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Right of Reply – the kosher labelling submission

May 26, 2010 – 7:51 pm11 Comments

An array of kosher symbolsBy Peter Wertheim

The ECAJ/ORA submission does not purport to contain a complete proposal for an alternative system to the present regime of self-regulation. On the contrary, the final paragraph suggests that if a fair and workable regulatory system cannot be devised then “the Jewish community considers that it would be better served by maintaining the present self-regulating system”.

By definition, any regulatory regime will limit competition.  Even the present self-regulating system imposes such limits.  So I think it’s quite unfair to impute improper motives to those who are seeking to find a way to provide assurance to the Australian kosher consumer that a product labelled “kosher” is indeed kosher.  The present self-regulating system provides no such assurance.  Maybe self-regulation is the lesser of evils.  But if, in the future, a notorious case should occur in which a large number of kosher consumers have been duped by false labelling, and our community is unable to achieve a consensus on the details of a regulatory system to prevent a recurrence, Food Standards Australia may feel compelled to step in to fill the vacuum.  And I sincerely doubt that Galus Australis readers would be satisfied with the result.

Peter Wertheim is the Executive Director of ECAJ. You can read the submission here, and Rachel Sacks-Davis’ critique of the submission here.

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