2004], quoting CPLR 2221 [e]; see also Greene v New York City Hous. Auth., 283 AD2d 458, 459 [2001]). A motion jp renew j5 "-npj a sccpnd chance freely given to parties w&Q have nv< exerei'seo! due diligence in making their first factual presentation'" (Welch Foods v Wilson, 247 AD2d 830, 830-831 [1998], quoting Mundo v SMSHasenclever Maschinenfabrik, 224 AD2d 343, 344 [ 1996]). If the evidence that is asserted to be newly discovered could have been discovered with due diligence, the motion to renew should be denied (Welch Foods, 247 AD2d at 830-831; Mundo, 224 AD2d at 344; Ulster Sav. Bank v Goldman, 183 Misc 2d 893, 895-896 [2000]).

Here, plaintiff, to justify her failure to submit these expert opinions in opposing defendant' prior motion, only asserts that she did not previously submit this allegedly new evidence of forgery because the idea of forgery would not have occurred to her in her "darkest dreams." Such assertion, however, does not provide reasonable justification for renewal of the motion. Plaintiff has been in possession of the April 6,1998 assignment since it was produced to her in a prior litigation by defendants in February 2000, more than five years ago. Plaintiff does not adequately explain why she did not seek to have the assignment analyzed earlier {see Greene, 283 AD2d at 459; Cole Hatchard v Grand Union, 270 AD2d 447, 448 [2000]; Welch Foods, 247 AD2d at 831; Mundo, 224 AD2d at 344).

Moreover, there are no newly discovered facts, but only new opinions by experts hired by plainti rf concerning the veracity of a document which plaintiff has had in her possession for at least five years. This does not constitute a legitimate basis for renewal {see Sample v Levada, 8 AD3d 465, 467 [2004]; Matter of Shapiro v State of New York, 259 AD2d 753, 753-754 [1999]; Welch Foods, 247 AD2d at 830-831; Mundo, 224 AD2d at 344).

Plaintiff, in support of her cross motion, also argues that Donel Corp.'s Shareholders' Agreement provided a mechanism for the transfer of shares which was not followed with respect to Eliezer's shares. Such argument, however, is a new argument, which was not raised in opposition to defendants' prior motion, and a motion to reargue was not timely brought herein (see CPLR 2221 [d]; Foley v Roche, 68 AD2d 558, 567-568 [1979]). Furtherm >re, parties to a written agreement may modify it and vary or waive its terms {see e.g. General Elec. Capital Commercial Automotive Finance v Spartan Motors, Ltd., 246 AD2d 41, 52 [1998]; Matter of Estate of Prime, 184 Misc 2d 796, 799 [2000]). Consequently, inasmuch as plaintiff has failed to set forth a valid basis for renewal, or any good cause shown to replead her second cause of action, her cross motion, to the extent that it seeks such relief, must be denied.

Plaintiff, by her cross motion, also seeks an order compelling defendants to produce financial records of O.K. Laboratories, Donel Corp., the Va'ad, the CFTO, and CAT. However, "discovery as to fiscal matters in an action for an accounting may not be obtained in the usual situation unless and until [the] plaintiff establishes a right to an accounting" (Woltherv Samuel, 110 AD2d 506,507 [19S5]; see also LSYIntl. vKerzner, 140AD2d256, 256 [1988]). Here, as discussed above, plaintiff has failed to demonstrate such a right, and plaintiff has not demonstrated how these financial records are necessary in order for her to oppose defendants' motion (see CPLR 3212 [f]).

Plaintiff asserts that financial discovery will show that the corporations were merely subordina-e entities in an overall partnership which ran a multi-million dollar business, of which the trademark was just one component. To support this assertion, plaintiff only states that these documents should demonstrate the payment of salaries and personal expenses to members of the Levy family. The payment of salaries to employees of the religious corporations, though, is admitted by defendants, and plaintiffs speculation regarding improprieties in pnvments cannot establish any interest by Eliezer in the alleged partnership at issue or provide a basis for postponing the granting of defendants' motion for summary judgment (see generally Dunn v 726 Main & Pine, Inc., 255 AD2d 981,982 [1998]; Limpar Realty Corp. vUswiss Realty Holding, 112 AD2d 834,837 [1985]; La ScalavD'Angelo, 104 AD2d 930, 931 [1984]). Therefore, plaintiffs cross motion, insofar as it seeks an order compelling the production of these documents, must be denied.

Accordingly, defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing plaintiffs complaint as against them, is granted. Plaintiffs cross motion for leave to renew her opposition to defendants' prior motion to dismiss her second cause of action, and an order, pursuant to CPLR 3126, compelling defendants to produce evidence in response to her December 8, 2003 notice to produce, is denied in its entirety.

This constitutes the decision, order, and judgment of the court.

JUDGE of the Supreme Court

Thursday, June 3, 2010

ALL Shnapps, Whiskeys, etc must have a reliable hashgocha

ALL Shnapps, Whiskeys, etc must have a reliable hashgocha. This list should not be interperted as allowing any without a reliable Hashgocha. Chometz would also come into play if you want to give someone a gift.

The Mouse stands alone-A lesson in life

The Mouse stands alone-a lesson in life

Article appeared in Hamodia פרשת ויחי תשס"ו
There is popular misconception that we can close our eyes to issues that fall under the category of "NIMBY" (Not in my backyard). The following allegory illustrates how what's not in your backyard may in reality be much closer than you think.

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. "What food might that contain?" the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house! The chicken clucked and scratched her head and said "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it's no consequence to me. I can't be bothered by it".

The mouse turned to the goat and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house! The goat sympathized but said "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers".

The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house! The cow said "Wow" Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose." So the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.

That very night, a sound was heard throughout the house-like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmers wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see that it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap caught.

The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with chicken soup, so the farmer went to the farmyard to fetch the main ingredient for the fresh chicken soup. But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the goat. The farmer's wife's condition wasn't improving. So many people came to the house that the farmer slaughtered the cow to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness."I warned them all-but they knew it was only my problem". Remember, each of us is a vital thread in another persons tapestry; So the next time you hear someone in our community is facing a problem and you think it doesn't concern you, remember-when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED! (Wake up and smell the coffee!) עורו ישנים וכו

Early Shabbos- What are the relevant Halachos?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Probing kashrut pitfalls in Jerusalem

Probing Kashrut Pitfalls In Jerusalem: An Interview with Investigative Journalist Yechiel Spira
By: Steve K. Walz, Jewish Press Israel Correspondent

Date: Tuesday, May 18 2010

Yechiel Spira is part of a new breed of Internet-based Orthodox investigative journalist. The native New Yorker, who made aliyah in 1984, is on the front lines of Jerusalem's "almost anything goes" kosher-food industry via his Jerusalem Kosher News website (

In an interview with The Jewish Press, Spira spoke about why he started Jerusalem Kosher News and the effect his reporting has had on Israel's kashrut industry.

The Jewish Press: Had you ever dabbled in journalism or kashrut before starting Jerusalem Kosher News?

