New ethical kosher mark to be tested in January

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) – A new “kosher ethics” label will be tested on the first companies in January.

The Magen Tzedek, or “seal of justice,” was developed by the Conservative movement’s Hekhsher Tzedek Commission  to reward kosher food producers that meet certain ethical standards.

Two companies, and a possible third, have agreed to test the new standards in January, according to the Forward.

Auditors will vet the companies in the areas of labor issues, animal welfare, environmental impact and business practices.The results of the audits will be announced in March.

The new mark will be given only to foods already bearing kosher certification, or non-processed foods such as fruit and vegetables that do not need certification.

The Hekhsher Tzedek Commission was formed in 2007 as a response to poor labor conditions at the Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa. The plant went bankrupt and CEO Sholom Rubashkin is serving a lengthy prison sentence for fraud.

The company now operates as Agri Star Meat & Poultry under new ownership.

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