Tuesday, January 31, 2017


This list is based on information received from the Star-KCRCOK, the OU and various companies.

Adina Organic Juice Coolers
Arthur's Smoothies
Astix Energy Drink
B-52 Energy Drink
Big Red Red Jak concentrate
Big Red Red Jak low carb concentrate
Dad's Root Beer
Daredevil Energy Drink
Fanta Pineapple Soda (However, Fanta Pineapple Slurpee is kosher.)
G2 (from Gatorade) (except when bearing OU)
Gatorade (except when bearing OU)
Green River Soda in cans and bottles (fountain syrup is kosher)
Kellogg's Protein Water
Mendota Springs Flavored Water
Minute Maid Light Cherry Limeade
Mike's Hard Lemonade and other flavors of Mike's
Monster Energy Drink
Mt. Dew KickStart Energy Drinks needs certification; contains grape juice and are not kosher.
Newman's Own Drinks
Pepsi Products from Mexico
Point Sodas
Red Bull Shots
Red Bull Cola
Snapple Fruit Punch (All Snapple must bear an OK on each label.Some Snapple flavors may be Dairy)
SoBee Adrenalin Rush Energy Drink
Spike Energy Drink
Starbucks Strawberry & Cream Frappuccino( in bottles)
Sun Shower Juices
Tahitian Treat Punch

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Surprising foods that contain animal products

Bagels and bread products
Many bread products contain an amino acid known as L-cysteine, which is used as a softening agent. L-cysteine is derived from either human hair or Hog or poultry feathers, and it can be found in many popular brand-name products. Businesses that have acknowledged they've used L-cysteine include Lender's, Einstein Bros., McDonald's and Pizza Hut.

L-cysteine (sometimes shown as E920 on food labels) is used as a dough conditioner and strengthener, meaning the dough can be stretched out to make a pizza crust, for example. L-cysteine can also help extend the shelf life of commercial breads. L-cysteine is an amino acid (building block of proteins) and is perfectly safe for human consumption.

Most L-cysteine is sourced from China, where feathers are collected from farms, and human hairs from the floors of barbershops. The feathers and hairs are processed in Chinese factories, where L-cysteine is extracted in a chemical process.

Beer and wine 
Isinglass, a gelatin-like substance collected from fish bladders is used in the clarification process of many beers and wines. Other agents used for the process of fining include egg white albumen, gelatin and casein.

Numerous foods contain gelatin, a protein derived from the collagen in cow or pig bones, skin and connective tissues. It's often used as a thickening or stabilizing agent and can be found in a variety of candies, including Altoids, gummy candies and Starburst chews, among others.
Also, many red candies contain a dye made from the extracts of dried bodies of the Coccus cacti bugs. The ingredient is often listed as carmine, cochineal or carminic acid.

Dannon's strawberry yogurt is colored using an additive made from crushed bugs. 
The yogurt maker Dannon has been under fire for using carmine (a red color additive made from crushed beetles) in its product, although its far from the only company to use the stuff.

Caesar dressing 
Most Caesar salad dressings contain anchovy paste

It's fairly common knowledge that Jell-O contains gelatin

Gelatin strikes again

Non-dairy creamer 
Although it has non-dairy in its name, many such creamers contain casein, a protein derived from milk.

Omega-3 products 
Many products with labels that boast their heart-healthy ingredients contain omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish. For example, Tropicana's Hearth Healthy orange juice's label lists tilapia, sardine and anchovy as ingredients.

Some brands of peanuts, such as Planters dry roasted peanuts, also contain gelatin because the substance helps salt and other spices adhere to the nuts.

Potato chips
Some flavored potato chips, especially those flavored with powdered cheese, can contain casein, whey or animal-derived enzymes.

Refined sugar
Sugar isn't naturally white, so manufacturers process it using bone char, which is made from the bones of cattle. To avoid sugar filtered with bone char, purchase unrefined sugar or buy from brands that don't use bone-char filters.
The refining processes for both white and brown sugar often use bone char, a granular material from animal ashes. It gives sugar its white color.
Refried beans
Many canned refried beans are made with hydrogenated lard, so check labels to ensure you're buying vegetarian beans.

