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A food cooperative is a member-owned food store. It is typically set up that in order to shop there at discount prices, each person can become a member if they agree to volunteer a certain amount of time, and essentially they gain an ownership interest in the organization, much like a shareholder of a company.

Since it is prohibited to do business with (biblically prohibited) non-Kosher food, if the food cooperative also sells non-Kosher food (e.g. meat, seafood and the like), is there an issue for a Jew to participate?

On the one hand, the person could be said to be a minority share holder, not unlike owning some McDonald's stock. So they lack real controlling ownership of the company.

On the other hand, a shareholder would not gain any privileges due to his or her ownership of stock. At most they get limited voting rights (depending on the corporate structure). In a food cooperative, they actually work in the co-op with ownership privileges and special access.

Are there issues with being a member of a Food Cooperative in that context?

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"Since it is prohibited to do business with (biblically prohibited) non-Kosher food, if the food cooperative also sells non-Kosher food (e.g. meat, seafood and the like)". I can't open the CRC link, so I'm curious about this prohibition. I thought the only prohibition was handling mixed meat and dairy, not non-kosher items. If that were the case, how could Jews work in supermarkets or grocery stores? –  DanF Jul 17 at 16:30
    
@DanF, it is a Rabbinic prohibition to prevent someone from eating from it accidentally. It may not apply to workers, only business where the Jew actually owns the food, but that is a separate question. –  Yishai Jul 17 at 16:56
    
If I understand you correctly, you're saying that a Jew cannot own a store that sells non-kosher food? There are numerous U.S. supermarket chains that are owned by Jews were the supermarket sells non-kosher food. Waldbaum's is / was one. (Though, it's been bought out by A&P, I think, so I don't know who the current owner is.) Jews shopped in these stores. Or, are packaged items under a different category? –  DanF Jul 17 at 17:48
    
@DanF, if a Jew owns such a business, this is a personal religious issue for him. I don't think anybody would say you can't shop there just because the owner is Jewish and they have a trief aisle. –  Yishai Jul 17 at 18:02

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