Who determines the kosher status for "new" processed foods (e.g. Jell-O)? A few orthodox rabbis' approval? General consensus by the Jewish religious community? Certain kosher standards organizations? Or something else?
The reason I ask is, I've long heard that Jell-O gelatin dessert is not kosher because the gelatin within can be derived from non-kosher animals. However, the gelatin undergoes a chemical separation process that produces a new substance, muddying the waters, such that there seems to be some debate about whether it's truly treif.
Looking into the matter further, the makers of Jell-O gave this official explanation in 1998:
Is it Kosher and Pareve?
"JELL-O Brand gelatin is certified as Kosher by a recognized orthodox Rabbi as per enclosed RESPONSUM. In addition to being Kosher, Jell-O is also Pareve, and can be eaten with either a meat meal or a dairy meal."
The person asking the question then received a copy of the kosher certification given by 2 Orthodox Rabbis:
Included [in this response is a] sheet with a copy of "The Halachic Basis of our Kashruth Certification of Atlantic Gelatin and the General Foods Products containing this Gelatin" by Rabbi Yehuda Gershuni & Rabbi David Telsner. The upshot is that since the collagen has been taken apart by the chemical digestion and a new substance has been produced it meets the specifications of the Orthodox Dietary Laws and is Kosher and Pareve.
So basically, they are saying, "These 2 recognized Orthodox Rabbis, R. Gershuni and R. Telsner, certified our product is kosher and pareve. Therefore, we're putting the 'K' symbol on our product."
Is that enough to make something kosher? Who determines the kosher status of "new" foods like this?