The guidelines for the Conservative movement’s ethical kashrut initiative were released Thursday.
The initiative, Hekhsher Tzedek, aims to certify foods produced by companies that adhere to standards of worker safety and environmental sensitivity, among other criteria. The certification would complement a traditional kashrut stamp.
Hekhsher Tzedek has gained prominence in the aftermath of the May 12 immigration raid at Agriprocessors, the largest kosher meat producer in the United States, which has come under fire for allegedly mistreating its workers. The company has denied wrongdoing.
“Hekhsher Tzedek is a holistic celebration of Jewish tradition, uniting ethical practice with ritual observance in the production of Jewish food,” said Rabbi Morris Allen, the project’s founder and director. “Jewish law is concerned not only about the smoothness of a cow’s lung, but also about the safety of a worker’s hand as well as the impact that kosher food production has on the environment.
“Hekhsher Tzedek grows out of Jewish tradition; it does not seek to redefine kashrut as much as enhance it.”