Oy: State says something wasn't kosher about Newton butcher shop

A Newton butcher shop was fined $1,000 today for advertising kosher meat even after it stopped paying for kosher certification, the state Attorney General's office announced today.

The Gordon and Alperin Butcher Shop made a business decision in 2008 to drop its kosher certification, but the AG's office said the shop continued to post "Kosher meat" signs in Hebrew and to advertise the same on a Web site.

Gordon and Alperin has since regained its kashrut certification, Kosher Blog reports.

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How much is the Attorney

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How much is the Attorney General's fine for anyone offering up communion wafers that aren't actually the body of the messiah?

Massachusetts Kosher Food Law

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http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/94-156.htm

Why is our state government enforcing a private religious food standard?

Never understood why a producer or consumer should have to pay to have a product certified to a religious standard. Shouldn't a religion (which is non-profit) do the work for free, in the interests of its members?

Investigate before you post

All the kosher supervision agencies I'm aware of operate as non-profits.

Non-profit does not mean "work for free." Kosher certification of establishments that produce or serve meat requires a supervisor to be on premises full-time. At the very least, that fellow needs to make a living, and there will be modest administrative overhead.

Also, if you read the law carefully, it's clear that the state isn't enforcing a religious standard, it's enforcing a labeling law. The state doesn't care who does the supervision; they care that a business not deceive customers by advertising supervision in the absence of supervision.

While I appreciate the consumer protection, I'm upset that the AG's announcement did not indicate that Gordon & Alperin is once again under full glatt kosher supervision. Coakley's reckless press release does serious damage to G & A's reputation just as they've gone to great expense to restore their supervision and win back their customers.

Tough for them

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They were operating as if they were still kosher, even though they knowingly let their kosher certificate lapse. People who care about these things were being deceived. Tough for them if their "reputation is damaged". It deserves to be considering they were falsely advertising and lying to customers. If they want the community's trust back, they have to earn it.

There was no deception

Being one of their customers who "cares about these things," I know first-hand that they were very up front about having to drop their supervision. They posted clearly on their store that they were no longer under supervision.

The allegation was about their sign and their website. Removing the Hebrew inscription "basar kasher" from the sign outside the store was probably an oversight, and I don't think they'd updated their website in a few years. My take is that they were caught on a technicality, and no deception was intended.

It's easy to read about a situation like this on some website and assume that the accused is guilty. This store fills an important role in our community, and they are earning the community's trust back. My point is simply that this announcement feels like hitting someone while they're down.

Maybe I should read more closely...

Either the press release was changed, or I missed it amid my righteous indignation, but the the release does state:

"...has informed the Attorney General’s Office that the shop is now resuming Kosher supervision and certification."

Probably the latter ;)