The city health department has cited a kosher restaurant as having violations because they found mice and insects crawling on the food in the kitchen. Since mice and insects are non-kosher, I'm curious if, typically, a mashgiach would also temporarily revoke the restaurant's hashgacha until the problem is corrected. If this is not being done, commonly, should this be done, halachically?

  • Are you asking if he should, or if it is the practice to do so? – Tatpurusha May 7 '14 at 17:50
  • See edited question. – DanF May 7 '14 at 17:58
  • The question should really be what is the mashgiach doing. Why does it take the health department to find out that this establishment is selling traifah. – preferred May 7 '14 at 18:10
  • That's part of my question - implied. Maybe the health dept. has different standards of checking than the kosher supervising agency / person? – DanF May 7 '14 at 18:33
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    I strongly suspect that the answer to the halachic part of this question is highly dependent on the specifics of the case (e.g. how many of what were found, in what state of life, where, and how personnel deal with it) as well as the specifics of the health department's checking standards and methods. Note that the latter probably vary by jurisdiction and are not something I'd expect experts on Judaism to necessarily know. I would recommend possibly recasting this as to be exclusively about history, i.e. "Are there cases in which hashgacha was pulled as a result of a failed health inspection?" – Isaac Moses May 7 '14 at 19:04

I spoke to someone who owns a kosher store. He gave me two viewpoints:

1 - Many health inspectors have egos. Sometimes, they cite things for violations that aren't actually there. Even if they do not want to wield their power, there are nuances between the itemized list that they must check on the violations sheet, and what actually exists. E.g. - the store owner was cited for not having cleaned his deep fryer. Of course not! The inspector came in the middle of the day while he was using the fryer.

2 - The hashgacha agency's responsibility is to supervise the kashrut only. If they were to look for health violations, that could detract from their focus on teh kashrut. The owner explained, "If your job is to analyze computer programs, would you want your boss asking you to do accounting, as well? It would detract from your computer analysis efforts."

I am willing to accept this store owner's analysis as the answer as to why mashgichim don't revoke hashgachot based on health violations. This does not mean that I tolerate the problems that, inevitably, can occur with this system. I would hope that if during the course of inspection, the mashgiach, himself, notes an obvious health problem, that these might be considered into the criteria, as I think that's the ethical and safe thing to do.

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    I don't understand 2. Insects is a halachik concern, not (only) a cleanliness one. – Double AA May 9 '14 at 16:14
  • Correct. However, based on what I said in 1, it doesn't mean that insects are or ever actually were there. The mashgiach would have to do his own investigation. – DanF May 9 '14 at 16:50

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