Ontario, Canada An Ontario food processing company has been slapped with $25,000 in fines for labelling non-kosher cheese as kosher, in the first Canadian case of its kind to get to a provincial court.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Wednesday reported Creation Foods Co. of Woodbridge had pled guilty June 22 in the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket to two counts under the Food and Drugs Act.
The agency said Wednesday its investigation found Creation Foods had sold non-kosher cheese to two Jewish youth camps.
The cheese sold to both camps “did not meet the requirements of the kashruth,” CFIA said, referring to the body of Jewish religious law dealing with issues such as suitability of foods.
The agency didn’t specify how the cheeses in question did not meet the requirements, but said the sale was completed by means of “a forged kosher certificate.”
According to CFIA, this marks the first case in Canada brought before a provincial court related to “misrepresentation of a kosher food product.”
Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations require that a food that doesn’t meet the applicable requirements of the kashruth can’t be packaged with the word “kosher” or any other representation that indicates or might create an impression that the food is kosher.
A summary conviction for contraventions under those federal regulations comes with maximum penalties of $50,000 and/or six months in prison, while convictions by indictment come with penalties of up to $250,000 and/or three years’ prison.
That said, CFIA added Wednesday, the fine on Creation Foods “is significant and may lead to improved future compliance under this statute.”
The embarrassment of worldwide media coverage will hopefully deter other food companies from trying to trick kosher consumers and use copyrighted kosher symbols.
According to COR, the Kashruth Council of Canada, requirements of the kashruth are set out in detail in the Talmud and other works, such as which livestock are not permitted (pigs, rabbits, shellfish, insects).
Meat from permitted animals, meanwhile, must be slaughtered in a specified manner. Milk and meat products “must never be mixed” and most cheeses “must be prepared either in whole or in part by Jews.”
“While the rules sound simple, the practical applications can often be more complex,” the COR said.
“Each ingredient used in the production of a certain food product, even if only used in trace amounts, must be kosher,” the council said — and that often rules out processing ingredients such as gelatin or tallow. — AGCanada.com Network
Article from food safety news:
In the first provincial court case prosecuted in Canada for misrepresentation of a kosher food product, Creation Foods Co. of Woodbridge, has been fined $25,000.
The corporate entity recently pleaded guilty to two counts of contravening Section 31(1) of the Food and Drugs Act in the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket.
A manufacturer of frozen pastries ranging from croissants to strudels, Creation Foods Co. was established in 1995, and is family owned.
The charges resulted from an investigation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Investigators determined that the company sold a non-kosher food product to two Jewish youth camps, by means of a forged kosher certificate. Cheese sold to both camps did not meet kosher requirements. CFIA said it was the first case in Canada brought before a provincial court related to the misrepresentation of a kosher food product.
“The fine is significant and may lead to improved future compliance under this statute,” according to a statement from the agency. “This case, and the conviction, reinforces the CFIA’s commitment to food safety, and demonstrates how the agency takes issues related to food fraud seriously. Investigation and legal action will be taken, when warranted.”
The CFIA is responsible for the administration and enforcement of Canada’s federal legislation, acts and regulations, including the Food and Drugs Act. The CFIA is charged with safeguarding food, animal and plant health.
Section 31(1) of Canada’s Food and Drugs Act states that “every person who contravenes any provision of this Act or the regulations, as it relates to food, is guilty of an offense and liable: (a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both; or (b) on conviction by indictment, to a fine not exceeding $250,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both.”
Section B.01.049 of Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations states that no one shall use, in labelling, packaging, advertising or selling, a food that does not meet the requirements of the Jewish religious laws concerning food applicable to it, the word “kosher” or any letters of the Hebrew alphabet or any other word, expression, depiction, sign, symbol, mark, device or other representation that indicates or that is likely to create an impression that the food is kosher.
The Ontario Court of Justice ruling on the fine came down on June 22 and was reported by CFIA on July 5.