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July 10, 2017 3:00 pm

Canadian Food Company Fined $25,000 for Selling Fake Kosher Cheese to Jewish Summer Camps

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Cheese on display at a supermarket. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A Canada-based food distribution company is being forced to pay a fine of $25,000 for forging food certificates and selling non-kosher cheese to Jewish summer camps, the Toronto Star reported on Monday.

A provincial court in Canada found Creation Foods guilty in October 2016 of violating the Food and Drugs Act by selling falsely labelled, non-kosher cheddar cheese to two Jewish summer camps in Canada. Kefir Sadiklar, vice-president of the family-owned company, was also charged criminally, but the charges were withdrawn in June.

The company’s forged kosher certificates were brought to the CFIA’s attention in June 2015 after an employee of The Kashruth Council of Canada, a non-profit that provides kosher certification, noticed some inconsistently in the labeling on some of the boxes of cheese delivered to one of the two overnight summer camps. When he asked Sadiklar to send over certificates to verify the kosher status of the cheese, Sadiklar first sent in a kosher certificate for the wrong food, according to the Toronto Star.

Documents used in the case reveal that Sadiklar sent what appeared to be the correct kosher certificate shortly after the mishap, but employees of the Kashruth Council noticed that a digit in the product code on the certificate had been photoshopped so it would match the one on the box to make it seem like a non-kosher box of cheese was in fact kosher.

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said this was the first time in Canada that a case regarding the false representation of kosher food has been brought to a court.

“The fine is significant and may lead to improved future compliance under this statute,” the CFIA said in a statement on its website. “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. Investigation and legal action will be taken, when warranted.”

Sadiklar has not commented on the conviction and fine, but earlier this year he told the Toronto Star that he had “so many things to say” on the matter but could not while the case was still at court. He said about the council, “[They are] doing the wrong thing against us. They want to see us closing the business, they don’t look for anything else but revenge . . . . We say we didn’t do, and they say we did do. I don’t want to put myself in jeopardy.”

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