Unlike their American counterparts, kashrus agencies in Europe have not been faced with a significant misuse of their kosher symbols. In the US, there are as many as 500 incidents a year, some of them innocent, others not.
Last week, it was revealed that a vegetarian food company owned by Heather Mills has been using the Manchester Beth Din kosher hechsher without consent on its pork-style sausage rolls.
The misuse emerged when the pork-flavored snacks made by Redwood Whole Foods were photographed on sale in a Holland and Barrett store in Manchester with the MK symbol on their packaging.
Food from Redwood received kosher certification in 2010, but it to a request by the Beth Din that the company would not use the hechsher on products that mimic pork and seafood.
Kashrus officials have long debated the question of offering kashrus certification on products that are designed to mimic the treif versions. One rabbi recalled “how my stomach turned when I saw a hechsher on kosher shrimp.” He added: “It makes me sick when I think of people who drool for something that looks like and smells like the real thing (treif).