Spira: I have a background in catering, the kosher meat industry and other food-related fields. I would like to stress that I am not a rabbi but a kashrut investigator/journalist. My goal is to bring readers accurate information, to permit people to make their own decision or provide them with sufficient information to probe a kashrut matter with a rav.

When and why did you start Jerusalem Kosher News?

I launched it about 30 months ago, with the hope of educating the public on the standards prevalent in the Israeli marketplace, as well as with the belief that an informed kosher consumer should make his or her own decisions based on knowledge, not false presumptions. I came to the realization that people, including my own family, haven't a clue as to the kashrut pitfalls in Jerusalem.

Even residents of the religious neighborhoods like Har Nof are sometimes unaware of the problems. I decided to begin educating my children and my close friends and somehow that snowballed into creating JKN.

How many people in Israel and abroad read and/or subscribe?

Thousands subscribe - it's free of charge, by the way - and the website continues to climb. We're passing 170,000 monthly viewers, and JKN also features a newly-launched Facebook page.

I have also developed a working relationship with many kosher agencies abroad that regularly send me e-mails and call me with requests to probe matters of kashrut for them. I do my best to cooperate, time permitting. Remember, this is a volunteer effort. I must also make a parnassah in addition to my kosher reporting.

Does the Chief Rabbinate cooperate with you? What about other kashrut agencies?

The staff of the Chief Rabbinate are generally very cooperative, especially Rabbi Rafi Yochai, who heads the Kashrut Enforcement Division. Some of the private agencies, the so-called badatzim, are hesitant. Perhaps they fear my probing will tarnish their names.

The attitude in Israel is different from what it is in North America. While there should be transparency, I have difficulty getting rabbonim to give me their names on the phone. They'll ask, "Why do you want to know?" They are seemingly unaccustomed to giving relevant information to a curious consumer.

I am working to get local residents into the habit of phoning kashrut agencies more frequently to demand explanations. At the end of the day, the many legitimate kashrut agencies are making a handsome living and, with very few exceptions, are not operating out of the goodness of their hearts.

Do the kashrut agencies respond to some aspects of your reporting?

Only when the attack is negative, and then they usually come out swinging. Once they see that my reports are supported by the facts, they calm down. But there have been some extremely uncomfortable moments, threats and shouts. But here I am, still doing my thing.

What are the biggest scandals or problems associated with kashrut you've found in Jerusalem?

The most common, and perhaps the most serious, involve stores advertising themselves as "kosher" or "kosher-mehadrin" while lacking legitimate kosher certification. Even more disturbing is the fact that some members of the religious community continue to patronize these establishments. Some people are unaware and some are unable to navigate the kashrut scene in Hebrew - and that includes tourists and new immigrants alike.

Is the Machane Yehuda market becoming a big kashrut problem?

It is not beginning to become a problem - it has always been a problem. It is a microcosm of the entire city. The difference is that the market is concentrated and home to hundreds of thousands of shoppers on a weekly basis. Thus, the problems are more painful since so many people fall prey to their own false kashrut assumptions.

The "shuk" is a difficult business community, one that the state kashrut enforcement people prefer to avoid.

What should American tourists look for when patronizing a falafel/pizza store or even a meat restaurant?

I don't rate agencies, but my pocket kashrut guide and website list the acceptable hechsherim, as well as the growing list of unauthorized hechsherim as defined by the Chief Rabbinate.

One must discard the notion that everything in Israel - even Jerusalem - is kosher. It's a noble dream - but simply not true. As is true in your home community, if you do not recognize a hechsher, turn around and walk out. Don't make the assumption that it is OK even if you see frum-looking people eating there. They too may have been duped.

Copyright 2008

Monday, May 3, 2010

Beth Jacob V. Bais Chinuch Li'Bonus

Beth Jacob Teachers V. Bais Chinuch Le'Bunos

The court ruling speaks for itself. Conflict of interest just does not matter to these "religious Jews".

Furthermore Rabbi Hillel David is alleged to have disassociated himself with this Bais Din in disgust but the Bais Din falsely advertises his name which is despicable.

The Bais Din charges litigants on a per hour basis so effectively it has an incentive to prolong proceedings. if it did not, it would not be able to cover its dayonim's fat salaries. So its claims that its dayonim are not paid on an hourly basis, while probably true are highly misleading.

Furthermore I ask the following questions about this esteemed Bais Din

1) Why does it only use English dates and not Jewish dates on its Hazmonos?

2) Why does it send hazmonos out to people when the other Baal Din is in Arko'oys, and it should establish this fact first before sending hazmonos out?

3) Why does it refuse to provide explanations on its rulings?

4) Why does it allow corrupt toanim in its Bais Din?

5) Why are the fees charged in excess of the schar betaila of the judges?

Matter of Beth Jacob Teachers Seminary Inc. v Beis Chinuch Le’Bunos
2009 NY Slip Op 50504(U)

Decided on March 24, 2009

Supreme Court, Kings County

Schneier, J.

Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law 431.

This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.

Decided on March 24, 2009

Supreme Court, Kings County

In the Matter of the Application of Beth Jacob Teachers Seminary Inc., Petitioner, for an Order Pursuant to Article 75 of the CPLR Confirming the Arbitration Award dated April 11, 2008,


Beis Chinuch Le’Bunos – Bas Melech, a/k/a Bas Melech School for Girls, Respondent.

















Martin Schneier, J.

Petitioner, Beth Jacob Teachers Seminary Inc. (Beth Jacob) petitions this court to confirm the written arbitration award pursuant to CPLR 7510. Respondent Beis Chinuch Le’Burnos-Bas Melech (Bas Melech) cross-moves to vacate the arbitration award pursuant to CPLR 7511.


Petitioner Beth Jacob, is a domestic religious corporation. Beth Jacob owns real property located at 4421 15th Avenue in Brooklyn, NY, which on July 30, 2006, it leased to respondent, Bas Melech, also a religious corporation. When a dispute pertaining to the lease arose, the parties agreed to submit the dispute to binding arbitration before a Rabbinical Court. The parties then chose and agreed on January 24, 2008, to have their dispute heard by the Rabbinical Court of Tzedek Umishpot (the “Beth Din”).

Rabbi Yerachmiel Barash is employed as the Beth Din’s secretary and clerk; and is married to an employee of Beth Jacob. This marital relationship was not disclosed to Bas Melech when Bas Melech had agreed to binding arbitration by this Beth Din.

During the second arbitration hearing on March 17, 2008 at the Beth Din Bas Melech claimed that the backyard of an adjacent apartment in a building not owned by Beth Jacob but by Mr. Joseph was part of the premises it had rented from Beth Jacob. Beth Jacob argued that it was not and could not have included the backyard area as part of the rental to Bas [*2]Melech because, Beth Jacob first rented the adjacent apartment after it had entered into the rental agreement with Bas Melech.

At the second Beth Din hearing, Mrs. Barash was telephoned at Beth Jacob by her husband, Rabbi Barash, who was present during this entire Beth Din hearing, for verification of the rental date of the apartment and backyard from Mr. Joseph. Rabbi Barash then reported to the Beth Din that Beth Jacob’s version of the timing of the rental agreements was the correct one.

It was at this second Beth Din hearing that Bas Melech learned for the first time of the marital relationship between Rabbi Barash and an employee of Beth Jacob.

