Queens, NY – Pork Spare Ribs “Sh’Chita Beit Yosef,” Sold in Sunnyside

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    Photo By Oded Hirsch Queens, NY – A photographer earlier today found Kosher Pork being sold at a supermarket in Sunnyside, Queens.

    Philip Gourevitch of The New Yorker reports that Israeli artist Oded Hirsch snapped some cellphone pictures of pork spare ribs, pork cutlets, center-cut pork chops, all labeled in Hebrew “Sh’Chita K’shera Beit Yosef,” on the shelves of Associated Supermarket at 4407 Greenpoint Avenue, in Sunnyside, Queens.

    Hirsch forward the pictures to Gourevitch who phoned Aris Duran, the supermarket manager, for an explanation.

    “What are you saying?” Duran asked. “Pork cannot be kosher.” So he e-mailed him the photo. He called him right back, and said he was going to pull all the meat off the shelves. “It was a mistake,” he said, and a few seconds later he called back and left a message to say, “Thanks for alerting me.”

    Gourevitch reports that he also called the Orthodox Union, whose voice-mail recording describes it as “the global leader in Kosher supervision and the world’s largest Jewish resource.” He pressed two for matters Kosher, and listened to another menu until he heard: “To report a product that may be mistakenly labelled, press four.” and was invited to leave a message for Howard Katzenstein, who called right back. He told him about the kosher pork for sale in Sunnyside. “If the price is right, I say go with it, right?” Katzenstein said, and giggled.

    Hirsch, meanwhile, went back to the supermarket with a proper camera. By the time he got there, he found the meat department almost entirely purged of pork. “A pack of six workers were scanning the fridge frantically,” Hirsch reported.

    Read more at New Yorker

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    75 COMMENTS

    1. Clearly, this Mister Howard Katzenstein will go far – as far as possible from any job which involves השגחת כשרות or dealing with the Jewish public

    2. To #2,
      Most kosher meat in the US comes from few slaughterhouses different kosher organizations take turns using the same facilities and certify based on their organizations. The issue here seems to be the labeling and certification.

    3. Why is the label in the hands of the supermarket staff in the first place?

      AND, how many non Kosher packages of meat and chicken have been mislabeled?

    4. Someone is telling porkies here….Where was the Mashgiach? How come goyim had access to the kosher labels? Who normally puts the labels on the kosher meat? Who supervises that, does the supermarket label the kosher meat themselves??

      • agree!! & the question is even BIGGER, HOW COME THEY CAN PUT THE HECHSHER COMEPUTRIZED ON THAT SAME STICKER????? THIS WHOLE THING doesn’t SMELL GOOD H”Y…..

    5. A lakewood kashrus Organization had a meeting about the blown out of proprtion episode.
      Did any one see the tail or the nose? NO, so who says it’s pork? The label? can’t trust them. Ah! it’s the price 1.99 @ lb.
      So the decission is, maybe it’s veal not pork & the computer generated label prnited it by mistake.

      • Very good point,,,, how about we take that pack and taste it??? Rather inspect it to see if the mix up is the print…. In any event hecsher, kosher certificates should not be able to just print from computers…. Only the mashgiach should have a certified stamp to put on it

    6. The bigger problem here is that these labels were obviously created by some goy not by the kosher hechsherim using the same plant, obviously done when there was no mashgiach around. But what if it were chicken or beef – would anyone have even noticed it? How do we know there isn’t trief chicken or beef with the same label in the stores right now???
      I guess very little has been learnt and implemented from the Monsey scandal in 2006.

    7. Everybody chill. There’s a logical explanation here. The associated food store on kungshighway in Brooklyn carries kosher meat. What happened was the a stack of labels probably got mixed up. If u read Hebrew it doesn’t say kosher just bait yosef. Anyone who’s dumb enough to think there’s bait yosef pork out there? I think not. But it did cause me to chuckle a bit.

