Only the Gas is Kosher
Kosher certifier the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations has settled its lawsuit against Indiana’s Luke Oil company, over the Orthodox Union’s (OU) complaint that the company was engaging in “consumer fraud” for using its trademarked “U” inside a circle logo. Luke Oil launched a similar “Serving U” logo in its gas station convenience stores, but apparently the OU was concerned that customers would think the mark indicated its blessing was granted on slushies and taquitos.
Asked if kosher certification is a profitable business, The Jewish Week (in a reprint on Kashrut News) said, “The Orthodox Union [The Largest certification agency] is not-for-profit, and proceeds from kashrus fund a good deal of the programs of the OU. Is it profitable? Big time, but they use it to fund all their other projects. How much money do you think the OU brings in from certifying kosher products? I’ve asked them a few times and no one ever tells me. That’s probably as secret as the ingredients of Coca Cola.”
Reached for their comment on the case, two rabbis had the following exchange:
Rabbi Jonathan: Well, on the other hand, Luke Oil is no small potatoes. They sell gas to 100 stations, they run 23 convenience stores, own car washes, a liquor store, they even own an apple orchard. What if their faux kosher symbol starts turning up on bottles of scotch and Granny Smiths?
Rabbi Bonnie: Sure, but on the other hand, kosher isn’t what it used to be. The largest kosher meat producer got busted last year for a slew of labor violations, including physically abusing workers, knowingly hiring undocumented workers, and paying below minimum wage.
Rabbi Bonnie: But on the other hand, there are those who want kosher to be even more strict, and have it include labor and environmental and social responsibility standards. Now that would be a kiddush Hashem.
Rabbi Jonathan: Nu? I didn’t know that. What’s for dinner?