Rabbi Yitzchok Kaplan, who appeared at the Beth Din on behalf of Beth Jacob, in his affirmation averred in pertinent part that:

“4. Prior to the Beth Din proceedings, I neither knew or ever had

any connection with Yerachmiel Barash, the Beth Din’s clerk, and did not know that he was employed by the Beth Din.”

In support of the petition, Beth Jacob also submitted the affidavit of Rabbi Daniel Geldzahler who served on the rabbinical panel that heard the dispute. Rabbi Geldzahler averred in pertinent part:

“10. On March 17, 2008, during the early part of the second hearing session, Bas Melech claimed that included in their lease with Beth Jacob was a backyard area of an adjacent building, 4407 15th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, owned by Mr. Joseph. Beth Jacob disputed that the area was not and could not have been included in the lease because at the time of Bas Melech’s lease with Beth Jacob that area had not yet been rented by Beth Jacob from Mr. Joseph.

11. At that time, Rabbi Kaplan of Beth Jacob mentioned the employment of Rabbi Barash’s wife and suggested that she be called to verify the rental date of said backyard area. This suggestion was made in front of the Dayanim and Rabbi Welz of Bas Melech. The Dayanim had no prior knowledge of the employment of Mrs. Barash, they first learned of it then, at the same time Rabbi Welz did.

12. Rabbi Barash verified the rental date information by calling Mrs. Barash. This telephone call was also made in the presence of the Dayanim and both parties. Rabbi Welz did not make any objection at that time. Additionally, he has never questioned the veracity of the information confirmed by Mrs. Barash, nor provided any evidence refuting the [*3]information confirmed by Mrs. Barash.”

Rabbi Berish Weltz, who appeared at the Beth Din on behalf of Bas Melech averred in his affidavit in pertinant part:

“16. Thereafter, Rabbi Geldzhaler himself volunteered the information that (i) Mrs. Barash worked for petitioner Beth Jacob and (ii) was involved in managing the relevant property, which is used in part as Beth Jacob’s dormitory…

17. Rabbi Geldzhaler directed that Rabbi Barash call his wife at Beth Jacob to verify when Beth Jacob leased the Joseph Property. Rabbi Barash did so on a private line, and the entire conversation between husband and wife was heard by no one else notwithstanding that Mrs. Barash’s employer was then sitting as a party before the Beth Din.”

By letter dated March 19, 2008, two days after the second hearing, Bas Melech notified the Beth Din that it was “cancelling the arbitration agreement because of the relationship between the Beth Din and Beth Jacob, and “agrees to sign a new arbitration agreement before another Rabbinical Court”. On April 11, 2008, the Beth Din issued its decision which Beth Jacob now seeks to confirm.

Neither of the parties submitted to the Court the written lease which would contain all of the terms and conditions of their rental agreement. Beth Jacob submits only a one-half page “Negotiation notes on leasing the Beth Jacob building to the Bnos Bas Melech organization” signed by the parties.


CPLR Section 7511 in pertinent part states:

“Vacating or modifying award. “(b) Grounds for vacating.1. The award shall be vacated on the application of a party who either participated in the arbitration or was served with a notice of intention to arbitrate if the court finds that the rights of that party were prejudiced by:…(ii) partiality of an arbitrator appointed as a neutral, except where the award was by confession.”

“[T]he failure of an arbitrator to disclose facts which reasonably may support an inference of bias is grounds to vacate the award under CPLR 7511″ (J.P.Stevens & Co. v. Rytex Corp., 34 NY2d 123, 125 [1974]; Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York v. Solow Building Co., LLC 279 AD2d 431 (1st Dept 2001)).

“Although courts generally will not interfere with the judgment of arbitrators, arbitration awards are not to be confirmed without question where there is evidence of misconduct prejudicing the rights of the parties” (Goldfinger v. Lisker, 68 NY2d 225, 231 [1986]). The J.P Stevens decision makes clear that, although the presumption is in favor of full disclosure, not every relationship is grounds for the disqualification of an arbitrator (J.P Stevens, supra).

The material facts are not in dispute. Rabbi Barash, an employee of the Beth Din, is married to an employee of Beth Jacob. Regardless of how the relationship was disclosed, it is undisputed that Bas Melech did not learn of the marital relationship between Rabbi Barash and Beth Jacob’s employee until the second hearing at the Beth Din. This relationship was significant enough that it should have been disclosed by either the Beth Din or Beth Jacob prior to the agreement by Bas Melech to binding arbitration by this Beth Din.

The fact that the Beth Din’s clerk, who was present during the entire arbitration hearing, was married to an employee of Beth Jacob in conjunction with the fact that the clerk informed the Beth Din of the results of a private telephone conversation he had with his wife during the hearing with respect to one of the issues in dispute which resolved this issue in Beth Jacob’s favor creates more than the requisite inference of partiality and bias. Thus, this case is one where the Courts “general reluctance to disturb arbitration awards must yield…to the clear necessity of safeguarding the integrity of the arbitration process” (Goldfinger, supra at 232 -233)


Based on the foregoing, the respondent’s cross-motion to vacate the arbitration award pursuant to CPLR 7511 is granted and the arbitration award is vacated. The petitioner’s petition to confirm the arbitration award is denied and the petition is dismissed.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

_____________________ [*4]


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Robert Frank V. The Orthodox Union






Vs. File No.:

ECF 10-3378 LMM


Defendants, ===================================X


COMES NOW, the Plaintiffs, ROBERT FRANK and BARBARA FRANK by and through their attorney, Sanford

Kutner, and for a Complaint against the Defendant, state and allege as follows:


1. This action is for declaratory and injunctive relief and for damages to redress the deprivation of rights secured to the plaintiff by 21 U.S.C. §343(a) et seq, misbranded and/or mislabeled food.

2. The jurisdiction of this Court is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343 (4), conferring original jurisdiction upon this court of any civil action to recover damages or to secure equitable relief under any Act of Congress under the Declaratory Judgment Statute, 28 U.S.C. §2201 et seq. 2


3. The plaintiff, ROBERT FRANK, a male citizen of The Bronx, State of New York, was employed initially by the ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS OF AMERICA ( "the OU") to be a mashgiach at Montefiore Medical Center ("Montefiore").

4. The plaintiff, BARBARA FRANK, a female citizen of The Bronx, State of New York, was employed by the OU as a mashgiach for certain kosher events which were distinct and separate from Montefiore Medical Center.

5. The defendant, UNION OF ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS OF AMERICA ("OU") is responsible for kosher supervision, nationwide, which includes inspection and certification of Montefiore Medical Center to insure strict kosher guidelines are maintained, utilizing the symbol of the letter "U" encircled by the letter "O" which can be found on the label and signage of those food items that OU has certified as being Kosher to insure strict kosher guidelines are maintained.


6. Robert Frank was employed as a mashgiach (kosher food supervisor) at Montefiore.

7. His duties were to inspect food deliveries to prevent non kosher food from entering Montefiore’s kitchen and cafeteria, then being cooked and served to hospital patients and cafeteria patrons.