    8. I’m not from the city, & I know nothing about this supermarket, but this whole thing sounds add to me, if its a kosher supermarket what is this lable of pork doing in the system, if its a non kosher store, how come they sell kosher chicken that doesn’t come in with a double “chasimah”?? & what is this giggling about the situation?? can anyone please clarify??

    9. Read the label. It says “Bais Yeesaif” not “Yosef” (two yuds not yud vav) Does the person who did this have a Hungarian accent?

      Also, this label was printed with the price.

      • No, an Arab one. Yeesaif is the Arabic pronunciation of Yosef. This was deliberate. Don’t shop where they hire Arabs. That meat should be tested for contaminants. Don’t eve sell it to goyim.
        Don’t tell me Moslems don’t handle pork. Christian Arabs do and they eat it. They are also starting to collaborate with their Moslem brethren.

    10. Everey erliche yiddishe home would avoid buying Meat in a store that sells both..Most kehilles have their own butcher store and there is kosher ONLY supermarkets almost in every town in the tri-state area….Mistakes do happen but it can be avoided by patronizing your local butcher or super market…

      • No guarantees. Didn’t the glatt kosher butcher in monsey ostensibly sell only glatt kosher meat? As my bubby z”l used to say every Yid eats a chazar during their life without knowing it.

      • No guarantees. Didn’t the glatt kosher butcher in monsey ostensibly sell only glatt kosher meat? As my bubby z”l used to say every Yid eats a chazar during their life without knowing it.

      • “Everey erliche yiddishe home would avoid buying Meat in a store that sells both”

        I am inclined to agree with you there, Yossi #29. It would definitely help to avoid any problems with מארית עין.

        Best wishes.

      • Not EVERY erliche yiddishe home is in a place where there are only kosher meat stores. Not everyone lives in the tri-state area. Some communities, as hard as they may try, can only support a kosher section of a larger supermarket. As long as they know how to inspect the labels before they buy things, there is nothing wrong with this.

        • sorry to tell you but most erliche yidden that live outside communities that have a variety of kosher stores buy their Meat from a heimishe store and have it delivered to their home either by store delivery or overnite fedex…if there is no kosher meat store where they live there is no way you will find mashgichim who can keep an eye 24 hours 365 days a year to supervise those stores…those stores are open shabbos and yom tov and those mashgichim do not work those days…Yes the kosher dept. is closed but it was the goyishe dept. who mislabeled those pork chops,otherwise how would they get pork chops to be labeled shechites bais yosef.?
          Because those out of towners dont have a great choice they have to be more alert and keep a stronger eye on their local supermarket…

    11. First off, there is no hechsher. All it says is shechitas bees Yosef. Perhaps the shechita was done bees Yosef – just on the wrong animal! All kidding aside. As commenters above mentioned, it says pork for crying out loud!
      Secondly, all of the various scandals perpetrated by yidden in regards to meat were done under chassidisha shechita, if my memory serves me right. So what gold standard exactly, may I ask? Pathetic! It is up to each consumer to be vigilant. We don’t have a free pass!

    12. Thats why you ONLY buy from the Butcher you know and trust.
      Cereal and Meat hashgochos cant be combined, its totally different,
      the kashros on meat is more strict compared to other groceries products.
      as for the reason here.

    13. I think we’re all missing the boat here. Luckily, whoever placed the labels there labeled the item accurately. Most people, frum or not frum, hopefully have the seichel to know that no hechsher, (sephardic, chassidishe, lubavitch, or litvish) is the righ. hechsher for pork. Who would have noticed if the pork would have been labeled as kosher lamb chops?

    14. The labels did not say the pork was Kosher, they just said that the pork was slaughtered in a kosher fashion. Of course, the best slaughtering in the world won’t make the pork kosher, but that’s besides the point.

    15. It is perfectly OK to purchase kosher meat for chulent in the same market that sells chazer fleish as long as it has good hashgacha and packaged and labled properly. Obviously, we don’t expect yidden to purchase the treifus but in many cities and towns, there isn’t enough business to sell only kosher goods.

