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Ontario processor fined for faux-kosher cheese

First case of its kind to reach provincial court, CFIA says

An Ontario food processing company has been slapped with $25,000 in fines for labelling non-kosher cheese as kosher, in the first Canadian case of its kind to get to a provincial court.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Wednesday reported Creation Foods Co. of Woodbridge had pled guilty June 22 in the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket to two counts under the Food and Drugs Act.

The agency said Wednesday its investigation found Creation Foods had sold non-kosher cheese to two Jewish youth camps.

The cheese sold to both camps “did not meet the requirements of the kashruth,” CFIA said, referring to the body of Jewish religious law dealing with issues such as suitability of foods.

The agency didn’t specify how the cheeses in question did not meet the requirements, but said the sale was completed by means of “a forged kosher certificate.”

According to CFIA, this marks the first case in Canada brought before a provincial court related to “misrepresentation of a kosher food product.”

Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations require that a food that doesn’t meet the applicable requirements of the kashruth can’t be packaged with the word “kosher” or any other representation that indicates or might create an impression that the food is kosher.

A summary conviction for contraventions under those federal regulations comes with maximum penalties of $50,000 and/or six months in prison, while convictions by indictment come with penalties of up to $250,000 and/or three years’ prison.

That said, CFIA added Wednesday, the fine on Creation Foods “is significant and may lead to improved future compliance under this statute.”

According to COR, the Kashruth Council of Canada, requirements of the kashruth are set out in detail in the Talmud and other works, such as which livestock are not permitted (pigs, rabbits, shellfish, insects).

Meat from permitted animals, meanwhile, must be slaughtered in a specified manner. Milk and meat products “must never be mixed” and most cheeses “must be prepared either in whole or in part by Jews.”

“While the rules sound simple, the practical applications can often be more complex,” the COR said.

“Each ingredient used in the production of a certain food product, even if only used in trace amounts, must be kosher,” the council said — and that often rules out processing ingredients such as gelatin or tallow. — AGCanada.com Network

 

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