One of the beauties of the KosChertified? App is having the ability to save grocery lists and notes on specific products, like which grocery store carries an NKC product (NOT Kosher Certified) and what aisle you may have found it. This becomes necessary as fewer products are NKC, and if a consumer wished to avoid kosher certification to the most practical extent, they would likely have to patronize several different stores as well as online resources to shop. Now with eggs, we had already determined that most supermarkets carry about a 50/50 mix of kosher-certified and NKC eggs.
But today we found ourselves close to a Sprouts store that we occasionally shop at for special products like NKC milk in that classic glass bottle sourced from a small local dairy. We only needed some eggs – white eggs, because that’s what the family prefers – and decided to run in there to buy a dozen without conferring the KosChertified? App. We hadn’t bought eggs at Sprouts before, but we figured that there would be some brand of white eggs that were NOT Kosher Certified. And we searched and searched, in vain. There were not.
Now, we are not purists – yet. We realize that it is practically impossible to fill a grocery cart up with packaged and bottled goods without getting some kosher certified products mingled in – no matter how hard one tries. For as good our app is as a start towards understanding what is available in our “free secular markets”, it still is a small NKC fish in a big pond of Kosher Supremacy. But with eggs, we decided to take a stand, leave the store, and shop somewhere else where there was a choice that reflected our freedom of religion in America.
But while we are on the subject of these eggs from Sprouts, allow us to focus on the kosher seal.
Notice that there is another certification seal next to the kosher seal titled “American Humane Certified”. Not only is the seal large enough to be easily legible, but it has further space to add “Cage Free Eggs”. Now, if you are a regular reader of our blog, then you’ve probably already perused our 40 page research Critical Study on Kosher Seals, and this example fits in perfect with our conclusions from that paper. First, the other certification seal, co-existing on the same product label, in this case, “American Humane Certified”, is magnitudes larger than the kosher seal. We’ll admit that this kosher seal is pretty large compared to most, but that could be because the other seal is enormous as far as certification seals go. Our study had shown that kosher seals average about one tenth (1/10) the size of other seals found on same products. And without measuring in this case, we could approximate the same occurrence with this kosher seal.
But now look at what text resides below the kosher seal (shown under the yellow arrow, a letter “K” enclosed by a heart): “PAREVE”. This word is important for kosher-keepers, as it points out that it does not contain any meat, milk, or their derivatives, and can be eaten with both meat or dairy dishes according to the dietary laws of Kashrus. So may this Gentile business inquire why there is enough willpower to display the word “PAREVE” but not “KOSHER” or “KOSHER CERTIFIED”?
This is where we can reasonably presume that the formula for growing kosher certification is making sure that most consumers don’t notice it. That, in fact, is accomplished by using a deceptive trade practice, for which many might agree is presented in this example alone by NOT spelling out that these eggs are KOSHER CERTIFIED. In fact, according to at least one prominent kosher agency, CRC, “Whole raw eggs do not need a hekhsher (kosher seal)” – Twitter, July 31, 2013.
So let us rap up this egg discussion with an excerpt from the book From Kosher to Halal, by Suzanne Bousquet: “The question of justifying the place of kosher and halal religious certifications in liberal democracies resembles a Rubik’s cube covered with thorns: not only is it difficult to align the squares, but you don’t really know how to grasp it — in short, where to start. The perspective of consumer rights constitutes in our opinion the best approach for raising the level of debate to that of principle. In fact, it is essential to set the issues in their proper context in order to evaluate whether a commercial practice is ‘unreasonable’ or not. This role is certainly incumbent upon the State, tasked with establishing the rules of life in society and seeing to it that the same laws apply to everyone. The heritage it has to manage is difficult: multiculturalism opened up a breach which was gleefully stormed by certain persons who confused pluriculturalism with legal pluralism. This is its greatest Achilles’ heel and the greatest threat to the collective future of the Western civilization.”