Feb 6, 2012

Dr. Pepper in Israel

Dr. Pepper in Israel has always had an issue. Each batch that is imported seems to come in bearing a different hechsher. the best of them seems to be when it bears the OU symbol. When it does, it bears the OU on the importer label, along with the OU embedded in the top of the can as well. The problem is that most of the time, the Dr. Pepper imported comes from different sources with hechshers from varying kashrut organizations. Sometimes I am familiar with the organization behind the kashrus, and sometimes not. When not, I try to check and find out if it is a reliable organization for kashrus and if they really certify the product.

Recently, the only cans I have seen in the stores were certified by the Triangle K, Rav Ralbag. the Ralbag hechsher has long been considered not reliable. I don't know why or what the issues are, but that is the reputation they have. I remember once being told when asking about a specific product that had a Ralbag hechsher that it was ok to buy because that specific product did not need a hechsher at all, so the Ralbag hechsher on it was irrelevant. So, I have not even bought the occasional can of Dr. Pepper as a splurge or treat in a long time.

I was excited recently to be in a store and see a batch of Dr. Pepper cans bearing the certification of the KLBD - The London Beis Din. The KLBD is known to be a reliable organization, so I took the opportunity and bought a couple cans as a treat. Sure enough, I eventually began wondering about it, as I had not previously seen Dr. Pepper with the KLBD certification, and without the embedding the way the OU does, one can never really know if the label is real or forged. So I went to the website of the KLBD and looked for information.


I was not able to find anything about it at first, so I sent an email through the contact form mentioning that I found cans of Dr. Pepper in Israel with the label claiming to be certified by them and I asked if this is rally their certification or not.

Before I received an answer I found on their website  showing that Dr. Pepper is certified by them.

Sure enough, the reply came back to me stating that Dr. Pepper is not certified by the KLBD and they had previously issued an alert to that effect.

Now that I had found it listed on the KLBD website, this response made no sense to me. They have it listed as "kosher approved parev", but say it is not certified.

In response, KLBD wrote to me that they do not certify Dr. Pepper but they do approve it. They wrote to me once about this a long time ago about a different product. It seems that they can approve some products without actually going down to the factory and without any supervision. Simply based on a detailed correspondence with the manufacturer they can determine that something is ok or not. Such products, those they only analyze via correspondence and not actual supervision, are not called certified by KLBD, but "approved".

The catch with an "approved" product is that the approval only applies to products purchased in the United Kingdom. Because I bought the product in Israel their approval does not apply.

This still made no sense to me. if it is approved in the UK, why does it lose that approval just because somebody bought a bunch of cases and shipped them to another country? Either it is acceptable or it is not. The response from the KLBD was that because it is not certified, they cannot gaurantee that the items shipped to Israel (or other countries) is actually the same product that they approved in the UK. It is possible that other batches were made and the KLBD approval does not apply to those runs.

At the end of the day, they have informed me that they are in touch with the Rabbanut about these cans bearing the unauthorized KLBD logo.

The concept of giving kashrut certification by correspondence baffles me. They have the ability to trust the manufacturer to do everything according to standard? And if one day they decide to change the process, or if they begin manufacturing or bottling other drinks or food items on the same machinery, is the KLBD (or whatever other agency works with a similar process) going to the first phone call the manufacturer makes to inform them of the changes? Isn't the entire certification industry based on the fact that we cannot trust the manufacturer on his say so regarding kashrut?

The distinction of "approved" also bothers me a bit. if it is approved in one place, it should not lose that approval just because it is shipped. if there is a concern that they might be making other batches of the same product then perhaps the "approved" status is not adequate. perhaps they need to give actual certification instead of just approval!

47 comments:

  1. Triangle K has gained most publicity from providing supervision to Hebrew National products. They allow non-glatt, FWIW, and the standard has a not so great reputation within the orthodox world.

    Perhaps they can be relied upon to certify bubbly sugar water?

    http://newsdesk.tjctv.com/2009/07/major-new-acceptance-for-triangle-khebrew-national-as-kosher/

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  2. I did try to find out if even if on this product alone they can be trusted (maybe its one fo those things that doesnt really need a hechsher, or maybe its a simple enough issue that even they could be trusted on it). Nobody, and I asked a few in the kashrus world, could give me any solid answer.