    16. firstly who buys meat at an associated supper market in a non jewish area. secondly #2 allie packing produces beit yossef meat that is used in most sephardic markets. its obvious you no nothing that you talk about

      • Some of us here keep saying “common, it was a mistake.”

        You nuts? What kind of mistake? A monkey accidently spilled ink spelling an entire statement, with the perfect font, you call that a mistake???

        If the owner of the store is not at fault, then who is it in the production chain that wen’t out of his way to to some serious graphic design on the label printer???? And it was done wisely without any unautheriezed kosher symbol of any kosher agency – it was a clever, well planed work of art. Not a mistake.

        If you like shushing poeple on something very serious, you are probably the rav hamachshir involved in in this curruption and have a bad habit of hushing things under the rug!!!

        The article does not get to the bottom of this, so what exactly happened there? From where does associated get its meat supply?? Who was behind this??

    17. Which part of this story did the “OU RABBI” find to be funny that he was giggling?
      These “OU RABBIS” should stop thinking they’re so cute. Maybe it is time they went out there and looked for a real job.

    18. Any one who reads the label will note the following,

      It does not say “Kosher” on the label. The word kesheira is only found in the headline of the story. Nowhere does the label say kosher, nor does it say the name of any hashgocha.
      It does not say “bais”. The first letter is a chof.
      It does not say “Yosef”, there is no vov, rather two yuds.

      In all, it was so poorly written and there were so many misspellings, it could only have been printed by someone who is totally clueless and is prone to wild misspelling. (Shredready?)
      Besides, the picture allegedly came from some Israeli artist via his cell phone, anyone think of photoshop? Or some harebrained piece of art?

      • You are right that the labels were in very poor quality..But please understand that many yidden who want to keep a kosher home and some do it ONLY because of their children have no clue what they are reading when they visit their local shopping store.They see Hebrew lettering on the label they assume its Kosher and buy the product …This is what the torah calls ..Lifny evyer loy sityen michsoyl..those jews are called Evyer because they are blind to what they read..They never went to a chayder or yshiveh but they want to eat kosher …Of course any educated jew would know that pork chops can not be kosher but again its the ones who do not know any better.
        Those are alot of the associated customers who buy meat there..

    19. After that horrible story in Monsey, a point was made by many that it is safer to buy from a butcher, preferably one connected to a kehilla, than at a supermarket where anyone can print a label. this incident proves that once again. The Mexican packer doesn’t know the difference between a pork chop and a veal chop or even what “kosher” means.

    20. “most erliche yidden that live outside communities that have a variety of kosher stores buy their Meat from a heimishe store and have it delivered to their home either by store delivery or overnite fedex”

      Uh, no they dont! With very few exceptions they do shop in the kosher sections of major “big box” stores. And the point about mashgichim is irrelevant as the products sold in such places are all factory sealed before shipping. Nobody in the store is repacking anything although some pretty silly in-store labeling mistakes do get made (and would be obvious to any intelligent shopper, kosher or not).

      BTW, according to an addendum on the original article posting at the New Yorker the store in question specializes in pork products and has never knowingly sold specifically “kosher”. The labeling machine was bought used and, apparently, the prior owners programmed the B”Y lettering. Chalk this up as one of the aforementioned silly mistakes.

    21. From what I’ve been able to find out, this is a store that specializes in pork chops. It does not sell kosher meat and therefore presumably no Jew would have been shopping there for their meat in the first place. The previous owners of the machine were a kosher store, which i presume had a mashgiach, who programmed into the computerized wrapping/labeling machine a shechita beis yosef option. A worker at the second, treif, store, accidentally made use of the labeling option from the old store when printing out labels. This was not mislabeled treif beef, nor even mislabeled pork being sold in a store where a kosher consumer might be shopping. This store had no mashgiach who was being lax, and no kashrut agency is to blame. If these facts are true, than it would seem to me that this is far from the original Monsey meat scandal. In this particular case there seems to have been little, if any, chance of a Jew buying the meat, and therefore I do not think it is worth it to make a big deal over this error.
      tmts”a
      Gavi

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