A Woodbridge, Ont. company has been fined $25,000 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) after using a forged kosher certificate to sell non-kosher cheese to two Jewish youth camps in Ontario.
According to the CFIA, this is the first Canadian case related to the misrepresentation of a kosher food product to be brought before a provincial court. The CFIA said it hoped the “significant” fine would ensure improved compliance.
“This case, and the conviction, reinforces the CFIA’s commitment to food safety and demonstrates how the Agency takes issues related to food fraud seriously,” said the CFIA in a statement. “Investigation and legal action will be taken when warranted.”
Creation Foods Company pled guilty and was convicted on two counts of contravening Section 31(1) of the Food and Drugs Act, which states that “no person shall use, in labelling, packaging, advertising or selling, a food that does not meet the requirements of the kashruth applicable to it, the word 'kosher' or any letters of the Hebrew alphabet or any other word, expression, depiction, sign, symbol, mark, device or other representation that indicates or that is likely to create an impression that the food is kosher.”
Canada’s largest kosher certification agency, COR, which certifies approximately 70,000 products at 1,000 facilities in Canada and abroad, terminated Creation Foods’ kosher certification in June 2012. However, the company continued to distribute kosher foods from companies such as Gay Lea Foods.
Creation had previously violated kosher certification criteria in a 2011 case involving bourekas containing non-kosher cheese, and again in 2013 – after its kosher certification had been revoked – in a case involving yogurt cakes bearing an unauthorized COR certification.
According to reports about the most recent case, a kitchen manager at one of the camps noticed some packages in a batch of Gay Lea Foods Ivanhoe Old Cheddar Cheese supplied by Creation did not carry the COR certification label.
When the manager contacted Creation to enquire, a Creation employee reportedly responded with an emailed copy of the certificate that “did not look quite right,” leading to further investigation.
Creation Foods Company did not respond to interview requests.