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  3. Why not do this:

    1. Ask triangle K to verify their supervision.

    2. Ask what their criteria is.

    3. Ask what their supervision standards are.

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  4. good suggestion. I probably would not know what to do with the answer. But I'll give it a shot

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  5. Triangle K: Years ago the word was anything the supervise that doesn't contain oils is ok (maybe they had some non-standard shita about bittul with regard to oil processing I don't know).

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  6. actually Rafi, there are many products where triangle K is accepted, even though the reputation is that we do not accept it. we have approached the CRC about this many times and they say it depends on the specific mashgiach to that plant that determines if they recommend the hasgacha or not and here Dr. P has always been accepted regardless of the triangle k. Even regarding a safek chometz on pesach we use in the states here vinegar that has triangle K based on the recommendation of many other entities.

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  7. Shaya - the crc is one of those I spoke with. They recommend (or not) hechshers reliability all over the world. They also recommend specific products from hechsherim that the hechsher itself might not be recommended. When I asked about Dr. pepper with a Triangle K, they said they could not recommend the product as they have no specific information on it.

    But its good to know that in general it is accepted on Dr. pepper.

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  8. Here is the email response that I received from Triangle K, apparently from Rabbi Ralbag...

    email from: Jhralbag@aol.com...

    Not all Hashgacha's are listed on the site.

    Dr. Pepper in Israel when bearing the Meshulach K (triangle k) is strictly Kosher.

    In a message dated 2/6/2012 8:25:59 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, yitz99@gmail.com writes:
    Shalom,

    Some Dr. Pepper soda batches in Israel bear the triangle k certification. I did not see this brand listed on your site, so please verify or deny this if you could.

    Thanks

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  9. thanks Yitz. But that still does not tell me if I can rely, for this product, on a hechsher that is normally not relied on.
    Or maybe we can rely on this hechsher completely (except for products we choose not to, such as non-glatt meat perhaps).

    How do we know if a hechsher is reliable or not? Right now we go by reputation alone.

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  10. Sure - everyone needs to determine for himself what foods and drinks that they toss down the gullet. I'm just passing along the info, FWIW.

    Personally, I would say that if the criteria and supervision (which I haven't asked about) are satisfactory, then why not accept it, but that's just me. Then again, I can do without Dr. Pepper, thank you!

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  11. Re: KLBD "approved" vs. "certified". I think the difference is the same as what goes on in France with the Consistoire. Namely, you do have many non-Jewish factories that produce food which is de facto kosher because no non-kosher ingredients ever come in, there's no issue of bishul goy, etc. The mashgiach comes to the factory and ascertains the facts that the prodcut, the way it is normally produced, is kosher. this is "approved", i.e., it doesn't need a hechsher because the whole factory is de facto kosher. Except, and that is the big caveat, if they decide to change the formula. But it doesn't happen everyday either. And it only applies to the factories that produce for the domestic market (UK for the KLBD, France for the Consistoire), not for the whole brand. The main reason the KLBD doesn't put their logo on it is because Europeans, being wary of religion, do not see with a good eye a product being "certified by a rabbi". Some muslims do look for kosher products, but as the hallal market increases, they tend more and more to boycott anything "Jewish", so the companies are reluctant to put a hechsher on a "normal" product.

    What they call "certified" is when they go to a factory that may be, in normal circumstances, utterly treif, but they kasherize it and do a special production run with kosher ingredients under rabbinical supervision. This special batch bears a hechsher symbol and is thus "certified" - but the same product without a hechsher is treif.
    Now, does every US product bearing the OU symbol "certified"? Or are they simply "approved"? I don't know. Is there really a mashgiah in all these factories?