Vanilla-flavored foods
Although it's rare, some foods are flavored with Castoreum, a beaver anal secretion. As gross at that sounds, the FDA classifies it as GRAS, or "generally recognized as safe," and Castoreum is typically listed as "natural flavoring." The additive is most often used in baked goods as a vanilla substitute, but it's also been used in alcoholic beverages, puddings, ice cream, candy and chewing gum.

Cake mixes
Cake mixes sometimes contain beef fat, according to Ann Byrn's book, "The Cake Mix Doctor." Many call for oil or shortening while others just add dehydrated versions of these to minimize the additional ingredients required. Hostess, a confectionery company which recently went under new management, also puts beef fat in their famous cupcakes.
Red candy
Red cochineal beetles, when dried and crushed, produce a powder called carmine, which is used as an all-encompassing dye in red foods like candy, ice cream, and yogurt. Though it previously slipped under the radar as "artificial coloring," the FDA has required manufacturers to explicitly list carmine on food labels since early 2011.
Edible shellac, also known as confectioner's glaze, coats most hard, shiny candy, with the notable exception of M&Ms. It's made from the excretions of female lac bugs (Kerria lacca).

Non Food Items:
Some scents, especially those that smell like vanilla, list castoreum as an ingredient. Castoreum comes from beavers' castor sacs — a gland located between the animal's pelvis and the base of its tail.
Plastic bags
Many plastics, like commercial shopping bags, contain chemicals often referred to as "slip agents," which are derived from the stearic acid in animal fat. They essentially prevent the polymers from sticking to metals during manufacturing and clinging to each other afterward. Some bike tires also contain these elements.
Downy, the detergent endorsed by the snuggly child, contains dihydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride — or a derivative of rendered cattle, sheep, and horse fat mixed with ammonium. This process creates a quaternary ammonium compound, or a quat, which basically coats your clothes in lipids, making them feel soft.
Nail polish
Shimmery cosmetics, like nail polish or lipstick, contain guanine (sometimes listed as "pearl essence"), one of the four base components of RNA and DNA. Companies obtain it from fish (notably, herring) scales.
As part of the rendering industry, which disposes of otherwise unused animal waste, the creation of crayons often includes animal fat, according to a 2004 Congressional report.
Paraffin is the main ingredient in the most popular crayons, but not many would expect mammalian byproducts in children's art supplies.
Hemoglobin derived from pig's blood is — or at least once was — included in some cigarette filters.

Status of Flintstones Gummies Multivitamin

All of the bayer multivitamins contain gelatin derived from either beef, pork or both. I reached out to Bayer and here is the response I got from their consumer advisor.
Thank you for taking the time to contact Bayer HealthCare. We appreciate your interest in Flintstones® Gummies.
However, all of our multivitamin products do contain gelatin. Gelatin is used in the raw materials to impart the characteristics of flow and make it into directly compressible for tableting. It is sourced from beef, pork, or a combination of both.
If I may of further assistance, please contact us at 1-800-800-4793 or bayercare.com

Kellogg's® cereal products that contain Gelatin derived from pork

Q: Do Mini-Wheats have pork gelatin? If not, what kind?
A: Gelatin is used to help the texture of the product and is derived from either beef or pork. Gelatin derived from beef is found in all varieties of Kellogg's® Frosted Mini-Wheats® cereal. I have included the information for our other products below.

Gelatin derived from pork is found in the following:
  • Kellogg's® cereal products that contain marshmallow additives (Kellogg's® Marshmallow Froot Loops cereal)
  • All varieties of Kellogg's® Rice Krispies Treats® Squares

Gelatin derived from beef is found in the following: 
  • All varieties of Kellogg's® Frosted Pop-Tarts®
  • All varieties of Kellogg's® Frosted Mini-Wheats® cereal
  • All varieties of Kellogg's® Rice Krispies Treats™ cereal 

Some of our foods contain gelatin that is derived from either beef or pork; sourcing is based on availability in the marketplace. These include: 
  • All Kellogg's® fruit flavored snacks
  • All Kellogg's® Krave Treat Bars
Please note that none of our equipment that comes in contact with the gelatin in Kellogg's® Frosted Pop-Tarts® is used in the production of the other pastries


From the Wrigley website:

We do not have certification in place from the Halal authority or the Kosher board for any Wrigley products.