8. His duties also included making periodic inspections through the food preparation areas to insure that all the kosher laws were being followed by the kitchen and cafeteria staff, since they received very little kosher food preparation training by Montefiore and/or the OU.

9. Robert Frank is exceptionally observant in the Jewish religion. , in orthodox rituals, observances, and food.

10. The plaintiff strictly observes the Sabbath, lays tefilin every morning; prays three times a day, follows all orthodox rituals; observances, including fasting several days a year; maintains a strictly kosher home; eats only food that is strictly kosher when not at home; and lives the daily life of being an Orthodox Jew..

11. For several months there was one dishwashing machine to wash kosher products at Montefiore. Jewish law requires separation of dairy ("milchik") and meat ("fleishik") food and utensils; therefore one dishwasher is required to wash milchik and another is required to wash fleishik food utensils.

12. Even though notification was made by the plaintiff concerning the dishwasher situation to Frank’s supervisor, Rabbi Barry Kwiatkovsky, head mashgiach, who was approved and appointed by OU to Montefior, and Rabbi Dov Schreier, the OU rabbinic coordinator many times over a several month period resolution was not finalized for eleven months.

13. During this eleven month period, Jewish patients and family who kept Kosher as well as doctors and staff from Yeshiva Medical School were unknowingly subjected to consuming food that was not prepared in accordance with orthodox kosher dietary standards.

14. Frank was under orders by both the OU and Montefiore to violate his religious convictions (9th COMMANDMENT Exodus 20:16,"Thou salt not bear false witness against thy neighbor") and lie to anyone who inquires of any kosher violations that Frank had witnessed, and then tell them that everything was 100% kosher even if he had personal knowledge that there were kosher violations.

15. On March 6, 2008 , Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, executive vice president of the OU and Eleizer Eldelman executive director of OU were formally notified of numerous kosher violations that existed at Montefiore, about which Frank had previously found fault and requested assistance of the OU to intervene with Montefiore and rectify the situation.

16. Frank had made numerous other attempts to report the kosher violations at Montefiore, first to Montefiore and then to OU, but to no avail.

17. The Montefiore hospital kitchen was not maintained at a 100% kosher level, because the OU was negligent in their kosher supervision of Montefiore hospital and allowed the kosher infractions to continue for a long period of time.

18. In the "Medical Staff House Staff Orientation Manual 2005" under FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICES which listed Chris Trivlis as the Director of Food and Nutrition Services. The Manual went on to state, "At the Einstein division all meals are prepared in a kitchen under Rabbinical supervision in accordance with Kosher Jewish dietary laws." OU was the certifying agency.

19. Only after Frank went to the media, including the New York Post, and exposed the kosher problems did OU conduct any sort of investigation into the kosher violations that Mr. Frank had witnessed and documented by both audio and video tape.

20. After Frank went to the media, OU claimed that they had an "independent investigator" to research the kosher conditions at Montefiore.

21. The alleged independent investigator was apparently on the OU staff at the time of the inspection.

22. Even though OU became aware of many kashruth (kosher) violations, a set of Jewish dietary laws in accordance with Jewish halakha.

23. The violations, included allowing Montefiore Medical Center kitchen employees to bring non kosher foods directly into the kitchen for their personal use, which created an environment in which the plaintiff was prevented from doing his job, i.e., which was to keep non kosher food out of the Montefiore Medical. kitchen,

24. No action was initiated by OU to rectify the bringing in of non kosher foods.

25. After Frank went to the OU with video documentation of kosher violations, OU required all mashgiachs at Montefiore to sign a letter of confidentiality which would have prohibited knowledge of kosher violations at Montefiore to be publicized and/or disseminated outside of Montefiore.

26. Frank did not sign the letter of confidentiality knowing from experience that OU would not fulfill their obligation and Frank would be silenced

27. On December 17, 2009, the plaintiff’s employment was terminated by Montefiore after advising two internet blogs, which, in turn, informed the public of the poor kosher conditions that existed at Montefiore.

28. OU silenced Frank, the advocate for insuring that Jewish people who observe the rules of keeping Kosher.

29. OU allegedly has used "strong arm tactics" to force mashgiachs and/or Rabbis to certify products that are not Kosher for fear of losing their livelihood as what happened to Frank.

30. Frank felt that by going public that there would be a public outcry and that OU and Montefiore would have to take action to repair the poor kosher conditions at Montefiore hospital.

31. Frank put his religious convictions as an observant Jew well ahead of his own personal welfare, knowing that his medical benefits would be terminated for him and his wife. He would rather suffer financially than go against his religious beliefs.

32. Frank was formally reprimanded for not lying to an individual, two days prior to his suspension regarding the kosher condition of the cafeteria. Frank could not and would not violate the Ninth Commandment.

33. Because Frank refused to sign the aforementioned OU’s letter of confidentiality, OU, in retaliation, would not support plaintiff’s efforts to perform his duties as a mashgiach, which was punishment for refusing to sign the letter of confidentiality.

34. Even though OU was aware and possibly conspired, the OU refused to interfere with the harsh and hostile working conditions that were imposed upon Mr. Frank by his supervisor Rabbi Kwiatkovsky

35. OU has a large financial interest in not giving up their kosher certification of Montefiore hospital due to the loss of revenue for the kosher certification fees.

36. It appears that OU places financial remuneration ahead of religious doctrine.

37. OU did not want to be exposed regarding internal kosher violations at Montefiore since other establishments could have the same situation.

38. OU attempted to cover up the kosher violations that existed at Montefiore hospital by requiring all mashgiachs to sign confidentiality agreements to insure their continued silence in exchange for being allowed to work as a mashgiach within OU’s system.

39. Preventing the kosher violations from becoming public knowledge would naturally cause the OU a great deal of bad publicity, especially if there were a cover-up concealing the violations of certified establishments actually not being strictly kosher.

40. Robert Frank attended a meeting with the OU on or about November 3, 2008.

41. At the meeting OU was represented by Rabbi Dov Schreier, the rabbinic coordinator in charge of kosher supervision at Montefiore; Rabbi Yaakov Luban, supervisor of Rabbi Schreier; and Rabbi Kwiatkovsky.

42. Rabbi Kwiatkovsky admitted to the OU representatives at that meeting that he allows Montefiore Medical Center employees to bring non kosher food into the kitchen for personal use.
43. After the meeting OU did not take any corrective actions to correct the aforementioned revelation.

44. OU did, in fact, continue to thwart Robert Frank’s efforts to do his job as a mashgiach.


45. Robert Frank's wife Barbara was employed by the OU on a casual basis for the past four years, working two or three days each month as a mashgiach.

46. BARBARA FRANK last worked for OU November 15, 2009 and as of March 5, 2010, has not been called to work.

47. On January 11, 2010, Barbara Frank called her supervisor at the OU, Rabbi Steinberg, to find out why she had not been called to work since her last day of employment with OU was November 15, 2009.

48. Steinberg answered, "You know why."

49. Barbara Frank asked Steinberg why the situation with her husband should stop her from getting work."You're married to him," Steinberg replied.

