Kosher food at the London Olympics — it's a secret

By Marcus Dysch, July 26, 2012

Spectators hoping to buy kosher food at London 2012 may face an Olympian effort to locate their meals.

Strict rules on advertising at the Olympics means companies providing kosher meals cannot promote their products or tell Jewish spectators where the food will be available.

Kosher food producer Hermolis is among the companies contracted to create special meals during the Games.

But a Hermolis spokesman predicted visitors would struggle to find the produce.

“People keep asking us where they can buy the food. We can’t tell them. We don’t even know ourselves. The contract caterers that we are supplying have said they can’t even tell us where our food will be sold or served,” he said.

“We are not trying to advertise our brand, we have accepted all along that we would not be allowed to do that and have created special labels without our name on.

“What’s the point in offering kosher food if no one even knows where they can buy it? Locog and the IOC are just shooting themselves in the foot.”

Hermolis has created new packaging for its cold food, including swapping its colourful DD's sandwich range packs for plain white boxes and clear packets.

Labels will only tell the buyer what food they are buying, and show both a kosher hechsher and a halal stamp.

Instructions regarding the availability of kosher food have not been included in the handbook given to Olympic volunteers, meaning guides will not be able to direct spectators directly to the outlets selling kosher items.

Jewish athletes, staff and volunteers who notify their supervisor or boss that they want a kosher meal will be provided with the food within half an hour.

One Jewish volunteer said he had received a Hermolis meal in the Athletes’ Village after a 20-minute wait earlier this week.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said the rules on promoting products made by companies which are not sponsoring the Games would be policed “with a lot of common sense”, but that “major attempts to do ambush marketing” would be stopped.

There had been speculation that spectators wearing clothing branded with the names of companies such as Pepsi – whose rivals Coca Cola are a major sponsor – could be barred from entering Olympic venues.

Last updated: 1:53pm, July 26 2012