Jerusalem – The High Court of Justice struck a significant blow to the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly on kashrut licensing Tuesday, ruling that restaurants and other food businesses can describe the kashrut standards they maintain as long as they make clear that they do not have a kashrut license.
The ruling has given succor to the Hashgacha Pratit independent kashrut licensing authority, which has challenged the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly in recent years, and broadens its scope to provide legal kashrut supervision on businesses that are not interested in the rabbinate’s services.
“The law does not prohibit food businesses which do not have a kashrut certificate [from the rabbinate] to present a true representation of the standards they observe and the way in which the observation of these standards are inspected, including an explicit clarification that they do not have a kashrut certificate,” the justices wrote in their ruling.
Since it’s inception, Hashgacha Pratit has used loopholes in the Law Against Kashrut Fraud to provide kashrut supervision for restaurants and other food businesses who were fed up with the often sub-standard and corrupt rabbinate service.
Such loopholes included not describing their documentation as a kashrut certificate and avoiding using the word kosher, instead using words associated with kashrut such as “supervision” and other such phrases.
However a decision in June 2016 by the High Court closed these loopholes and put greater restrictions on Hashgacha Pratit’s operations. The organization nevertheless adapted its documentation even further, merely alluding to kashrut standards in order to continue operating.
Tuesday’s decision restores the situation to what is was prior to the June 2016 ruling, and will give Hashgacha Pratit much greater scope to inform potential patrons and customers of restaurants and food businesses that the food on offer is kosher.