50. Rabbi Steinberg confirmed the conversation in paragraphs 47, 48, and 49 that took place with Barbara Frank in an interview given to "Failed Messiah" blog on January 11, 2010, in which Steinberg confirmed the above exchange took place, and confirmed that Barbara Frank is being denied work because of who she is married to."

51. As of April 16, 2010, Barbara Frank has not been offered any position with OU, including, but not limited to mashgiach.

52. The actions of the OU make working conditions purposefully intolerable causing extreme emotional and financial distress upon the plaintiffs.

53. Knowing that exposing OU could be financially devastating, the plaintiffs would not take the risk of losing their jobs and benefits and, therefore, seeking assistance like food stamps unless their religious convictions were more significant than fabricating the continuing kosher certification.

54. Plaintiffs are now placed in a position where the defendants have insured that they cannot receive employment as mashgiachs even though they have diligently sought similar positions at kosher operations.

55. WHEREFORE, plaintiff requests that this Honorable Court enters a judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants and such other relief that the Court seems just and appropriate as follows:.

a. Defendant’s actions were so egregious as to justify punitive damages.

b. By reason of the facts and circumstances stated in this verified complaint, plaintiff has been damaged by defendant and is demanding adequate reparation for such mental, physical, and financial damage.

c. WHEREFORE, plaintiff demands judgment against defendant in the amount of $2,000,000.00 plus costs and disbursements together with any other relief the Court finds just and proper.

d. Insure that OU performs its duties as prescribed, regarding their obligation to insure people who keep kosher are actually receiving kosher foods; for example, during the eleven month period where there was only one dishwasher was operational which made all food certified as being kosher, was, indeed, a ploy to deceive.

e. Insure that their proper motivation of OU is their religious duties and obligations as opposed to OU’s financial and political enrichment as well as those that they certify, such as Montefiore Medical Center.

Respectfully submitted,

April 16, 2010

s/Sanford Kutner
Sanford A. Kutner
Attorney for the Plaintiff

Mailing address:
6 Tara Place
Metairie, LA 70002
Phone: 718-246-0433
FAX; 866-613-6209

Monday, March 15, 2010

Olive oil fraud AGAIN

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just how pure is that extra-virgin olive oil in your kitchen?
As worldwide demand for the gourmand goodie grows, fraud has become rampant

Susan Semenak, Canwest News Service

Its flavour and health benefits have made extra-virgin olive oil a fast-growing commodity and an essential ingredient for chefs and home cooks everywhere.

About 2.7 million tonnes of olive oil are produced every year, most of them in Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal but also in Tunisia, Morocco, Australia, South Africa and California.

On Canadian store shelves, there are more than 100 different olive oils, some selling for as much as $50 a litre, compared with canola at $2 a litre and corn oil at $3 a litre.

But how do you know what you're getting for your money?

As worldwide demand grows, olive oil fraud has become rampant. Well-known Italian olive oil producers have been found guilty of importing lesser-quality olive oil from North Africa and elsewhere, relabelling and pricing it as a high-quality extra-virgin Italian product.

Here at home, several Canadian importers have been fined for blending small amounts of olive oil with cheaper refined oils and vegetable oils and then slapping on labels that read "extra virgin" olive oil, making off with a tidy profit while cheating the consumer out of the heart-health benefits and distinctive flavour and quality they thought they were getting.

Critics say weak Canadian food labelling regulations and inadequate enforcement of those laws by federal government inspectors make buying a bottle of what Homer called "liquid gold" a tricky undertaking.

"Olive oil is a commodity that can easily be diluted or substituted with cheaper oil," wrote Marilyn Taylor, a spokesman for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in a bulletin from the agency last July. "The presence of other oils in olive oil cannot be detected by visual inspection and therefore consumers rely on the labelling."

Under the federal Food and Drugs Act, all food products sold in Canada are subject to labelling requirements. Products that are labelled and marketed as extra-virgin olive oil must be cold pressed and made wholly from "oil obtained from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europea L)" in accordance with standards set by the International Olive Oil Council, the intergovernmental organization based in Madrid, Spain, that promotes olive oil, tracks production, defines quality standards and monitors authenticity.

To be certified as extra virgin, each batch of olive oil must pass chemical and physical analyses in its country of origin. These measure fat content and acidity levels. There are also organoleptic tests by panels of experts who gauge colour, taste, aroma, "mouthfeel," and that particular piquant feeling olive oil leaves at the back of the mouth. Olive oils that do not meet this battery of criteria must settle for terms such as virgin, pure, pomace or refined olive oil -- but not extra virgin.

Still, there are plenty of impostors.

Last year, three Canadian importers and distributors of olive oil were convicted under the Canada Food and Drug Act.

In May, the Toronto-based importer and distributor Jan K. Overweel Ltd., which markets the Emma, Casa Italia and Cortina Foods brands and other imported products, was fined $40,000 and ordered to dispose of more than 27,000 litres of seized olive oil that was labelled extra-virgin olive oil but found to be 50% sunflower oil.

Last July, Eddie Zilli, president of Santa Maria Foods of Toronto, which markets Mastro olive oil and other products, was convicted of three offences under the Food and Drugs Act.

The judge ordered Zilli to pay a total fine of $150,000 and ordered 47,400 litres of seized oil to be disposed of.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reported that Zilli unlawfully imported oil labelled as extra-virgin olive oil that was, in fact, blended oil containing approximately 50% sunflower oil. The offences occurred between January and April 2006.

Two complaints by consumers about bottles labeled as 100% pure extra-virgin olive oil at a supermarket in Toronto led to a conviction in September, resulting in a $7,500 fine for Italian Products Distribution Inc. Inspectors seized 400 bottles of oil, sent samples to a lab for analysis and found that they contained "a high concentration" of sunflower and/or soybean oils.

But with 2,200 food inspectors working across Canada overseeing imported food as well as monitoring a wide gamut of food products in processing plants, at border crossings and at supermarkets, warehouses and ports, a lot of illegal activity is bound to go undetected, experts say.

"Where there's the opportunity for economic gain, there will be those trying to make a buck," says Ben Roffey, the CFIA's acting manager of compliance, in a telephone interview.

"We can't test every bottle of olive oil that comes into Canada."

The CFIA reported that, in 2007, 15 of 45 samples of extra-virgin olive oil pulled from Canadian store shelves and tested in the agency's laboratory in Ottawa over the previous year had been adulterated. The bottles labelled as extra-virgin olive oil were found to have been blended with lower-priced sunflower or canola or soybean oils, or with lesser-quality oil extracted using heat or chemical solvents from olive pomace, the by-product of olive oil's first pressing. (A similar sampling of 49 olive oils conducted five years earlier netted only two adulterated cases.)

CFIA spokesman Guy Gravelle says the agency has "taken action" on 19 complaints about olive oil received from consumers and competitors since January 2008. In those cases, importers or retailers were required to present certificates of authenticity, or change their labeling. In some cases, the importers were issued warning letters, in others the olive oil was ordered recalled from store shelves and in other cases, fines were levied.

Gravelle said new extra-virgin olive oils on the market as well as those that seem "unreasonably inexpensive," or those from countries where drought or other environmental factors are known to have hindered recent harvests are prime targets for investigators. So are those from importers with a previous history of breaking the law.

