Once again, a Jewish "light unto the nations" has begun to shine – this time, on the Hindus.
The Hindus in the United States have decided that they would like a worldwide certification system, similar to that of Kosher food.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism (USOH), stated this week that Hindus take their diets and their religious dietary laws very seriously.
It is about time, he said, that the world recognized and respected the needs of the one billion Hindu consumers around the world.
Zed proposes that foods permissible to all Hindus could be termed as “shuddh” (pure), and could be marked with an encircled capital “S”. “Shuddh” food would not contain meat, fish, eggs, alcohol or intoxicants, nor may these be used in the processing of “shuddh” food.
Machinery and equipment used to process “shuddh” food should be properly cleaned and purified before its processing.
Zed urges food manufacturers to clearly note all ingredients on the product labels, including those used in the processing, thus helping the Hindu consumer make conscious decisions.
Not being open about the usage of prohibited foods in their products hurt the feelings of the devotees, Zed added.
Kosher certification in the United States is about 100 years old. In 1915, the New York State Legislature enacted the nation's first Kosher Food Law, and it served as a model for all subsequent kosher food legislation.
The law prohibited presenting non-kosher food as kosher, and required stores selling both Kosher and non-Kosher food to post signs to that effect.
Just three years later, the law was upheld as constitutional by the New York State Supreme Court – the first of many times the law had to be thus defended.
In 1924, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregation of America (OU) introduced its official kashrut supervision and certification program. Eleven years later, the Organized Kashrut Laboratories (O.K.) was established by Abraham Goldstein.
In 1999, Kashrus Magazine reported the existence of 366 kosher certifications on food products in the U.S., while the CRC (Chicago Rabbinical Council) estimates that there are currently more than 1100 Kosher certifying agencies around the world.