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The Kosher Spirit - Tishrei 5768/Fall 2007 -  Student's Questions

To submit your questions to: info@ok.org

Dear OK,
Do ice cream stores selling kosher ice cream (Carvel, Dippin Dots, Baskin Robbins, TCBY, Ben & Jerry's, Tasti-D-Lite, Hagen Dazs) need to be individually kosher certified? If not, do I need to worry about the utensils?

A non-certified facility has many unknowns. If a consumer knows for sure that the facility always uses kosher flavors on dedicated equipment, then he knows it is kosher - but, how can the consumer possibly know what happens there 24/7? In addition, are the cones kosher? Are they Pas Yisroel? Are the sprinkles kosher? The only way to be certain that what you are purchasing is kosher is to purchase only from a kosher certified store.

Dear OK,
Do toothpaste, mouthwash, Listerine strips, lipstick and chapstick need a kosher symbol?

Toothpaste does not require a kosher symbol, but it is considered a chumra to buy toothpaste with a kosher symbol. Listerine Strips do require a kosher symbol, because they are swallowed, but mouthwash and lipstick*/Chapstick do not require a kosher symbol.

* Even though studies show that a woman consumes up to 6 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime, it is not considered an edible product.(from About.com)

Dear OK,
Is it permissible to buy movie theater popcorn or food from street vendors selling name-brand kosher products?

Movie theater popcorn and food from street vendors should not be purchased from facilities that are not kosher certified. There is no way to know if the oils used to cook these products are kosher, what products or oils were once used on the machinery, or what other products are currently made on the machinery. In addition, certain products, like potato knishes, may need to be Pas and/or Bishul Yisroel.

* All agree that warming lights, after the fact, cannot make an item Pas and/or Bishul Yisroel.

Dear OK,
Starbucks sells non-kosher pastries in addition to its coffee. Are there any Ma'aras Ayin issues with purchasing coffee there? Can you drink plain, unflavored coffee anywhere? What about flavored coffee? Does it matter if the coffee shop uses its own mugs?

There is no Ma'aras Ayin issue with buying unflavored coffee at Starbucks. You can drink plain, unflavored coffee anywhere, provided it is made in a dedicated urn that is only used for unflavored coffee, which is usually the case. Flavored coffee requires a kosher symbol and must be made in a dedicated urn that is only used for that kosher flavor. Many flavors are made with non-kosher ingredients, and many are dairy, so one must be especially careful when purchasing flavored coffee. Finally, you may only use disposable cups at a non-kosher coffee shop.

* Please note, many brands of soy milk are made on dairy equipment that is NOT cholov yisroel. Be sure to check the hechsher on soy milk before using.

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