State Unveils On-Line Registry For Kosher Foods
Governor George Pataki last week announced that the State has begun implementation of the new Kosher Law Protection Act with the unveiling of an on-line registry program for kosher food products. The new Kosher Law will provide New York consumers with important information identifying the person or organization certifying foods labeled as kosher.
“Kosher consumers in New York are a large and thriving part of the local community, representing the second largest kosher population in the world,” Pataki said. “The new Kosher Law Protection Act and on-line registry will provide consumers with important safeguards against fraudulently packaged and misbranded kosher products and easy access to information they need to make food choices that conform to their religious and dietary needs.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “This new law, which I have fought for with Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and the Kosher Laws Task Force, comprised of a wide range of interested organizations, will provide kosher food consumers throughout the state with an enhanced level of confidence. It satisfies the constitutional concerns of the courts while maintaining our strong commitment to consumer protection. The on-line registry the Assembly called for provides consumers with specific information about the level of Kosher supervision of the products they wish to purchase.”
Brooklyn State Senator Martin J. Golden said, “The implementation of New York State’s Kosher Law Protection Act greatly strengthens consumer protections against false or misleading representations of foods sold or offered for sale as ‘kosher’. By requiring vendors to disclose the basis for their representation that such foods are kosher, we have taken a crucial step in restoring the confidence of the kosher-consuming public in the food purchases made. It was necessary to afford kosher consumers this protection.”
Under the new law, certain producers, distributors, manufacturers, packers, processors, and retailers of food represented as kosher are now required to file with the Department of Agriculture and Markets the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the persons or organizations providing kosher certification. Food establishments and caterers that sell food prepared on the premises or under their control must file additional information about certifiers and operations and post it in their premises for consumers to see. Governor Pataki signed the new Kosher Law Protection Act earlier this year.
The Department has made that information available to consumers by developing a new website, www.agmkt.state.ny.us/kosher, where regulated parties can electronically file kosher certification forms and consumers can find out who certified specific products as kosher and the qualifications of persons certifying non-prepackaged food as kosher or kosher for Passover.
New York is second only to Israel in the manufacturing and consumption of kosher foods. The value of kosher products in the U.S. is $180 billion and is growing annually by 15 percent. There are approximately 82,000 different kosher-certified products on market shelves and more than 10 million consumers of kosher products in the U.S.