    What you saw, with these "KLBD" labels, is that some clever people notice that Dr. Pepper (or Mars, or whatever) is "approved" by the KLBD. So they buy a crate of England-produced Dr. Pepper, put bogus labels on it (after all, it is kosher, isn't it?) and sell it to you for double the price. Sometimes they even buy Dr. Pepper from factories that are not approved by the KLBD because they are not in the UK and stick the same labels, because who's going to check anyway?
    All in all: in UK and France, KLBD and Consistoire lists of "approved products" are very reliable except when the manufacturer suddenly decides to change his formula. Dr. Peppers bearing a label such as the one you've seen are most certainly a fraud, at least in a commercial sense, and often even in a kashrus sense. Be careful.

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  12. Dr. Pepper isnt really the issue. It just happens to be the example that came to issue.
    I too can do without Dr. pepper, and usually do. Especially at the ridiculous price it is sold for in Israel.

    How would I even know if their supervision is acceptable or not? And the case of England, where they are approving a product without even supervising it?
    And the only reason I asked is because importer labels have been known to be forged, so who knows what one can rely on...

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  13. Chanoch - thats a good explanation.
    I mut ask though, if KLBD approves Dr. pepper in UK then where are they buying unapproved cans from? KLBD doesnt list specific factories. Presumably, all of the Dr. pepper from the UK is approved by KLBD. that means anythign listed as being fro the UK has been approved by them. So, while the KLBD never authorized use of their symbol on the importer label, the fact is that KLBD approved the product as being kosher.

    I dont understand how these European agencies work. It makes no sense with the lists, approved rather than certified, and the like. i think Europe needs to fix their kashrut systems. From all that I am finding out all I see is a lot of room for mistakes and fraud, and almost no way for the consumer to know what he is actually buying

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    Replies
    1. I spoke with the Coca Cola company in England.
      They claim that there is absolutely no importing or exporting of their products.
      They said they would back that up with a letter, but I have not received it yet.
      Therefore, the Israel importer must have bought them and then exported them to Israel himself.

      IMHO, had the importer not put any sticker on the Dr. Pepper cans, he would've been better off - since those in the know about the KLBD "approval", would've seen manufactured in England and would've drunk it here, just like when in England.

      When we asked the importer how he could put a sticker on it - he faxed us a copy of the KLBD approved list and said: "See, they say it's Kosher!". While it's true what they did is absolute fraud (though to be 'Dan Lekaf Zechut' it may have been an innocent mistake) - had they written "As Approved by the KLBD", they would have been in essence correct.

      And if what the Coca Cola company wrote me is true - then any article that say Dr. Pepper is "not kosher" - is not correct (and I've see a few articles that wrote that).

      Kol Tuv,

      -Ephrayim Naiman

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  14. Dr. Pepper, meet Dr. Brown

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  15. Rafi, mi-ma nafshach: if the can is coming from the UK you don't need the extra label, if it's coming from elsewhere you can't rely on it. The ones importing it may not be from England and they may import it from, I don't know, Romania, where Dr. Pepper is cheaper and treif...
    The sytem in Europe really isn't that complicated. Just that rather than having the OU symbol on the box you have to refer to a list. The real kashrus agencies here do a very good job. Of course you have many fraudsters and charlatans, but no more than in Israel. Last time I came to visit I was appalled by the low standards of Rabbanut Tel Aviv regarding the restaurants. It is not uncommon to see a place where the people who work there know nothing about kashrus, the mashgiach comes once in a blue moon and when you call him is unable to answer the most simple questions. You wouldn't see that in France, where almost all the restaurants are run by observant Jewss.

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  16. Rafi - what I'd heard about hte Triangle-K is that in the past, when the current Rabbi Ralbag's father was the one who headed the Hashgacha, the issue was that they were not reliable in maintaining standards. With the current Rabbi Ralbag, the issue is that he accepts certain standards that others don't - but he does make sure that his standards are adhered to.

    On another point - one of the comentators mentioned a point on Bitul of vinegar for Pesach in the US. FYI, that is the common approach of many Hashgachos in the US, as 95% of commercial "grain" vinegar in the US is actually from corn, not one of the five Halachic grains. Accordingly, they are only Kitniyos, not true Chametz.

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  17. According to to the LBD (and Manchester BD) all drinks are kosher unless they contain non-kosher ingredients(such as grape juice or carmine colouring)
    So who cares about a hecksher.
    The nonsense talked about Triangle K, is just that. Nonsense.
    If R.Ralbag says something is kosher, it's kosher.
    There are only 3 things that need Rabbinic supervision in most Western civilised countries. Meat including fowl of course, cheese and wine( wine vinegar too)
    Otherwise, everything else you can rely on the ingredient list.