Limited as the resources are, Roffey says Canada's system is still better than most countries. It acts as a deterrent to would-be fraudsters, he says. And its lab in Ottawa is the only one in North America accredited by the International Olive Oil Council to conduct in-depth analyses of suspicious oils.

But olive oil aficionados suspect the fraud is rampant.

The words extra virgin on a bottle of oil can allow the producer to hike the price tenfold, and that's a big attraction to people looking to make a quick buck, says Claudia Pharand, co-owner with Daniele Beauchamp of the Olive & Olives chain of four Montreal boutiques selling high-end olive oil, mostly from Spain.

Pharand, who has studied with Spanish chemists specializing in olive oil, was enlisted last year to work as an expert consultant with Canada Border Service agents investigating a shipment of suspicious olive oil seized at the port of Montreal. (The CFIA, which works with border service authorities, refused to comment on the ongoing investigation.)

"But extra-virgin olive oil is imported. It's pure fruit juice and it's expensive to harvest and to produce. You can't get it for $4.99 a bottle. It's just not possible," she says. "People who say they want cheap olive oil should know that what they are buying is almost certainly not extra-virgin olive oil."

IGA, though, sells extra-virgin olive oil for as little as $8.79 a litre under its house brand, Compliments. It's not artisanal, but it's authentic, says Anne-Hélène Lavoie, a spokesperson for Sobeys Quebec Inc., the national grocery chain that owns Quebec's IGA supermarkets.

The chain buys all its extra-virgin olive oil from Italy, where it is also bottled, in a factory accredited by the Italian government and an Italian olive oil producers' association.

Sobeys also pays an independent laboratory to conduct surprise visits and take random samplings of oil at the bottling factory.

"As with wine, there are many different vintages at many different price points," Lavoie said in an interview this week. "We are able to keep prices down because we don't work with a middle man, and we buy in large volume."

Montreal chef Graziella Battista loves the way extra-virgin olive oil so perfectly dresses a salad of mixed greens, pine nuts and shaved Parmesan cheese, how it enhances the flavour of a slow-simmered ragu and makes pan-seared scallops glisten.

Battista, whose Old Montreal restaurant, named Graziella, serves rustic but elegant northern Italian fare, goes through gallons and gallons of extra-virgin olive oil in a week.

"There's not a dish that goes out of my kitchen that wasn't cooked or tossed or drizzled with olive oil," she says.

Recently, Battista was invited by a Quebec consumer magazine to be part of an expert panel that spent four days tasting nearly four dozen extra-virgin olive oils sold in local grocery stores. Battista says some of the samples were nicely flavoured, while others tasted downright nasty.

"It was a real eye-opener. There are so many products on store shelves that people shouldn't be buying," she said in an interview.

Several of the oils exhibited a sharp, unpleasant metallic taste. Others smelled and tasted "old and rancid."

"It was as if they were expired, or something had gone wrong in the processing," she said. "And with others, you could tell right away that they were not pure olive oil. They had been blended.

"It made me realize that the labels don't always tell the truth."

Olive oil fraud is a concern around the world.

A 2007 report by RAI, the Italian television broadcaster, tracked a shipment of chemically refined low-grade olive pomace oil produced in Turkey. Mysteriously, when the oil left the Turkish port, en route to Italy, it bore extra-virgin certification.

In March 2007, in what was dubbed Operation Golden Oil, Italian authorities tested oils from more than 757 olive oil producers and found that more than 200 of them were blending their oil. Two dozen arrests were made and 85 farms were confiscated. The investigations revealed a large-scale scheme to relabel oils from other nations as Italian oil.

Another operation a month later brought 40 more arrests in northern and southern Italy. The suspects were found to be adding chlorophyll, the green pigment from plants, to otherwise colourless sunflower and soyabean oils and selling it as extra-virgin olive oil, both in Italy and abroad. More than 25,000 bottles of the falsely labelled blended oil were seized and ordered destroyed. The extensive fraud prompted the Italian government to introduce labelling laws that require bottlers to declare the olive farm's address and the country of origin of the olives on each label.

And last July, the European Union toughened up its rules, making origin labelling compulsory for virgin and extra-virgin olive oil.

Finding a fraud requires real sleuth work. Even among authentic extra-virgin olive oils there are wide variations in colour, taste and aroma, depending on where the olives grew, when they were harvested and even the weather that year.

Stan Bacler has been dubbed Canada's "olive-oil detective." He's the national manager for the CFIA's food chemistry laboratory program. For decades, he worked as head chemist in the agency's fats and oils labs, looking for clues to olive-oil adulteration.

It can take six weeks to run one series of tests, at a cost of about $1,100. In one test, chemists beam ultraviolet light at the oil. In another, they identify fatty acids by separating them from the oil. Bacler, reached in Ottawa, says his labs can't handle more than about 100 samples a year.

Scientists have an arsenal of sophisticated new tests at their disposal to spot fakes. But it's a constant battle to stay ahead of unscrupulous manufacturers developing new ways to conceal their fraud, Bacler says.

Sunflower oils from genetically modified plants, for example, are extremely hard to spot. And many vegetable oils are now modified to look and taste like olive oil, with a chemical composition closer to olive oil. That makes them harder to detect in an illicit blend.

This was sent to us from a reader.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

appealing your taxes

Reformulated whey protein is effective egg replacer,

Breaking News on Supplements & Nutrition - Europe
Reformulated whey protein is effective egg replacer, says Arla
By Jane Byrne , 08-Jan-2010
An improved formulation on an egg replacement whey protein based ingredient can enable a saving of up to 30 per cent on liquid egg costs for sponge cake manufacturers, claims Arla Food Ingredients.

Kim Jensen, technical manager for bakery, said the supplier’s new milk protein Nutrilac BK-7900 contributes to a very stable cake batter, leading to low batter density and can reduce or entirely replaces eggs in a typical sponge recipe with no pre-blending or cooling required.

He told that while whey protein replacement for eggs is not novel, Arla’s approach and products differs from its competitors in that the teams at the Danish company’s R&D and application centres are continually developing protein fractions that can be tailored to specific product applications.

“We have enhanced the functionality of an older whey protein for use in sponge cake manufacture.

Sponge cakes are a challenge in terms of egg reduction as they have low specific gravity but we have managed to replicate the whipping property of eggs with a recipe mix including the protein, water and flour, which results in a high volume in the finished sponge cake,” added Jensen.

Whey proteins from cow's milk are used as emulsifiers in a broad range of food products including ice creams, beverages, salad dressing and sports supplements, and are classified as either concentrates (protein content between 25 and 80 per cent) or isolates (more than 90 per cent protein).

Fluctuating costs

Jensen maintains that the use of Nutrilac BK-7900 can help bakers offset increasing egg costs, with eggs being the most expensive commodity in sponge cake production.

Indeed, ingredients makers have been reporting a growing demand from bakers for egg alternatives due to the volatility in the egg market.

Regarded as a premium ingredient with a high value-added perception from the consumer, eggs also hold a strong appeal for product formulators due to their wide range of functionalities, including coagulation, emulsification, foaming and crystallisation control.

