Friday, October 30, 2009

On the Triangle K Hechsher on juices

For some reason, Triangle K is something of the "Gadfly" of Kashrus organizatons, with a good deal of Lashon HaRah spread concerning the reliability of the Hechsher (see for example this interview and comments). I would assume that part of the reason for its poor reputation is its certification of the Hebrew National meat products, the only Orthodox supervision of non-glatt meat available on the market. (It is worth noting that R Moshe Feinstein was always a strong supporter of the Ralbags who are in charge of the hechser, and I have heard from a relative of R Reuvein Feinstein that he said that if not for the fact that he is makpid on Glatt, he would have no problem eating Hebrew National.)

I was always specifically concerned about its hechsher on fruit juices, many of which contain grape juice. Although there are some leniencies in regards to grape juice (it can be nullified in less then a sixth, and if mevushal it could be OK according to some Posekim), I have never seen any other certification on juices containing grape juice.

Marc Shapiro told me that he asked R Ralbag and was told that: "all the grape juice in HiC, Minutemaid, etc. is made specially under Triangle K hashgachah, in a special "crush" for these, companies. They make all the grape juice they need for the year in a month, under a mashgiach temidi.

I did not see this information anywhere else on the web so I decided to place it here.


Anonymous said...

The rumors well predate the Hebrew national Hashgacha. At a recent forum (I reviewed it on an audioroundup) R' HS said he doesn't know about the triangle K , but the rav hamachshir told him it's fine.

I have never gotten a straight answer when I've asked why local shuls etc. don't accept it.
Joel Rich

zdub said...

Rabbi Abadi says that all grape juice from the major companies (Welchs, etc) in the USA is kosher since it is never touched by human hands during processing and is also heat pasteurized. No problem using such juice for kiddush or the arba kosos.

Anonymous said...

"I would assume that part of the reason for its poor reputation is its certification of the Hebrew National meat products, the only Orthodox supervision of non-glatt meat available on the market."

1. You have confused siman with siba. The triangle-k's rep pre-dated the Hebrew National contract.
2. The CRC in Chicago supervises non-glatt meat
3. There are legitimate halachic issues with Rabbi Ralbag.
4. The real reason that the kashrus organizations don't like him has nothing to do with his objectively lower standards. The story goes as follows: a certain rabbi in the NY died. This rabbi gave the hechsher to a major company and it was assumed that the rabbi's son, also a rav hamchshir, would take over the supervision. In the middle of the shiva, when the rabbi's family could do nothing about it, Ralbag signed a deal with the company, grabbing the hechsher away. This is considered a no-no in the kashrus world. After that, no one wanted to talk to him

Wolf2191 said...

1 - as I wrote "part" of the reason
2 - Thanks
3 - Name them?
4 - Weird, in the interview I liked, he claimed others took away supervision of certain companies from him, hard to know who is telling the truth

Anonymous said...

I take a dim view of the kosher supervision racket, so pardon me if I'm cynical.

As the above commenter wrote, the only reason Tri-K is targeted by whisper campaigns is because of political reaons. That's why nobody can identify anything actually wrong with their hechsher. Ask your average ballebos on the street, and he will have no idea what, if anything, is wring with Tri-k. He will mumble something about it not having a mashgiach temidi, not knowing that very few of the OU's 600,000 + products have a mashgiach temidi either.

As for "standards" - most people, when they see someone refusing to carry on shabbos when there's an eiruv, do not think that person has "higher standards". They think he is a hedyot, for being unnecessaily machmir.

Same with the OU. They can rely on buttul, a concpet the Gemara considers "midoraissah". (Cf. 1st chapter Chullin.) But they do not, just to make these hedyotim happy.

Likeise, they apply the "D" label to foods that 1) are only made on dairy equiptment, but do not actually contain dairy; or 2) have only a tiny percentage of fairy, which is also bottol.

Hebrew National is 100% kosher ,as stated, it is just not glatt. I am also makpid on glatt, like everyone else - not on principle, but because I was raised that way. But are they kosher? Yes, without a doubt.

Remember that distinction. Products that do not pay the kosher agencies are not "not kosher". They simply havent bothered to pay for the label.

Remember this also - the kosher agencies have a vested interest in scaring you with scare stories that this product is not kosher, that product is treif, this company is sneaking in spider taste, etc, etc, etc. It's all baloney. (Maybe tiny portion is true, but if so it's bottol, ha)

Remmeber these facts folks, and dont be scared to use yoru common sense by judging the kashrus of a product by its ingredients, kiminhag yisrael saba. Except for the obvious (glycerine, etc.) most of these products are no less kosher than a pizza shop that cant get a heschsher if it has chairs and tables.

Bah. an embarassment of an industry.

anon said...

Whoever wrote their website content doesn't seem to be very honest or at least not aware.
Here is from their website

"Kosher certification with the Triangle means that a product is certified kosher and recognized as such. This symbol is recognized and accepted by Jewish consumers in all Jewish communities around the world as a product that meets all of the strictest standards pertaining to the laws of kosher food production and consumption."

Anonymous said...

Standard puffery. All the labels say the same type of things, and there are plenty of Jews who wont touch their labels. (That is why so many products have some rebbe's hechsher along with the OU. Because the OU isnt good enough.)

Anonymous said...

i am very interested to understand what the real story about Rav Ralbag is. I am located in holland and since a few years Rav Ralbag is also active in Amsterdam region (although he is here only once every 6 weeks). Just before Rosh Hashana he started to sign hechseriem for local kosher shops(although they were able to keep him from doing this for many years). Our only kosher boutcher depends on the hechser of amsterdam and they have seen their sales of meat dropping dramatically since then. Also here it is all about romours and searching the world wide web doesnt give me all the answers needed why these romours are in place.. Is there a way of getting more detailed information on this story?

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