NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2003
Silver, Spitzer Announce Effort to Develop New Laws on Labeling of Kosher Foods
Panel to Develop New Legislation to Protect Consumers Following U.S. Supreme Court Decision Not to Consider Reinstatement of Long-standing State Statute

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer will convene a task force to develop new legislation on the labeling of kosher products in New York State.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a New York Court of Appeals decision declaring NY's current law regulating the labeling of kosher foods unconstitutional. The law was adopted in 1915.

"This is a critically important issue for many thousands of consumers in New York State who depend on the accurate labeling of kosher products. The Supreme Court's decision will also potentially affect laws on kosher food labeling in 19 other states," Silver said. "We will take what we have learned in the appeals process and work with interested parties on kosher law to develop new legislation that will withstand any court challenge."

"For over 80 years, New York has been at the forefront of providing legal protections to consumers of kosher products," Spitzer said. "I look forward to working with Speaker Silver and the distinguished members of this task force to formulate new legislation to ensure those protections are extended for generations to come."

"We must take action to protect all New Yorkers who purchase kosher foods, and it is important that we take the time to come up with new legislation that will withstand the test of time," said Orthodox Union President Harvey Blitz. "We are committed to working closely with Speaker Silver and Attorney General Spitzer to achieve this goal."

Along with the Orthodox Union, other groups and individuals who are expected to participate in the task force include:

  • Nat Lewin, the distinguished constitutional law expert who worked with Silver and Spitzer in defense of the existing legislation;
  • Menachem Genack, Orthodox Union;
  • Michael Miller, Jewish Community Relations Council;
  • Marc Stern, American Jewish Congress;
  • Pesach Lerner, National Council of Young Israel;
  • Dennis Rapps, National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA); and
  • Menachem Lubinsky, president, Integrated Marketing.

Speaker Silver has for many years been a leader of efforts to maintain state laws for labeling kosher foods. He has emphasized that many consumers of kosher products are not Jewish but prefer kosher foods for a variety of reasons.

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New York State Assembly
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