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  18. mb, you cannot say "you can rely on the ingredient list". Many ingredients are not listed because the law doesn't require it below a certain amount but it's not necessarily batel. Plus nowadays factories process a whole range of items, some maybe very unkosher, and they sometimes use the same equipment. This is serious business that requires expertise, not broad nonsensical statements. Ignorance is never an excuse.

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  19. Earn money from homeFebruary 06, 2012 11:26 PM

    mb, what you said about relying on the ingredients is incorrect. Consider the kashrut of the machines being used, as one common problem. A manufacturer will often rent out their machines for different uses. Further, many ingredients which may sound "kosher", are in fact, not. It is not so cut and dry.

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  20. Chanoch and Earn Money from Home,
    Respectfully, you do not know what you are talking about and repeating mantras that you have been told.
    ALL ingredients MUST be listed in order of volume. There is no minimum.
    The only exception in the US is if an ingredient is an ingredient of another ingredient and has no relevance, such as coloring in butter, which is always listed in a packet of butter.
    Equipment is suffeik ben yomo, therefore aino ben yomo. Besides, producers don't usually change production in the middle of the day. Also, when they do, they sterilize, clean etc. Also the cooking process is a form of kashering.
    Ingredients MUST be listed using their common names.
    Even flavourings, which usually consist of many, ingredients and therefore ALWAYS batel, must list a fklavour source if it is in the least bid significant.
    Please read up on FDA and EU rules.
    Much of the LBD approval process works on these guidlines, and many products are approved by them based purely on the ingredient list.

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  21. Two brief comments excerpted from an email from the LBD [specifically, R' Hillel Simon] in response to specific questions. Both Rafi and MB have seen the original email in another forum, but it may be of interest to some readers here.

    1. Generally, all our rules are for the UK only, since our thousands of man hours of research is principally on UK productions. The legal requirements in the UK also differ from the USA, so as much as this fellow [MIKEAGE: the original questioner, not cited here] would like to paste our policies on to the entire globe, it is intellectually dishonest. The policy on tinned fish in particular for the UK is as quoted, but please keep in mind we caution on every page of the guide, that it is preferable always to items with a hechsher.

    2. WITH VERY FEW EXCEPTIONS, ALL VEGTABLES WITH A LIKLEYHOOD OF INFESTATION NEED A HECHSHER, AND EVEN THAT OFTEN DOES NOT SUFFICE. WE DO ALLOW NON infested vegetables tinned in water and sugar/salt only, such as green beans and carrots.

    That said, it seems fairly clear to me (as a non-UK resident) that the LBD policies are less stringent (I don't want to say strict) than what people in the US generally do. I will leave it to the halachists, sociologists, and conspiracy theorists to speculate on why this is.

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  22. Earn money from homeFebruary 07, 2012 8:10 AM

    mb, sorry to bust your bubble, but I have worked in Kashrus and these are real issues. So you are 100% wrong. I've been present in factories when the non-KOSHER ingredients arrived. If I was not there, they would have used those ingredients. Not even out of malice. But simply as a substitute.

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  23. Earn money from homeFebruary 07, 2012 8:13 AM

    mb, by the way, your theory on Kashering the machines is also completely faulty. Perhaps you might go to a factory and find out the issues first hand that are present when kashering a industrial machine. Further, I've been at a bottling plant when they bottled BBQ sauce (hot), and then followed (less than 24 hours later) with a popular soft drink which had a hechsher on it related to this discussion--and no mashgiach present.

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  24. Based on what do you say that triangle-k is not reliable?

    BTW, the Rabbanut happens to trust Triangle-K. Why don't you ask them what the think of Tri-K?

    From what I understand, the issue with the oil from years ago (which apparently is no longer an issue), was with the shipping containers, and the Triangle-K followed a lenient ruling given by R. Y.S. Elyashiv Shlit"a.