Please be advised that in our STARBURST® Jelly range, we use gelatine derived from either beef or pork. This will depend on the raw material available at the time of production.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Slurpee Info from CRC

Slurpees Slurpees Everywhere, Nor Any Drop To Drink?

By: Rabbi Sholem Fishbane

The Slurpees have taken over! Enough Slurpee drinks are sold in the United States each year to fill 12 Olympic-size swimming pools, and more than 40% of those are sold during June, July and August, according to the Slurpee Headquarters. The question is not, “Why do people drink Slurpees?” That has an easy answer: because they’re good. However, “Are kosher consumers drinking Slurpees?” does not have such an easy answer.

Traditionally, the cRc has provided a list of the Slurpee syrups that bear a reliable kosher certification. We have always left the decision of purchasing and drinking the Slurpees to the discretion of the consumers. However, Slurpees have been under intense kosher scrutiny and kosher consumers are growing uncomfortable with the idea of unsupervised machinery. We have therefore responded to these concerns by actually certifying (free of charge) the Slurpee machines in the 7-11 located on Touhy which is in the Jewish neighborhood in Chicago. For those that do not have the luxury of purchasing Slurpees from certified machines I am going to ask and try to answer four important Slurpee questions, and, in so doing, I hope to address some of the pressing concerns in our communities regarding the delightful icy beverage.

Is the Slurpee I’m drinking kosher?

A Slurpee is made from carbon dioxide, water and syrup. As of today, most Slurpee syrups are certified kosher, both pareve and dairy, with some varieties not certified at all. This first question stems from an increasing anxiety that 7-Eleven franchises, independently owned and operated, are allowed to contract the use of generic-brand syrups for their Slurpees. Owners might want to do this in order to save a few dollars. Rest easy, kosher consumers—the franchises have a contract with corporate 7-Eleven: if an independently owned and operated franchise uses generic brand syrups, they must place a hand-written flavor sign on the machine. This alerts consumers and corporate representatives, who visit regularly, that the particular store is adhering to its contract with corporate 7-Eleven. If it is not in keeping with the contract, that franchise has much greater problems than kosher.

This, of course, is only a concern in franchised cities and states (like in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, New York, New Jersey, etc). The states with corporate-owned stores (like Texas, Utah, Colorado, etc) do not even have the option of the generic brand. John Ryckevic, Slurpee Category Manager in Texas, says they are working to eliminate generic brand flavors completely: “I’d be surprised if there were five places left still using the off-brand flavors.” 7-Eleven stores are allowed to rename the flavors (for example, Fanta Grape may be called, “Grape-A-Liscious”), but the signs will be professional, designed signs. Somewhere on it, it should even have the name brand. Consumers must look for these signs and be careful to notice that the name change is simply a name change, and that the kosher status has not changed at all.

Keeping abreast of the syrup flavors is important for kosher agencies and consumers alike. Just recently, I visited a local franchise. I was escorted to the back to confirm the flavors’ kosher status, and I noticed a suspicious ingredient on the label of a certified syrup. It took a few days to clarify that it was, indeed, kosher, but it did catch the kashrus agency by surprise.

Is there a problem with the Slurpee machines?

Operating with the knowledge that almost all known Slurpee syrups are kosher, it is still important to relay that the minute amount of dairy or non-kosher in the flavors would not change a machine’s status to dairy or non-kosher. Not only is the machine itself set at 28° Fahrenheit, it is highly unlikely that the Slurpees would sit in the machine for anything close to the 24 hour kosher deadline of when, at that point, flavors may be absorbed into the walls of the utensil holding it. Here’s why: the barrel of the machines holds 92 ounces of finished Slurpee product, and 7-Eleven’s top-selling Slurpee cup is 22 ounces, which means that approximately 4.5 large cups of Slurpee are held in the machines. Obviously, the Slurpees in the machines are replaced constantly. Consequently, the cRc can safely and confidently announce that there are no problems with the Slurpee machines.

