Following the article about the origins of our teas behind the scenes of our house, we want to approach the aspects of trust and quality with you, by telling you about the food safety that we provide to our products.
It seems to be essential to us, as there are various ways of doing business and for some people this means asserting inaccurate things, like claiming ‘to manufacture for someone or another or to provide someone or another’ without ever writing it! But saying it and especially ‘letting the others say so’.
There will always be something left of it, rumors run faster than truths no matter the credulity of those who believe them, or peddle subsequently (some people think that it is necessarily true, given the importance of that source one cannot question), no matter if that way such a house draws any glory from this in its commercial results but we don't share this idea of trade, everything is based on rumor's principle, unverifiable, unverified.
It is done by unscrupulous ‘influencers committed to the cause of a brand’ (journalists, pseudo-journalists, blogosphere, retailers ...) who in return, eager to get information which might create a buzz, even if it is ephemeral and whose responsibility of ‘repetition’ is low as it does not involve their own assertions.
Fortunately, they are only a minority and most bloggers, journalists ... demonstrate high integrity in the verification of the information they publish.
Also, as for many small players afraid of bigger factories, fearing to see the emergence of a colleague as a competitor settled on what they already achieved and who through their speaking power, visibility, will take advantage of this to maintain amalgams, defying the natural consumers' trust, we have been and will continue to be victim of it.
Furthermore, by strength of conviction, we have unintentionally ‘maintained’ that, because at THEODOR, we are opposed to any form of ‘certification mark’.
A certification mark, either if it is an 'organic', 'fair trade' or 'flavor of the year' label, or else... from our point of view they are the best answer that trading brands have found to commit the consumer's responsibility and trust based on principles which’s rules have been formulated and defined by those same trading brands, rather than their own .
In this way ‘facade labels’ are attached to products where ethics have little importance and they make us believe in a better world than what it really is.
On principle, a certification mark consists in exempting someone to make a naturally qualitative product, respecting the rules of fair trade, of responsible agriculture, and of good quality, and throughout all of its inconsistency to make the consumer ‘pay’ for what he should be able to acquire naturally.
So through THEODOR, we are partisans of this saying, now relayed by other initiatives and which says so ‘It is not on ‘organic’ products that we should write ‘organic’. It is on crappy products that we should write ‘crap’ ’.
Supporter of a world where the manufacturer who does not respect the rules of a qualitative product, respectful of the economic and social environments, whether geographical or human, is being required to attach a ‘red’ dot on their products, rather than to remain free to continue to sell them.
But not to label the products allows some of us who trade to strengthen their rumors, because our products don't carry any distinctive 'marketing' sign that differentiates them from their products, which they are pretending to sell us.
Nevertheless, if we choose one kind of ‘marketing’ labeling or another which targets customers that in the absence of trust can only submit to the new rules of labels, we don't disclaim to make upstream everything necessary so that our teas can be more than a synonym of pleasure and quality, teas whose trust can't be questioned and with complete food safety.
‘Non-quality has a cost, not quality.’
We live in an increasingly wild world, where money rules and where everyone is talking about quality at first and ends up speaking about cost in the end. At the expense of quality and safety, it is then the price that is favored.
And although so far we haven’t express ourselves about this point, out of respect for our consistence of evidence as a referent brand, the spirit of transparency which drives us and encourages us to communicate and reveal our backstage obliges us to address you the steps we have taken to ensure you of our quality and that we always prefer quality over price.
Except for those still in transit, brand-new products, recent imports or creations or flavored teas which may not be temporarily KOSHER certified, almost all of THEODOR's teas are. This applies to all of our plain teas as well as our flavored teas. (Note: as one can distinguish on the photo illustrating the article)
(Certificate available here)
Why Kosher? What does this mean? Why not another standard?
We are not speaking about certifications related to industrial processes to which we also submit in the development of our productions (such as HACCP certification, for example ...) and which are imposed to us, but because of a chosen recognized certification, because it is one of the most drastic and reassuring one in the world.
Furthermore, to our knowledge, THEODOR is the only European teahouse to benefit from such certification, which induces a lot of restraints and is audited every year in our facilities. Globally, we only know of one other tea brand that is Kosher certified, it is located in Israel for many legitimate local reasons.
It is more than for reasons of spirituality or religion to which it naturally refers that we chose to impose this standard on us. It took several years to get it, because this certification requires us and requires each player of the chain with who we work to respect constraining principles of food safety.
Our certification is issued by Paris BETH-DIN, renowned as one of the most demanding and restraining consistory in the world in terms of audit and control.
Could you give us further information?
Of course, don't be afraid, it is a bit technical.
In recent years, food safety has become a primary concern for consumers.
The recent health crises (listeriosis, salmonella, dioxin, ‘mad cow’ disease, ‘foot-and-mouth’ disease, bird flu …) have sensitized consumers to the problem of food safety.