    I think that in order to say that an Orthodox Rabbi's hechsher is not reliable you need more than rumor and hearsay.

    Every large hechsher in the US relies on certain leniencies. Many of which would not be used in Israel e.g. chalev akum, safek chadash, pas palter, no mashgiach on the boat for tuna(OU), machine washed greens (Star-K), much more lenient standards in shechita particularly with poultry, "glatt" meat which isn't chalak (OU),various leniencies with bishul akum (star-k). I don't have any reason to believe the Tri-K does that any more than OU or Star-K.

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  25. mb:
    1. machines are not considered safek ben yomo for several reasons. First this applies only to regular kelim of nochrim which have this chazaka, but not to factory machines where we know they work around the clock. Do you think a factory operates one hour a day, like a family kitchen? Also, even if it was the case, the Torah mandates kashering of kelei Midian lechatchila.
    2. Flavorings, even in minute amounts, are generaly not batel, because they are precisely here to impart taste. Otherwise they wouldn't put it in...
    3. Like you said, some ingredients are themselves manufactured products which may contain problematic items that are not necessarily batel, for example if this is davar hamaamid.
    4. The order in which ingredients are put in may very well cause problems of haticha naasit nevela, requiring much bigger amounts to be batel.
    5. It is not clear at all, even if all the problematic ingredients are batel, that the product is muttar because the manufacturer is mevatel them lechatchila be-yadayim for you, the customer.
    זיל גמור.

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  26. anon - as I said, it is on reputation alone. I am not familiar with every hechsher, and even the ones I am familiar with I am not familiar with every policy they work by. I trust some because I know them to be good based on what I know and what I have heard. Hechshers I am not familiar with I try to find out about. Triangle K, despite what you said, has an unreliable reputation. The CRC does not include them in their recommended hechsher list. I dont know more than that, but I do know that most frum people I know do not rely on Triangle K.
    Again, I dont know what is wrong with them, but all that points to me not relying on them as well.

    One of my questions was that perhaps that assumption is wrong. Maybe they should not be banned by the frum community because of one or two policies(though I dont know what those policies are).

    Overall, in the responses here, it seems that they arent as bad as they are made out to be. Which makes me wonder why most frum people that i know dont rely on them..

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  27. makes me wonder why most frum people that i know dont rely on them

    The fact that they certify non-Glatt meat for Hebrew National is enough to give them a taint in the frum world. Never mind that this issue has nothing to do with soda pop and in any case Glatt meat is a chumrah to start with.

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  28. I might be wrong, and correct me if I am, but I think this not relying on Triangle K goes back to a time well before glatt meat was the standard.

    Is that incorrect?

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  29. Re: Triangle K and Hebrew National. The Triangle K hechsher on HN is fairly recent. In the last decades, HN had a far, far worse reputation than TK. People who would eat fish in a treif restaurant, for example, would not eat HN. Only recently did TK certify HN. Some interpreted it as meaning that HN had improved its policies, others that TK had reached an all-time low.
    Regarding TK in itself, what I know is that R. Ralbag is a real, knowledgeable professional in this field - as opposed to the many outright fraudsters. He also makes no mystery that he follows somes policies that are legitimate halachically speaking but that are more lenient than what is considered standard in the US. Now, I don't live there, so I don't know the whole story.
    What I would really like, though, is that every hechsher would publish an extensive list of their standards so that we can all know what is really going on and stop reliying on hearsay.

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  30. Kosharot has published the Rabbanut's guide at http://www.kosharot.co.il/hadracha_rabnut.asp

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  31. Mikeage,
    2. WITH VERY FEW EXCEPTIONS, ALL VEGTABLES WITH A LIKLEYHOOD OF INFESTATION NEED A HECHSHER, AND EVEN THAT OFTEN DOES NOT SUFFICE. WE DO ALLOW NON infested vegetables tinned in water and sugar/salt only, such as green beans and carrots.

    R'Simon does not the policies of the LBD for whom he works.
    I'll post on the other forum soon.

