Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Misrepresenting Product as Kosher Could Cause 'Spiritual Trauma,' Court Says

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Misrepresenting Product as Kosher Could Cause 'Spiritual Trauma,' Court Says

Article excerpt

Company to pay $25K for claiming product is kosher

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TORONTO - A Toronto-area flour company has been ordered to pay $25,000 for misrepresenting a cake mix as kosher, after an Ontario court said the move could cause "spiritual trauma" to consumers who bought the product for religious reasons.

A small-claims court found earlier this month that Adee Flour Mills breached its contract with the Kashruth Council of Canada, one of the country's biggest kosher certification agencies, by misusing its logo on a devil's food cake mix that was not, in fact, certified as kosher.

Deputy Judge Lai-King Hum ordered the Mississauga, Ont.-based company to pay the council $20,000 for the breach and the harm it caused to the council's reputation, as well as $5,000 in punitive damages for the potential harm to consumers.

"Since the products that are not authorized to be kosher certified are sold to unsuspecting consumers who adhere to a kosher diet for religious reasons, the failure to adhere to a kosher diet could foreseeably result in spiritual trauma," the decision said.

"I find the defendant Adee's actions are highly reprehensible, departing markedly from the ordinary standards of decent behaviour, as there is foreseeable harm to the innocent consumer."

The deputy judge did not, however, order the company to stop selling the products and pull them from stores, saying such orders are outside the small-claims court's jurisdiction.

Richard Rabkin, the Kashruth Council's managing director, said the organization has reached out to others in the kosher community to alert them of the issue with the product.

"I think the message is loud and clear here, that a company that engages in this sort of behaviour is unacceptable," he said in an interview.

He stressed it's "extremely uncommon" to see a company act in this way, noting that most are happy to comply with the kosher program in order to market their products to those consumers. …

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