Haagen-Dazs Under Attack in Israel

Jan 16, 2012 3:09pm

TEL AVIV, Israel - As Israel debates war with Iran, women’s equality and peace talks with the Palestinians, another controversy is brewing: Is Haagen-Dazs ice cream kosher?

The country’s Chief Rabbinate doesn’t think so.

A recent notice warned that the State Rabbinical Authority has not approved the American ice cream, saying it is made with unsupervised liquid milk, as opposed to powdered milk. Stores now reportedly risk losing their kosher licenses if they continue to sell Haagen-Dazs, “a severe infringement of kashrut [kosher] procedures.”

“We request from those providing kashrut certificates not to permit the sale of this product in places with [kashrut] supervision,” the Jerusalem Post reported the Rabbinate’s notice as reading. “One should not take into account the opinion of kashrut advisers in this matter who request to continue selling this product, and if the management of any chain insists on selling them it is possible that ‘kashrut [license] withdrawal’ may be enacted against them, according to the law.”

In Israel, milk used in kosher products must come from kosher animals produced under Jewish supervision.

Israel’s biggest supermarket chain, Shufersal, will pull Haagen-Dazs from its shelves, the chain told the Ynet news site.

“Abroad they have different considerations,” Rafi Yochai of the Rabbinate’s kashrut division said. “There, the majority of milk is unsupervised so there’s less choice.”

“But here, we are living in Eretz Hakodesh [the Holy Land], the majority of the milk produced is supervised, so there’s less reason to permit these products,” he said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

General Mills, which markets Haagen-Dazs here, responded by saying, “the ice cream adheres to the strict and global OU [Orthodox Union] kashrut supervision and is consumed by the religious and secular public in Israel and abroad.

“The Chief Rabbinate’s announcement is nothing new. The super-premium ice cream is produced with liquid milk, which allows exceptional quality in product’s texture and final taste.”

Haagen-Dazs was started in the 1960s by a Jewish couple, Reuben and Rose Mattus, who built on his family’s history in the ice cream business. They chose the company’s name “to convey an aura of the old-world traditions and craftsmanship to which he remained dedicated,” the company’s website says.

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