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Mar 21, 2012 08:26 AM

Yoplait hecksher

I just got a call from a (non-Jewish) friend who runs our local hospital's kitchen. Apparently Yoplait yogurt just has a plain KD and she wanted to know if it was kosher. I don't use it, I have no idea.

Does anyone know who certifies Yoplait and how comfortable are you with their certification? I've got a few other feelers out, but I have faith in the Hounds for a quick, correct answer.

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  1. KD probably means it contains gelatin. A few years ago I visited a yoghurt factory that had three different hechsherim for different lines. Some were OU, some were the "pregnant K" (which has since been taken over by the OU) and some were plain K. The (non-Jewish) quality-control manager described the difference between the three, as far as he could tell: the OU comes every two months, the "pregnant K" comes every three months, and in the seven years he'd been there he had never seen the rabbi authorising the plain K.

    PS: I just googled "Yoplait ingredients" and found that they use something called "kosher gelatin" (which could mean anything) but also carmine. Again, a controversial ingredient that the majors won't certify, but one can easily find rabbis who will authorise a K

    7 Replies
    1. re: zsero

      I assumed gelatin automatically when she said "plain K." I've found out that the supervising rabbi is Dov Hasdan of Ner Tamid in Staten Island, but there is very little about him on the web and what there is isn't too encouraging.

      My rabbi is in a meeting right now so I don't know when I'll hear from him. Anyone know anything about Dov Hasdan?

      1. re: rockycat

        The letter K is not a certification symbol and can be thrown on by anyone, unlike the unique marks of certification agencies which can only be used with permission/supervision.

        1. re: ferret

          Granted. However, some plain K's are certified by individual rabbis and/or small agencies. If you know and approve of the rav, than the absence of a major agency's insignia is not a problem.
          In this particular case, I did hear back from my rabbi and he does not accept Yoplait's rabbi's certification.

          1. re: rockycat

            I believe that to be true for Tabasco

            1. re: chazzer

              Actually, according to the CRC, the Tabasco products with a K are fine. They are certified by Rabbi Nathan Greenblatt from Memphis.

              1. re: chicago maven

                plain k's are generally not reliable unless backed by a hasgacha (kelloggs cereals is an example). sometimes companies want certification but do not want an overt kosher symbol especially in communities where there may be anti-jewish bias. many williams sonoma products are certified by the ou (check the ou website) but are not on the packaging. rav hasdan has been discussed with amy's kitchen question. there was this info once posted by New York Maggazine
                New York Magazine reports:

                When is a restaurant that serves bacon considered kosher? To most Orthodox rabbis, the answer is easy: never. But Staten Island rabbi Dov Hazdan has been granting his own kosher certification to city Dunkin’ Donuts franchises that have served bacon, ham, and sausage, the trayf trifecta. “The meats all come prepackaged,” says Hazdan. “The employees have to wear gloves. I do not condone mixing kosher with nonkosher.” In Manhattan, Hazdan has also given his ner tamid K stamp to Pongal Vegetarian, an Indian restaurant that operates during the Jewish Sabbath, another no-no among the pork police. Hazdan was recently fired as the kosher supervisor at a Dunkin’ franchise on 34th Street after it received complaints from the Yeshiva University community about the rabbi and the pork. Spokesmen for the four top kosher-certifying agencies said they would never approve a restaurant that served nonkosher meats or operated on the Sabbath. “Who knows what goes on behind the counter?” says one Staten Island rabbi of Hazdan-approved shops. Hazdan insists his methods are 100 percent kosher. “I know a lot of people with beards who go into my stores,” he says.

        2. re: rockycat

          I know two people who know R Hasdan, and both assure me that he's trustworthy and knowledgeable. But with a K, the rabbi is not certifying to consumers that they can eat the food, he's certifying to the manufacturer that they can claim that the food is kosher without being guilty of fraud. So I can well imagine that any question, such as gelatin and carmine, would be resolved in the manufacturer's favour.

          I mean, one who claims that both ingredients are acceptable is not committing fraud; after all, there are very respectable poskim who say exactly that. Reb Chaim Ozer is not someone to be casually dismissed! But the consensus among rabbonim in the USA is not to allow them. So the same rabbi who will advise a manufacturer that "if you claim this is kosher you won't be lying", might not himself be willing to certify such a product, i.e. to put his name on it and tell people that they can eat it.