Now, what if 7-Eleven puts a kosher pareve flavor in a machine that previously held a non-kosher or dairy flavor? What if leftover non-kosher or dairy syrup infiltrates my pareve flavor? While certainly not the common occurrence, it is a possibility because, generally, stores do not clean the machines between flavors. As a matter of fact, they claim that kids love getting mixed flavors. While this might happen on occasion, the many poskim that I spoke to on this matter all agreed, for various Halachik reasons, one does not have to worry about the small amount of leftover dairy or non-kosher flavor.

Bottom line, Rabbi—What should I do?

There are three possible options that the cRc recommends for enjoying your Slurpees and in turn, scoring brownie points with the kids:

1) Best Case Scenario –Ask your local franchise to seek certification on their Slurpee machines. This way, the kosher agency personally supervises all ingredients, and ensures that what’s in the back of the store is oh-so-thrillingly oozing out into the monster cups. They will also make certain that no non-kosher (and in some communities –no dairy) syrups will even enter the store.

2) Second Best Choice –Before purchasing the Slurpee, ask to see the actual flavor boxes that feed the machines. If they check out all right, you should feel 100% confident buying and slurping them.

3) Final Choice –Continue as status quo. You have good reason to slurp worry-free, since there is very little chance that there is anything in the machines other than what is portrayed on the genuine Coke or other brand-name signs. Remember, we have also established that the machines are Halachically acceptable.

Oh, by the way, how dairy is the Diet Pepsi Slurpee?

The challenge of the Slurpee is to get it to pour out at 28° Fahrenheit. In the regular (non-diet) Slurpees, the sugar lowers the freezing temperature, allowing it to give the Slurpee the right slushy consistency. Diet cola products, as we all know, lack sugar, so the flavor chemists must be creative.

Diet Pepsi syrup is sweetened with a combination of 3 sugar substitutes: sucralose (Splenda), tagatose (dairy) and erythirtol. Incidentally, the Diet Pepsi syrup was the first item in the United States in which tagatose was used successfully. Erythritol and tagatose are known as bulk sweeteners, and their primary role is to replace the sugar’s magical function of lowering the freezing point. Sucralose is the high intensity sweetener.

So, how dairy is the slurpee with the tagatose? Can you drink it after eating a roast beef sandwich? Well, it is important to Slurpee Corporate that tagatose does not affect diabetics or those who are lactose-intolerant. However, being safe for lactose-intolerance does not necessarily mean Halachically non-dairy.

A small lesson in digestion: When we digest dairy foods, our bodies use an enzyme, called lactase, to properly break down the lactose in our systems. Lactose is a disaccharide, a molecule containing two simple sugars called glucose and galactose. The human body, whose lactase supply is diminished as it ages, must use its lactase enzymes to split the lactose into its individual sugars before the individual sugars can be digested. In the case of tagatose, the manufacturer splits the lactose and processes the galactose into tagalos. Finally, then, tagatose does not require the breakdown system that lactose requires, but tagatose is still very much dairy.

Although the amount of tagatose in the whole Slurpee mixture is small enough to be considered botul (nullified) in Halacha, it is not that simple, and in this particular case it may not be botul. The very fact that it plays an important role in the Slurpee’s consistency may render it Halachically significant. Logic would tell us, that an ingredient can not be botul (meaning, as if it wasn’t there) if without it, the end product would either look or taste different. I have asked many poskim on this and, indeed, received opinions on both sides of the issue. But HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, our Av Beis Din, is of the opinion that tagalos does retain its dairy status, and therefore a dairy Slurpee should not be slurped by those who’ve just finished a roast beef sandwich.

So, the Slurpee situation slushes on. Surely, shuls and schools can rest assured—with summer sidling into Skokie, and the certification certain and strong, Shlomos and Shiras should slurp their ways through the long, sizzling season.

Rabbi Sholem Fishbane is cRc Kashruth Administrator

Questions or comments about this article? Send to fishbane@crcweb.org