Should kosher consumers be concerned when one rabbi rules sesame seeds in hummus not kosher?

Is hummus non-kosher?

'National food' at risk as leading rabbi says sesame seeds used in hummus preparation made non-kosher by non-Jewish workers. Or is it a fight among rabbis?

JERUSALEM - An influential Israeli rabbi has ruled that a key ingredient in hummus is not kosher when prepared by non-Jews, his top aide said, presenting a religious challenge to followers who savor the Mideast staple.


The ruling regarding tahini sesame seed paste sent Israeli hummus companies scrambling to check their production processes. Some feared that the ruling would affect sales of the chick pea spread that many Israelis consider the national food.


But others wondered if many Israelis would be able to actually forego eating hummus, religious edict or not, and some attributed the ruling to a turf war between rabbis.


A leading hummus company said it didn't expect the ruling to affect sales and said the decision came as a result of a debate between ultra-Orthodox Jews.


A former chief rabbi, Mordechai Eliahu, ruled that when sesame seeds used to make the tahini paste for hummus are roasted and shelled by non-Jews, the resulting hummus is not kosher, said the aide, Rabbi David Lahiani.


When non-Jews are involved in the cooking process of foods, this causes them to be designated non-kosher according to Jewish law, Lahiani said.


Meir Micha, chief of Pinati hummus company, said publication of the ruling Sunday sent him hurriedly calling all his factories to ensure that the production process was kosher.


"The food will continue to be our national food and we will have to work quickly to get kosher certificates for all the factories," Micha told Channel One TV.


Micha said he thought Eliahu's ruling was only due to a dispute between religious camps. Eliahu's main rival, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef - himself a former chief rabbi - told a newspaper there is no difference between shelled and unshelled sesame seeds, and they're all kosher.


In the past, competing rabbis have issued differing edicts about kosher food partly to solidify the following for their own certificates of approval.


פרסום ראשון: 07.04.05, 10:01
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