Pilot scale

Jensen said that bakers of all sizes can use Arla’s pilot-scale equipment to test the protein in their products, and this has the net effect of reducing waste and shortens the time to market of new products.

“We can run up to ten tests a day but, generally, just four to six tests are necessary to determine the optimum solution,” said Jensen.

He said that all parameters are computer controlled for precise simulation of the continuous processes applied within individual bakeries.

Jensen said that the ingredient supplier will also assist bakery manufacturers in terms of scaling up a recipe on an industrial level and that no adjustments are required to processing machinery when incorporating the new protein into cake production.

Proven results

Arla said that a 21-day shelf-life test, carried out at its bakery laboratory to determine how effective egg replacement with Nutrilac BK-7900 is in sponge cakes, demonstrated that the cake maintains the texture and moisture of a 100 per cent egg equivalent.

“Hardness, springiness and resilience were measured using a texture profile analyzer from Stable Micro Systems. At a speed of 5mm/second, the plastic 28mm probe was twice pushed 40 per cent down into a 30mm-deep sample. There was a 5-second interval between the two pressure applications,” stated the supplier.

Copyright - Unless otherwise stated all contents of this web site are © 2000/2010 - Decision News Media SAS - All Rights Reserved - For permission to reproduce any contents of this web site, please email our Syndication department: Administration & Finance - Full details for the use of materials on this site can be found in the Terms & Conditions

© 2000/2010 - Decision News Media SAS - All right reserved.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Zoldan's Clothing store may be selling shatnez

