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Posted by on Jul 8, 2013 in Korean Food | 0 comments

DIY Kashrut in Korea is a bad idea

DIY Kashrut in Korea is a bad idea

Here’s a prime example of how just a little knowledge can get you into trouble. There was a CU (formerly known as Family Mart) convenience store within walking distance of our hotel during our stay in Seoul. My hotel in Yeoksam had a small kitchenette and a refrigerator, so I took the opportunity on a Friday afternoon to stock up on a few days worth of breakfast type foods. This yogurt pack caught my eye, even though I’m not a big fan of yogurt and I’m very lactose intolerant.

I am surprised at how much I like this yogurt. It was sweet and the
granola stayed crunchy all the way through. It also didn’t make me sick as many milk products do. I suspect that Viyott is spiked with some lactase enzyme to make it digestible, which is fine by me. 

The yogurt brand is called Viyott and it’s made by Seoul Milk company. I noticed a taeguk in the lower left corner with a white “K” on top of it. “Could this be some new kashrut symbol, I wondered? There are over 1100 kosher certifying agencies around the world, who can keep track of that? Did I ask Rabbi Litzman (or anyone else) before I bought it and ate it? No.

I waited until I returned home to the USA and asked him via email. “Is that a kashrut symbol? If so, do you know which organization owns it?
Are there other products that you have seen with this symbol?”

At any rate, I got a prompt reply to my question: “No, it’s not a kosher symbol.”

The moral of this story? If the laws of kashrut mean anything to you at all, don’t use your gut instinct to ascertain whether a packaged product such as yogurt, soup or anything else is kosher or not. If you’re living in Korea or visiting Korea and really need to know, ask a rabbi.

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