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  32. Chanoch, you said
    "3. Like you said, some ingredients are themselves manufactured products which may contain problematic items that are not necessarily batel, for example if this is davar hamaamid. "

    All stabilizers MUST have their source.
    The most common being soy lecithin, wehich is kosher.
    And please give me an example of how you saved the day by stopping an innocent non-kosher item going into a kosher product, that would not have been batel, and would not have been listed on the ingredient list.

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  33. All hechsherim rely on others hechsherim. I know that OU rely on 10% of all. They trust each others.

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  34. mb: A very simple example: a factory produced what we call in French "biscottes", a type of toast. They usually put animal fat in it. They agreed to do a kosher production run with vegetable fat after cleaning and kashering all the machines. When the mashgiach came he saw that the machines had not been cleaned, that there was a thick layer of treif crust on the walls of the tanks. When the mashgiach expressed his surprise, saying he had requested clean tanks that he would then kasherize, the manufacturer explained that the tanks were indeed clean - but that they always leave an old layer of crust otherwise the dough doesn't rise well.

    And this is a complex example. The most simple ones are simply that many different products are made on the same machines. Even if product B uses only kosher ingredients, product A that was manufactured one hour before may have contained very treif ingredients that contaminate product B but are not listed in its composition. That is exactly the same problem you find with products that do not list nuts as ingredients but mention that they might contain traces of nuts: because the machines used also process nut-based products and this information is vital for allergic people. Same thing for kashrus. Contamination through the machines is even more problematic than if you directly put the treif ingredient in the product because you don't know what amount the machine has absorbed in the past so the processed product must be more than 60 times the volume of the machine in order to mevatel the taste it could impart (which is only possible in very wide, flat and thin tanks). And even that you can't do lechatchila.

    G.d I hope you don't work as a mashgiach.

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  35. Sorry, Chanokh,
    but you are confusing kashrut agencies' policies with Jewish Law.
    With at least 1000 agencies world wide, that is not surprising, but still an error.

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  36. mb: Sorry, but I am not. I base myself exclusively on the dinim brought down in the Shulchan Aruch (roughly, YD 87-121). I dare you bring proof that you can use treife kelim without kashering (even when they are not bnei yomam), that you can be mevatel anything lechatchila beyadayim, that there are no notions of nat bar nat deissura or of haticha naasit nevela...
    It's precisely because of people with your attitude that false hashgachot can prosper.

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  37. Gents - try to turn down the flame(s) a bit!

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  38. Chanokh,
    You are talking about l'chatchilla and b'dei evad and I'm talking about kashrut.
    I never suggested that you can use a stam pot w/o kashering it first. However, if you forget to kasher it, the food is kosher. That's in YD, too.Especially if somebody else cooked it. A stam pot is assumed to be aino ben yomo.
    I agree there are too many poor kashrut agencies.
    I still have not seen any proof that in civilised countries there is a need for supervision other than meat, cheese and wine.

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  39. Chanokh sais
    2. Flavorings, even in minute amounts, are generaly not batel, because they are precisely here to impart taste. Otherwise they wouldn't put it in...

    That would be correct if you can identify the the particular flavour.
    However, flavourings are usually made up of many ingredients, there is no way you can identify one. And the law is that if it does contain a significant flavour, it must be declared on the label.

