In light of the much-publicized immigration raid a few months back at a kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa, the Rabbinical Council of America has appointed a task force to produce a guide to “Jewish Principles and Ethical Guidelines” for industry.
The guide will apply in particular to the kosher food industry, according to the RCA, which represents Orthodox rabbis.
1. It will require that a condition of kosher food certification be an agreement to adhere to all relevant civil laws and regulations as formulated, monitored and enforced by existing government regulatory and enforcement agencies, in whichever country they occur. Violations of such laws will be viewed by kosher agencies with utmost seriousness.
2. It will formulate and clarify relevant principles of Jewish law and ethics governing business conduct. Companies interested in conforming to the highest standards of Jewish ethics will be encouraged to adopt these principles voluntarily wherever possible, as a matter of corporate social responsibility.
Rabbi Shlomo Hochberg, president of the RCA, says: “Ethics and social responsibility are central to the Torah and the rabbinic tradition, in business no less than in the home, the synagogue and the school. We are fully aware of the realities of a competitive marketplace spread all over the globe, and the need to provide affordable kosher food. In taking this step, the RCA seeks as a practical matter to reinforce ethical values and corporate policies, while ensuring a reliable and affordable supply of food products for the kosher consumer.”