O.U. To Require Water Filters In N.Y. Eateries

By Steven I. Weiss

Published July 02, 2004, issue of July 02, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Orthodox Union is preparing to require New York City restaurants under its supervision to filter their tap water, and to recommend that observant Jews in the city do the same.

The decision results from the recent discovery of minuscule (and nonkosher) crustaceans called copepods in New York’s tap water.

Significant controversy regarding the copepods has since occupied much of the local Orthodox community, as determinations were made about whether their presence rendered the water unkosher. Meanwhile, the scope of the problem has widened: Originally thought to be an issue only in Brooklyn, copepods were found all over New York City in subsequent tests.

At press time, the O.U. had not made its official recommendation public, as some issues requiring experimentation remained to be sorted out, including how residents of apartment buildings would be affected as it was unclear whether copepods would make it to higher floors.

Rabbi Menachem Genack, rabbinic administrator of the kashrut division of the O.U., told the Forward that the union has no plans to certify specific models of water filters, and that nearly any commercial filter “would do the trick.” The O.U. is planning to provide a list of recommendations for filter buyers, including that they buy under-the-sink units, purchase carbon-filtering cartridges for better taste and ensure the cartridges have rubber gaskets that prevent leaking.

Mary Mears, a regional spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Agency, told the Forward that the agency does not keep statistics on copepods: “They’re not a health threat, so EPA doesn’t regulate them,” she said. She noted that “they’re ubiquitous in water,” and that municipal filtration systems generally wouldn’t be a complete safeguard against their appearance in drinking water, as copepods’ “eggs can get through the filtration system, and they can reappear in the distribution system.” Mears added that “what does ensure that they won’t be present in drinking water is an at-the-tap filter.”

Genack said the O.U. has no plans at present to make similar recommendations for other areas.

Speaking for the Conservative Movement, Rabbi Kass Abelson, head of the Rabbinical Assembly’s law committee, said that “nobody has raised it as an issue to be studied or discussed.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.