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  40. mb: a stam pot has a chazaka of not being ben yomo. This chazaka disappears when we know that the pot (or the machine) has been used in the last 24h., all the more so when it works more or less around the clock.
    Also, once again, when you are mevatel something be-yadayim (even taste from a pot), the bittul doesn't work, not for the one who did the bittul, nor for the one it was done for.
    As for flavouring, this is a bit more complex. It is true that for sodas, for example, they use a combination of sweeteners. But all sweeteners have the same purpose, i. e. to sweeten, so it's not really an issue. In a complex flavouring agent, each element can well have its one particular effect. Now imagine that you have flavouring agent "A" in whose composition you have a treif element "a". And that either because "a" is more than 1/60 of "A" or because it is an essential part of "A" it is not batel. "A" is now assur, and for Ashkenazim at least, it is chatichat nevela. So you must be batel the whole "A", not just "a". And since the whole purpose of "A" is to impart flavour... it isn't batel either.
    Anyway the whole notion of bittul is shaky here because if a manufacturer puts in a treif element on purpose, then it's not batel - especially since he expects some effect from this ingredient, he's not throwing it in for the fun.
    Another example - and here I am talking about things that are generally not accepted by kashrus agencies, even if they could be perfectly acceptable, at least bediavad, from the strict POW of halacha: carmine (E120) and gelatine. The first comes from an insect, the second from carcasses of treife cows or swines. Now you can produce kosher carmine from insects and even kosher gelatine from pork; the former, if it's left to dry whole for a year, the second, if it's made from its dry bones (even from the hide if we're talking about treife cows). But not every manufacturer of carmine or gelatine operates this way, far from it. Cochineal are usually dried in an oven and ground (which is not considered sufficient by the poskim), while gelatine is mostly made from swine hides, which is problematic, and absent any supervision, it is hard to assess that it has lost its status of maachal during the process (and even if it did, when it reverted to something edible, major poskim would still osser it).
    So you can have kosher carmine and pork gelatine. But by reading the ingredients, how would you tell the kosher ones from the very treife ones? Are you going to tell people "it's OK, E120 is kosher" and have them, in effect, eat insects? Or are you going to say "E120 is always assur" and deprive them from something that was, maybe, perfectly kosher? And confuse them more when they see that some kosher-certified products contain E120 - albeit not quite the same E120 than the one found in non approved products, even if it comes from the same insects?

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  41. To be sure, along the bogus hashgachot, you have very serious and reputable kashrus agencies that require somewhat absurd chumrot, or are rather incoherent in their stringencies - being very strict on a point where rov haposkim are mekil while being rather lenient on other points where the kula is really a minority position. This is the way the world goes, and it can be frustrating from a halachic POW.
    But that doesn't mean you can simply say "just rely on the ingredients list". There are many issues that can happen in a factory (mainly because, as stated in the beginning, your klal of "stam kelim einam bnei yomam" is nothing more than a chazaka that doesn't hold when we know that the machines are used around the clock) that are real issues.
    Personnally, I really don't like pushing the chumra envelope, because I feel the chumra culture that we know nowadays is the sign of a profound lack of emunat chachamim: what Chazal and the poskim tell you it's muttar, you want to forbid because you're not sure they're right and you'd rather be on the safe side? However, I have one limit: I don't accept from restaurants and factories what I, and really anyone who eats stam kosher, wouldn't accept in his kitchen. Thus, I have no qualms about eating things with the stamp of a kashrus agency whose reputation is "so-so" in some circles, when I know that what is really going on is perfectly OK. OTOH, I don't want to buy things about which I have zero information just because "hey, it must be kosher..."
    (End of rant)

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  42. Chanokh,
    We will agree to disagree.
    Best

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  43. great investigation! it confirms what I said. technically the Dr. Pepper is kosher as approved by the KLBD, and the issue was really unauthorized use of the KLBD logo

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  44. Dr. Pepper is kosher only if it is certified, not approved.

    Why 'approved' cannot be depended on:
    A couple of years ago, the company that makes Mars bars in the UK decided to changed the ingredients. Mars is approved, not supervised. Since it is not supervised, it essentially enjoys a free hechsher, right? The UK rabbinate decided better to approve than for Jews to eat treif food, right.
    So Mars bars were going to contain a meat by product, and the rabbinate would have found out about it when exactly? On their yearly check? In the end of the day, I'm told that it was vegetarians who made a big stink so that the company backed down.
    So buyer beware if you depend on 'approved' products'.

    You only have to travel to the UK and South Africa to see who is serious about Kashrut. In South Africa, where there is a relatively negligible amount of Jews, a very large minority of products have a Jo-berg beit din logo. In the UK, with the much more sizable Jewish population, they have to suffice with a few hundred certified products and many more 'approved' and non-certified.

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  45. I have been scouring the country trying to find out if any store has or can get Diet Dr. Pepper. I am a diabetic and really love it. I have been living in Israel for almost 2 1/2 years now and haven't found any. If anyone out there knows where or how I can get it, please let me know!

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    Replies
    1. there are a couple stores in Bet Shemesh that sell it. I'm sure they sell it in other places as well... probably in Jerusalem, Modiin, among other places

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