Dried fruits in shvat

על פי ספרי הרב משה ויא שליט"א "בדיקת המזון כהלכה"
מעודכן לשנת תש"ע
אגוז אורן (צנובר)
אגוז ברזיל
אגוז מקדמיה
אגוז פקאן בקליפה
אננס בשימורים
אתרוג מסוכר
בננה צ'יפס
גרעינים לבנים
חמוציות (באריזות מקוריות)
לדר (באריזה סגורה)
פאפאיה מחו"ל (טרי ומיובש)
פקאן מסוכר ("פקאן סיני")
מלון עגול
רימון מגידול מסחרי
שזיפים מקליפורניה
(בקופסאות מקוריות)
שימורי אפרסקים
שימורי משמש
תפוז סיני מסוכר
תפוח עץ (גם מיובש)
אגוזים ושקדים
בקליפתם הקשה
(אגוז מלך, בונדוק)
בעת הקילוף בודקים אם מצויים "קורי משי", פירורים כהים או זחלים בקליפה או על האגוז, ואם האגוז או השקד נראה
אגוזי בונדוק קלופים
ושקדים קלופים
בודקים אותם משני צידיהם, אם יש "קורי משי", סימני כרסום או נקב. חוצים כעשרה אחוז ובודקים בפנים. נמצאה נגיעות, יש
לבדוק את כולם מבפנים.
אגוזי פקאן קלופים בודקים משני צידי האגוזים אם יש "קורי משי", תולעים או פירורים עגולים.
אגוזי מלך קלופים מנערים בתוך מסננת בעלת חורים גדולים על גבי משטח לבן ובודקים אם יש חרקים או תולעים בנשורת. בודקים את כל האגוזים
משני צידיהם, ובפרט בקפלים, אם יש "קורי משי", תולעים או סימני כרסום.
אגוזים ושקדים
מנערים בתוך מסננת רשת (מסננת אורז) על גבי משטח לבן ובודקים אם יש חרקים קטנים בנשורת. שופכים את הנותר במסננת
על משטח לבן ובודקים בין החתיכות.
אגוז קשיו בודקים אם האגוזים מכורסמים או מנוקבים. חוצים כ 10%- ובודקים בין שני החצאים. אם נמצאה נגיעות, יש לחצות את כולם.
(מעט פירורים חומים דקים בין החצאים הם שאריות הקליפה ולא נגיעות).
אגס, אפרסק, חבוש,
מלון, מנגו וקיווי
להתבונן משני הצדדים.
רצוי לשטוף.
אננס טרי: לקלף ולהסיר את כל החללים החומים.
מיובש עם סוכר: להתבונן משני הצדדים אם נדבק עליו זבובון או חרק.
מיובש טבעי: לשבור לכמה חתיכות ולהתבונן היטב אם מצוי זחל או פירורים כהים עגולים בחללים הקטנים שבבשר הפרי.
אפרסמון להוריד את ה"עלה" (שסביב העוקץ) ולשטוף היטב. אם הפרי רך מהרגיל, לבדוק מבפנים. אם מצוי כתם שחור על קליפת הפרי,
מקלפים באותו מקום ומתבוננים אם מצויות רימות לבנות בפרי. (נקודות שחורות קטנות בבשר הפרי אינן מהוות סימן לנגיעות).
דובדבנים מסוכרים: לפתוח אחדים למדגם (כ 10%- ). לבדוק אם יש תולעת. נמצאה נגיעות, יש לפתוח את כולם ולבודקם מבפנים.
מיובשים (מצומקים): בדיקתם קשה ועדיף לא להשתמש.
בסירופ: לפתוח כל אחד ולבדוק.
זיתים זיתים ירוקים: אם יש כתם חום, לפתוח ולהתבונן אם מצויה מחילה בתוך הזית.
זיתים שחורים ומושחרים: יש לפותחם ולבודקם מבפנים אם מצויה מחילה או תולעת.
טבעות זיתים (ירוקים או מושחרים): לשטוח ולהתבונן אם מצויה מחילה או תולעת.
חמוציות בתפזורת: לשטוף במים. באריזות מקוריות מחו"ל: אין צורך לשטוף.
לדר ללא אריזה להתבונן כנגד האור אם נצמד זבובון או נמלה.
משמש מיובש פרי שלם: לשטוף מבחוץ, לפתוח ולבדוק כנגד האור.
פרי הנמכר חצוי: להשרות במים פושרים, לפתוח את הקפלים ולבדוק כנגד האור.
ערמונים לחצות ולבדוק מבפנים (אפשר לבדוק גם אחרי הבישול).
פיסטוקים מקלפים ומתבוננים אם יש "קורי משי" או זחלים. חוצים כ 10%- ובודקים אם אין נגיעות פנימית. נמצאה נגיעות, יש לחצות את כל
הפיסטוקים ולבודקם מבפנים.
קיווי לעיתים רחוקות מצויות כנימות לבנות או חומות על קליפת הפרי. יש להזהר שלא תעבורנה לפרי בעת הקילוף, או לשטוף את
הפרי המקולף. פנים הפרי בחזקת נקי.
שזיף מיובש לשטוף היטב. רצוי לחצות, ולשטוף מבפנים.
שקדים ראה אגוזים.
תמר לח בדרך כלל נקי, טוב לפתחו ולבודקו.
תמר מיובש לחצות בסכין, להוציא את הגלעין ולבדוק משני הצדדים כנגד האור (לחפש חרק כהה בגודל 2-3 מ"מ או תולעת בד"כ מתה ומיובשת).
לע¢נ הר¢ר אברהם חיים בן הר¢ר יצחק ויא ע¢ה
גויאבות 1. להתבונן אם מצויות כנימות על קליפת הפרי, ולהסירן.
2. לחתוך פרוסות לרוחב הפרי, ולהתבונן היטב בכל פרוסה משני צידיה.
צבע התולעים כצבע הפרי (עם נקודה שחורה קטנה בראשן) וקשה לזהותן.
שיטה חלופית: לקלף את הפרי ולהתבונן אם מצוי אזור ממוסמס עם צבע כהה או נקב קטן. לחתוך אזור זה ולהתבונן אם מצויות
תולעים בתוך הפרי.
חבושים חוצים את הפרי ובודקים אם מצוי זחל או מחילה עם פירורים כהים ומסירים את האזור הנגוע.
חרובים לשטוף היטב, לשבור לחתיכות קטנות ( 2 ס"מ) ולבדוק אם מצויים פירורים, קורי משי או תולעים וחרקים.
צימוקים עקב נגיעות רבה בצימוקים, יש לבצע בדיקה יסודית כדלהלן:
1. להשרות את הצימוקים במים חמים במשך כרבע שעה לפחות.
2. לשפשף אותם היטב ביד ולהמתין דקה.
3. להעביר את המים העליונים לצלחת לבנה ולהתבונן אם מצויים תולעים או חרקים חומים במים.
במידה ונתגלתה נגיעות, אין להשתמש היות והם עלולים להיות נגועים מבפנים.
4. אם לא נמצאה נגיעות - לשטוף היטב את הצימוקים תחת זרם מים חזק.
יש עדיפות להשתמש בצימוקים שעברו בדיקות מדגמיות כגון צימוקים שבהשגחת בד"ץ העדה החרדית.
לעת עתה יש לבדוק באופן זה גם צימוקים בקופסאות מקוריות מקליפורניה.
הערה: ניתן לייבש ולצמק בחזרה את הצימוקים הבדוקים ע"י חימום בתנור בחום נמוך.
תות שדה קיימת נגיעות כלל–עולמית של "טריפסים" קטנים המסתתרים בשקעים שעל התותים שאינם יורדים בשטיפות הרגילות ולכן
מומלץ לאכל תותים רק לאחר ניקויים באחד משני האופנים:
אופן א: לחתוך בסכין את העלה הירוק עם כמ"מ מהפרי ולהסיר סדקים, חריצים עמוקים או איזורים פגומים.
להשרות במים עם מעט סבון נוזלי (אמה) למשך 3 דקות, לשפשף מעט בתוך המים, ולשטוף היטב (בכל פעם מעט תותים) תחת
זרם מים חזק באופן שהמים יגיעו לכל חלקי הפרי.
יש לחזור על הפעולה שלוש פעמים ולאחר מכן לטחון או לבשל.
אופן ב: לקלף שכבה דקה מהפרי מכל צדדיו (כל השכבה החיצונית כולל חריצים עמוקים ומקום חיבור העלה) ולשוטפו היטב
במים לאחר הקילוף.
(טריות ומיובשות)
נגיעותן רבה ובדיקתן קשה ומורכבת.
אופן הבדיקה מבואר בספר "בדיקת המזון כהלכה".
02 - ספר "בדיקת המזון כהלכה" ניתן להשיג בחנויות הספרים. למשלוח בדואר: 5806612
02 - מותר לשכפל ולהפיץ דף זה לזיכוי הרבים מבלי לשנותו - ניתן להשיג בטל' 5867047
הרב ויא שליט"א עונה לשאלות בטל' 02-5325588 בערב בשעה 11:00-12:00 וביום שישי משעה 2:00 עד כניסת שבת.
ניתן להאזין לשיעורי הרב ויא שליט"א ב"קול הלשון" טל' 03-6171039
תפוז, מנדרינה,
קלמנטינה, לימון,
אתרוג, פומלה,
אשכולית, פומלית
נגיעות חיצונית: מצויה בכל פירות ההדר
על הקליפה מצויות כנימות בצבע חום או אפור כהה. בזמן הקילוף והחיתוך יש להזהר שהכנימות לא תחדורנה לפרי, וכן שלא
תעבורנה מהיד לפרי וכד' או לשטוף את הפרי אחרי הקילוף. אם רוצים להשתמש בקליפה - לשפשף במברשת קשה או בכרית
מתכת ('ננס') עם נוזל לניקוי כלים, לשטוף ולבדוק שלא נותרו כנימות.
נגיעות פנימית: עלולה להימצא בתפוזים, קלמנטינות, מנדרינות ואשכוליות
עלול להיות נגוע ברימות זבוב הפירות, שהן תולעים בצבע לבן. נגיעות זו נדירה כאשר הפרדסים מטופלים היטב, בפרט בעונת
החורף. תפוזים מעצים לא מטופלים כגון מגינה פרטית, או מערבים בשנת שמיטה וכן תפוזים בעונת הקיץ עלולים להיות נגועים
א. בעת הקילוף, יש לעיין בצד הלבן של הקליפה אם ישנו כתם חום או אזור ממוסמס הנמשך לתוך פנים התפוז, ולבדוק אם יש
חדירה של רימות במקום הזה.
ב. אם הפרי רך–ממוסמס או בעל צבע וריח משונה, יש לבדוק את פנים הפלחים. אם נמצא תפוז נגוע, יש לבדוק היטב את כל
התפוזים מאותה קניה.
מיץ תפוזים - סחוט טבעי (ביתי או מקיוסק): רצוי לסנן דרך מסננת לאחר הסחיטה. לחילופין, ניתן לנקות את הפירות בכרית
מתכת ונוזל לניקוי כלים לפני הסחיטה, כדי למנוע חדירת כנימות למיץ.
פיצוחים גרעינים לבנים: מוחזקים כנקיים.
גרעיני אבטיח: לפתוח ולבדוק מדגם של כ 10%- . נמצאה נגיעות, יש לפתוח ולבדוק את כולם.
גרעינים שחורים: מצויה בהם נגיעות גבוהה.
עם קליפה: צריך לקלף כל אחד ולבדוק.
קלופים: א. לסנן דרך מסננת של אטריות על גבי משטח לבן ולהתבונן אם נשרו חרקים.
ב. לבדוק את הגרעינים משני צדיהם, אם יש בהם נקב או סימני כרסום.
ג. לשבור חלק מהגרעינים ולהתבונן אם מצויה נגיעות פנימית. אם נמצאה נגיעות, יש לחצות את כולם ולבדוק בפנים.
בוטנים: לבדוק את כולם מבחוץ אם ישנם חורים, סימני כרסום או סימן של חדירת תולעת.
לחצות כ 10%- למדגם ולבדוק אם יש נגיעות פנימית.
אם נמצאו סימני נגיעות, יש לחצות את כולם ולבדוק מבפנים.
בסוף הקיץ ובסתיו דרושה תשומת לב מיוחדת ומומלץ לחצות את כולם.
בוטנים טחונים: ראה אגוזים קצוצים.
בוטנים מצופים (קבוקים, מצופים שוקולד וכדומה): לפתוח כ 10%- , אם נמצאה נגיעות - לפתוח את כולם.
בוטנים בקליפתם הקשה: ראה אגוזים בקליפתם הקשה