I'm trying to understand whether or not there are leniencies regarding kosher certification in countries where it's uncommon. I am aware that in many parts of the world there are almost zero products with hechshers, as well as a lack of comprehensive kosher lists.

One website I found on kosher travel in Europe seems to suggest that (i.e. for pas palter bread) one only needs to check the ingredients to confirm the absence of ingredients known to be non-kosher, such as certain emulsifiers. I then found a source by the Noda B'Yehuda that seems to say that even if a not kosher ingredient is present, it is typically nullified.

Coming from the US, it seems strange to me that it would be acceptable to just go buy bread without a hechsher and check the ingredients. Can anyone confirm that this is the case, or show sources that prove I'm not crazy?

  • 2
    You should probably consult a rabbi in Germany.
    – N.T.
    Jul 26 at 8:06
  • 1
    There are countries where this is 100 % acceptable and countries where you definitely can't at all. As @N.T. says, you need to speak to a rabbi in Germany Jul 26 at 8:28
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    Having lived in a number of European countries and traveled extensively to others, this is very country-dependent. Your best bet is to speak to the local Chabad or rabbi and ask how the local community eats. In some countries (eg Eastern Europe, Portugal) the issue is made more complex by the difficulty in reading food labels. But I am not aware of any general exemption
    – mbloch
    Jul 26 at 9:00
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    You should keep in mind that this abundance of hekhsherim was not typical before WWII. People were checking each product one-by-one, and for more sensitive stuff the local rabbi would give a hekhsher. You should ask the LOR what can you eat without a hekhsher and what not, what you should do or not do with pat or chalav akum. Jul 26 at 10:19
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    Rav Moshe Feinstein wrote that it would be disgusting for a hechsher to certify as kosher a product that relied on nullification of minor non-kosher ingredients. That doesn't mean the nullification doesn't work or that the food isn't fully kosher.
    – Double AA
    Jul 26 at 12:15


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