I noticed that many times there are Brochos listed on food packages (e.g. "ברכתו מזונות"). Is there any standard with regards to who is supplying the Halachic data? Is it generally the Hashgacha (Kosher Certifying Agency) of the product, or is it simply the manufacturer?

And if it's the latter, can it be relied upon?

  • Generally, the Hashgacha gets a copy of the label to approve, so I guess they could change the "Brocha" label. – ertert3terte Sep 4 '11 at 22:45
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    @tomsmith, that's no proof they vet the b'racha info. They may just leave it as is, figuring that people do not assume they've vetted it. – msh210 Sep 4 '11 at 23:12
  • Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/26575 – msh210 Feb 25 '13 at 5:00

A partial answer:

I e-mailed the OU, asking:

Does the OU approve the "birchaso X" (e.g. "birchaso m'zonos") claims on labels of OU-certified food products?

They responded that such a claim on a label

does not necessarily represent the OU position.

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    Interesting. But it could be OU is different since I don't ever recall seeing an OU-certified product with a Bracha, while not having any other hechsher. – yydl Sep 9 '11 at 16:38
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    @yydl, yeah, good point: In the States, products with a b'racha listed are exclusively (in my experience) from companies more likely to have a hechsher besides the OU's. – msh210 Sep 9 '11 at 19:43
  • @yydl, I've now e-mailed the OK the same question (m.m.), and await their reply, on which I'll bl"n update this answer. – msh210 Sep 11 '11 at 17:04
  • @msh210 did you receive an answer yet? – ertert3terte Aug 20 '13 at 18:14
  • @ShmuelBrin, no. – msh210 Aug 20 '13 at 18:15

I don't believe that this is in any way formalized. But as far as the last part of the question, it should be possible to rely on it if the company is known to be reputable and follow religious norms. In general we say 'Eid Ehad NeEman BeIsurin ("one witness is believed in (matters of) prohibitions"). Thus, technically, if the producer of the food is an upstanding, religious person, he can be relied upon to state that his food is Kosher. The only reason we have come to rely on outside agencies is that there have been cases in which one's interest in his own product has compromised his believability with regard to the Kashruth of the product. Since the Berachah is not part of what helps the company sell the product (as opposed to its being Kosher), I would trust the label unless I either know otherwise or suspect that they are not reliably educated enough to make such a claim (not that I would suspect them of deliberately misleading me, as I might if it were a Kashruth claim designed to help sell the prodcut).

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    Actually, selling a roll as a "mezonos roll" could be a real selling point, significantly differentiating it from other rolls. This advantage could tempt purveyors of such rolls to put that distinction on the package with less than sufficient regard for what the rabbis have to say about it. – Isaac Moses Sep 9 '11 at 17:54
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    It also assumes the owner is knowledgeable and rules like the same poskim as you do. – ertert3terte Sep 9 '11 at 18:03
  • @Isaac Moses. That's a good point. I wasn't thinking of those, since I don't consider the concept to be valid. judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/3248/mezonos-bread/… – Seth J Sep 9 '11 at 18:21
  • Ed echad neeman *b'isurin*: does that apply to b'rachos? – msh210 Sep 9 '11 at 18:23
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    @tom smith, In my answer I state that "I would trust the label unless I either know otherwise or suspect..." Meaning my tradition and/or knowledge leads me to conclude that a different Berachah is required. If I know what Berachah to make, why I am reading the label for advice? – Seth J Sep 9 '11 at 18:23

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