The "Kosher Tax" Hoax:
Anti-Semitic Recipe for Hate

The Facts
The Lies
Bigotry Over a Beer Label
"You Don't Have to be Jewish..."

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The Facts

Attacks on the labeling of food with the symbols for kashruth (traditional Jewish dietary laws) have been a standard ploy of anti-Jewish bigots in the U.S. for decades. Such symbols as the "kosher certification" emblem of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations (UOJC), among others, confirm that products are kosher—i.e., that foods and production processes have been inspected by competent rabbis from the respective organizations and found to be in compliance with Jewish dietary law.

The cost to the consumer for this service is a miniscule fraction of the total production overhead; it is so negligible in practical terms as to be virtually non-existent. A May 18, 1975 New York Times article reported that the cost to General Foods' "Bird's Eye" Unit, for example, is 6.5 millionths (.0000065) of a cent per item. Furthermore, a representative of the Heinz Company has said that the per item cost is "so small we can't even calculate it," and that such labeling actually makes products less costly by increasing the market for them.

Indeed, according to marketing manager Steven Zamichow, quoted in the Washington Post, "Entenmann's Inc. received kosher certification in 1981 and sales of [its] baked goods 'increased substantially.' " Visits to the Entenmann's plant from a "mashgiach" or kashruth inspector, are provided by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. The UOJC is one of several groups that maintain such a kosher inspection service, certifying foods and related products to be in compliance with Jewish dietary laws through all phases of production. The profit from these products goes, of course, to the companies that manufacture them and the stores that sell them, not to "the Jews."

Shopping at Kosher Butcher Shops

In the separate case of kosher meat and poultry purchased at kosher butcher shops (as distinguished from the broad general range of mass-market consumer goods certified kosher), the consumer does pay a higher price. This cost is due to the more intensive, continuous rabbinical supervision required for the exacting technicalities of kosher slaughter and inspection, processing, storage and quality of kosher meat—an inescapable necessity for this particular product, applicable only to its limited market, not the general consumer.

Next: The Lies

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This report was originally issued in January 1991

2000 Anti-Defamation League