As one of the softlinks states, this is one of the dumbest things – EVER.
This stupid letter does get two things right.
- Both the (U) and (K) symbols signify that an Orthodox Rabbi has certified that the food has been prepared in accordance with Jewish dietary laws.
- If the product does not have those symbols, they may lose Jewish customers.
Now, the idea of kosher food certification has already been covered in edibleplastic’s excellent write-up under kosher symbols. In short, if a manufacturer wants to put these symbols on their products, they must first apply for certification from one of the several organizations that handle this. A trained Rabbinic field representative comes out and examines the manufacturing plant and ensures that all ingredients involved are kosher. The field representative then visits the plant unannounced on a regular basis to ensure that *ahem* everything stays kosher.
The (U) and (K) are both trademarked by different Rabbinic organizations to ensure that everyone plays by the rules. It is true that a product without these symbols may lose customers. If the food does not have these symbols, the buyer cannot be sure that it’s kosher, and thus he or she does not purchase it. To call consumer choice a “boycott” is asinine. There are only an estimated 10 million kosher consumers in the United States, so even if a boycott existed, this is hardly enough people to bankrupt a company. However, getting kosher certification on your product does open you up to this market of 10 million, so it ends up being worth the extra effort.
Kosher certification companies do charge for this service, which is the backbone of the "secret tax" claim -- it costs money to obtain and maintain kosher certification, thus this is an extra expense a manufacturer must bear if he's determined upon having that certification. Where the rumor and reality part ways, however, is where the money goes. Fees paid to kosher certification companies go to keeping those businesses afloat; they do not flow off into some special Jewish fund used to advance Zionist causes. These are businesses, not charities.
Does certification add to the price of a product? Certainly, but the amount is miniscule, especially compared to the advertising, packaging, shipping, research, testing, administrative and finance-related costs, and a myriad of other components that contribute to the process of bringing a product to market or making it better appeal to consumers.
Then again, all that advertising money ends up in Israel anyway, what with the Jewish-controlled media and all.
Kosher Nostra?? That is too goddamn funny