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General Kashrus Policies

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There is a Rabbinic difference of opinion whether dairy products sold in the United States must be "chalav Yisroel" or if one may consume items which are just "chalav stam". Even those who follow the lenient approach to that issue agree that cheese is only kosher if a Jew participates in the cheese's production. This is known as gevinas Yisroel and applies to all "hard" cheeses, such as Muenster, Mozzarella, American, and Cheddar (as opposed to "soft" cheeses, such as cream cheese and cottage cheese). Accordingly, there are some cheese brands, such as Oneg, which are gevinas Yisroel but are not chalav Yisroel, and these are perfectly acceptable for those who eat chalav stam. Other cheese brands, such as Schtark, are both gevinas Yisroel and chalav Yisroel, and are suitable for all consumers.