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Books > Business & Money > Industries > Hospitality, Travel & Tourism > 0674072936
  1. Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food
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  2. Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (12 reviews)
    Price R1283.00

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Generating over $12 billion in annual sales, kosher food is big business. It is also an unheralded story of successful private-sector regulation in an era of growing public concern over the government’s ability to ensure food safety. Kosher uncovers how independent certification agencies rescued American kosher supervision from fraud and corruption and turned it into a model of nongovernmental administration.

Currently, a network of over three hundred private certifiers ensures the kosher status of food for over twelve million Americans, of whom only eight percent are religious Jews. But the system was not always so reliable. At the turn of the twentieth century, kosher meat production in the United States was notorious for scandals involving price-fixing, racketeering, and even murder. Reform finally came with the rise of independent kosher certification agencies which established uniform industry standards, rigorous professional training, and institutional checks and balances to prevent mistakes and misconduct.

In overcoming many of the problems of insufficient resources and weak enforcement that hamper the government, private kosher certification holds important lessons for improving food regulation, Timothy Lytton argues. He views the popularity of kosher food as a response to a more general cultural anxiety about industrialization of the food supply. Like organic and locavore enthusiasts, a growing number of consumers see in rabbinic supervision a way to personalize today’s vastly complex, globalized system of food production.

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Timothy D. Lytton
Brand: Harvard University Press
Used Book in Good Condition
Harvard University Press
Harvard University Press
Harvard University Press
Harvard University Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Kosher Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food by Timothy Lytton is brilliant account of the history and evolution of kosher supervision in America during the last century. This amazing work is one of a kind in its scope, and level of depth. Professor Lytton painstakingly researched his topic by reviewing a wealth of documents and interviewing scores of individuals. He leaves no stone unturned in an effort to present a scholarly, accurate and readable record of this era. And what an amazing story it is. At the turn of the 19th century, kosher supervision was riddled with corruption. The potential for profit and gain attracted unscrupulous individuals who fought against honest and sincere Rabbis who struggled to establish appropriate standards. It took many years of battle to remove supervision from the domain of opportunists. At the same time, food technology became increasingly complex, and supervisory agencies lacked the technical skill and professionalism that was... Read more
Lytton's book is a review of the history of Kosher supervision, first of slaughter houses and retail butcher shops, and, later, of industrial processed-food production. Starting from extremely local (one or a few butcher shops) supervision fraught with problems (ranging from poor supervision and conflicts of interest to outright fraud), Kosher supervision is today an international complex of mashgichim (kosher supervisors) from more than 1000 agencies (the vast majority the "big five", OU, OK, Kof-K, Star-K, and cRc) with similar or identical standards and (in the case of most but not all agencies) cross-acceptance of each other's supervision of individual ingredients and components of today's modern processed food industry. What is interesting is that this private supervision (provided to food manufacturers, restaurants, catering establishments, and retail stores for a fee) is extremely competent, open and transparent, and very responsive to problems, process or ingredient... Read more
Every morning, hundreds of thousands of American consumers reach for their breakfast cereals, and spread the ingredients of their PB&J sandwiches, secure in the knowledge that the food they are eating is "kosher" - that it meets the strict religious standards of the Jewish tradition. How they can be so confident - how private "regulatory" companies such as the Orthodox Union (OU), Kof-K and others can provide them reassurance about the quality and integrity of a vast universe of Kosher products - is the subject of this fascinating book.

As the book describes, the term "Kosher" in America wasn't always been synonymous with integrity. In the bad old days, the kosher meat industry was rife with fraud and corruption. Yet over time, the OU, Kof-K, and others managed to impose quality controls even as the food industry involved into a massive colossus in which most foods are not so much grown as manufactured.

This book tells that story on multiple levels. On a... Read more
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