Weet-Bix off the menu

Santiarium products, including Weet-Bix, are no longer approved by kosher agencies.

FOR several decades Aussie kids have been Weet-Bix kids, but not anymore for families that keep a kosher home.

Sanitarium, which makes the breakfast cereal, has informed the Kashrut Authority in NSW and Kosher Australia in Victoria that it will not be able to provide relevant information to allow the organisation to approve the products.

“For over 40 years there has been a mutually respectful and cooperative relationship with Sanitarium, that has enabled the provision of relevant information to our organisations to assist us to properly ascertain the kashrut status of its products and for kashrut approval to be granted,” the kashrut agencies said in a joint statement. “Halachah requires that in order to approve a product as kosher, we need to be able to independently assess the necessary kashrut information and to visit a plant when required. Without this cooperation from the manufacturer, we are not able to provide approval for that company’s products.”

The kashrut agencies said that, effective immediately, all Sanitarium products are no longer recommended.

The AJN understands that this is the first time a company nas refused to give the kashrut agencies information to allow them to approve a product.

The AJN can also reveal that Sanitarium would not have been charged a fee as the kashrut agencies offered to approve the products as a community service, as they have done since Kashrut Authority’s Rabbi Gutnick first visited the company in 1983.

“We understand the impact that this announcement will have on the Jewish community and the decision has only been taken after every effort to seek a reversal of Sanitarium’s decision has been rejected,” the kashrut agencies said. “Accordingly, we have been left with no other choice but to withdraw the approval of their products. We strongly encourage consumers to contact Sanitarium to seek a change to its new policy.”

And the community did respond, on Sanitarium’s Facebook page. One person asked “How do you explain to a 2-year-old that they cannot have their favourite cereal any more?”

Another person wrote that eating Weet-Bix is an “Aussie culture” they want to pass onto their children. “Please Sanitarium, please reconsider and get certification from Kosher Australia.”

JOSHUA LEVI