10/11/2006

Spinning the Monsey Chicken Scandal

The big winner in this whole thing is…. The OU.

This establishment wasn’t under the OU because, basically, OU mashgichim don’t have long enough beards. The thing about the OU is that they’re pro. They’re not like these mamma and tatta chassidishe kashrus organizations that look very frum but can’t possibly have the clout and degree of institutional knowledge that the OU has. I’ve heard, on very good authority, that a bunch of these little hashgacha agencies called up the OU in the wake of the scandal in order to know how to protect themselves from this type of fraud. The fact it’s almost impossible for this to happen to an OU establishment makes them look really good.

It also makes you wonder about the degree of contributory negligence on the part of the community. When one chooses one kashrus organization over another because of some sort of cultural fealty (i.e., it’s under a heimische hashgacha) there seems to be a greater acceptance of responsibility – you’re not relying on others’ judgment, you’re, in a sence, making your own decision.

An expert OU mashgiach once pointed out that it’s possible to be at an establishment 24/7 and not be a temidi, and it’s possible to be somewhere once every few months and be temidi. It’s about knowing what to look for and where to look – auditing the books will yield more information than examining the chickens.

And a final observation: Why do communities get thrown into a tizzy when it turns out they’ve been eating trayf, but don’t seem quite as bothered – on the communal level – when it turns out they’ve been employing a sexual predator in their schools?

Post a Comment