The food industry also has a huge interest in restoring the full consumer's trust, since the industry is the one who potentially loses the most in the event of food safety incidents. Years of hard work, goodwill and valuable brand names can suddenly be jeopardized if those potential risk are underestimated.
In world trade, the current trend does not seem to be in favor of food safety, for instance by issuing new food inspection regulations to enforce controls on imports.
World food standardization can be left in the background compared to technological advances. In the context of globalization, the system of controls privileges the fluidity of exchange logistics, to the detriment of food safety. Its architecture relies on the delegation of safety controls to the producers.
Yet, a certification issued by food safety inspection laboratories located in foreign countries supposes that these countries have equivalent levels of control and transparency as Western countries. However, revelations on the management of the recent crisis of Bird Flu in Asia cast serious doubt on this assumption.
With the high increase of meat consumption (particularly beef, pork, and poultry) in our current societies, the rise of waste from ‘factory farms’ puts pressure on slaughterhouses to find convenient means to get rid of carcasses by selling them to other food and cosmetic manufacturers.
Many companies conceal animal-derived ingredients to prevent customer concern. Thus, some animal products do not appear on the list of ingredients but are used in the manufacturing process. For example, animal products may be used in the sugar bleaching process, or as an agent of ‘clarification’ in various processes of wine filtering. The danger of viral contamination is greater with animal products. The elimination of all substances presenting such a risk reduces the potential for contamination in the food chain.
Paris BETH-DIN standard of certification formally prohibits the use of these animal ingredients.
Paris BETH-DIN line of products goes even further, eliminating dairy products as well.
Paris BETH-DIN requires the complete elimination of any animal component in the production process and rigorously and strictly controls this.
KOSHER quality control ‘from the field to the table’ (Note: from the farm to our cup of tea, if you prefer) is achieved through the adhesion to a detailed set of kosher requirement specifications involving the whole chain.
Third-party organizations, chosen for their high standards, monitor the whole food chain, ‘from the field to the table’!
Another example, in the dairy industry, cheese is produced by coagulating milk in order to get curdled milk. It is then separated from the liquid, and after it can be processed and matured to produce a wide variety of cheeses. Milk coagulates with the addition of rennet. The traditional origin of rennet is chymosin, resulting from the stomach of slaughtered newborn calves. The safety of chymosin cannot be assessed. More recently, a recombining enzyme produced by yeast has provided a substitute for chymosin in dairy cheese production. The majority of cheeses manufactured in Europe and the United States are now produced with this enzyme. They are recommended by vegetarian associations. The BSE crisis has increased its use, due to the extra food safety assurance this manufacturing process provides.
This type of enzyme is kosher certified, whereas the original, calf-based rennet is not. A kosher certification ensures that the safest rennet is guaranteed and used.
But what does it have to do with tea? Can we find animal or dairy products, for example, in tea process?
What we want is to make sure it is impossible, neither from the beginning at our farmers, nor in the natural flavors we use to flavor our teas, nor with one of the players with whom we have to work and which’s circuit could lead to the contamination of our products.
Consumer’s trust is very fragile.
Traceability plays a key role in the standards of Kosher Certification. Information is gathered and processes are monitored at every step of the production. Facilities are checked with increasingly precise methods.
The Kashrut certification from Paris BETH-DIN guarantees the inspection and certification for a product meeting Paris BETH-DIN Kosher requirements and standards.
‘Approved’ producers commit to strictly adhere to a series of guidelines regulating the use, the production, the packaging and labelling of food products.
The rigorous, reliable, and constant inspections to which kosher-certified products are subject strengthen the consumers’ perception of their value and quality.
The various food crises in the 1990s (dioxane, listeriosis, and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; ‘mad cow’ disease or BSE) as well as the fear of a threatening pandemic of Asian Bird Flu (H5NI) have resulted in the complete or partial loss of the consumer’s trust. Unfortunately we become aware of these crises belatedly.
So, there is a greater concern regarding information on the origin and the composition of food products.
The kosher certification process guarantees safe and healthy food.
Kosher certification differentiates a product for consumers who want to get reliable information about their food.
If it doesn't spontaneously raise something to a consumer, if we do not mention it all the time, it is simply that as they grant us with their trust, we believe in our clients who know how to distinguish a quality product from another and this certification we wanted to evoke today is just one of the steps essential to THEODOR house, through the S.F.T.O. 1842 company.
We hope you will find this document useful, this article will allow you to be convinced of the attention and the value we give to food safety, and that it will clarify any doubt regarding the production and mastering of our teas, which even if it can be said by some industrials don't come from their production . If that was the case, those tea would by definition, be KOSHER certified.
Feel free to leave your comments and questions to us, or additional information you would like to have by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org