Kosher adherents are cautioned by the website Kashrut.com to be wary of fake insignia falsely claiming to represent kosher certification, particularly in India.
According to her bio, the warning was sent with photographs of eight symbols by Arlene Mathes-Scharf, the site’s publisher, who is a food scientist.
While several symbols are generic logos, one strikingly resembled the Kof-K kosher certifier, which has its headquarters in Teaneck, New Jersey.
These ‘bogus’ kosher emblems are made available by businesses that sell ‘certification’ services, many of which are based in Asia, particularly India.
According to the website, “(No recognized rabbinical certification is behind these certifications.)” Never rely on a symbol; instead, be sure the organization behind it is trustworthy.
Kof-K, whose emblem appears to have been fabricated, did not answer a JNS inquiry, and the Orthodox Union’s kosher division declined to comment on the kosher symbols used by other groups.
There are two worrying issues, according to Rabbi Sholom Tendler, who oversees several facilities and performs kosher-organic inspections for Baltimore-based Star-K, one of the biggest and most well-known kosher certifiers in the nation.
He informed JNS that it is not unusual for other people to use Star-K’s trademark emblem without their consent. But there isn’t always a surge in these events, says the author.
“What is more typical is the usage of fake symbols that are just that—fake symbols that purport to be kosher.
According to Tendler, this fraud is challenging to stop, especially in some of the foreign nations where they originate.
He counseled people who observe Kosher to become familiar with reputable Kosher symbols.
We all know that you should always report suspicious activity. Call the organization responsible for the symbol if something does not appear correct, if it is not an average kosher product, or if it does not appear as it should, he advised. “Check to make sure the item is validly certified.”
The Kashrut.com list’s most recognizable label, KCI Kosher, did not respond to a JNS inquiry.
Instead of identifying its rabbinic administrator or supervisor, the website defines “rabbi.”