Kashrut authorities have been able to make money on certifying all sorts of odd things that once never really needed a hechsher. We all joke about the kashrus of water, fruit, and even toilet bowl cleaners. This is no joke, it’s serious business — it’s business-business. You start with products that the marketplace needs, and then you create new marketplaces. In fancy speak (Harvard Business School, in particular) it’s about “creating new markets through service innovation.”
But there is a huge area of kashrus that has not been well covered by any certification body. And some think that kashrus agencies are simply leaving money on the table. The new service innovation: Safe-Treif certification.
Everyone knows that modern orthdox travelers make up all sorts of safe-treif rules when they are on the road. I’ve heard many, such as: Sushi can’t be that treif — it’s an uncooked piece of otherwise kosher tuna. Most bagels are probably not that treif either. Just avoid the ones with asiago cheese. And a poached salmon is not even on the same grill as the mamesh-treif stuff, so that’s probably kosher enough — especially if you tell the waitress to double wrap the baked potato (since there’s nothing more kosher than using lots of aluminum foil). It’s pretty hard to treif beer, whiskey, and the free asian-flavored wasabi snacks they serve at the hotel bar. Cookies can’t be that treif, most people don’t use lard anymore. Heck, if you pick out the chicken from the salad, and don’t order the pepperoni on the pizza, then what can be so bad? Maybe it’s safe-treif?
Or maybe not!
But how would you know?
Some predict we’ll have a safe-treif certification within the next 5 years where you can identify how to keep “kosher-enough”. Kosher-enough is when people in the community will still eat in your home, but you don’t have to pack all that crappy kosher-on-the-go food when you travel.
Do you think this will happen?
Kashrut authorities have been able to make money on certifying water, fruit, and even toilet bowl cleaners. Could they figure out a way to make money on certifying treif foods too? I bet they are thinking about it.