Mar 28, 2012

First-World Problems: No Coke For Pesach

In a strange announcement that seems to have upset some people, Kosher Today announced in it's newsletter that kosher consumers in California will not be able to enjoy Coca Cola this Pesach, as they had to change the formula in order to meet new California regulations regarding one of the ingredients, and the new formula will not yet be Kosher for Passover. Even in other places where it will be Kosher for Passover, it will be limited to regular Coke and diet, and no other versions.

California is not alone in the tzurres of a First-World country - the same newsletter also informs us that in Chicago there will be confusion in the supermarkets as Pepsi Cola is offering its kosher for Passover drinks under two different kashrus certifications - the Kof-K and US Kosher. I don't know if one is more or less reliable than the other, but people who want to rely on one and not the other will need to pay attention when they go shopping for Pepsi.

To quote Kosher Today:
Los Angeles…Kosher consumers here that were expecting to find Coca Cola for Passover on supermarket shelves were disappointed to learn that the coveted beverage would not be available this year in the State of California due to a quirk in the law that would make the ingredients unacceptable. In a statement, Coca Cola said: “We will not be able to offer Kosher for Passover products in California this year. We expect to offer Kosher for Passover products in 2013.” Coca Cola explained that “the new alternative process caramel required to meet the State of California’s guidelines related to Proposition 65 does not meet the Kosher for Passover requirements. We believe it will in 2013.”
Meanwhile in Chicago, products produced by Pepsi Cola had two different kosher certifications, the Kof-K and US Kosher, based in California. The latter was distributed by independent wholesalers while the company itself distributed the Kof-K products.
But even in states where Coca Cola is available with an OU-P for Pesach, it will only be available in Regular and Diet flavors (not even a Caffeine-Free version). Aside from the New York metropolitan area, Coke will be available in Boston, Baltimore-Washington, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, and Philadelphia. This year, in New York, Coca Cola items will be made with an OU-P in 2 liter bottles.
Several retailers reached by KosherToday said that customers were growing increasingly frustrated at the slim pickings offered by Coke. Pepsi on the other hand was offering Kof-K kosher Passover beverages that included a Caffeine-Free version of regular and diet Pepsi. In addition Pepsi was also producing Passover versions of Seven-Up, Sierra Mist, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Lemon-Lime Seltzer, Mandarin Orange Seltzer and regular seltzer. It was also offering a variety of Dr. Brown’s flavors.
My thoughts on this are about the same as the burning desire to change the minhag (not from an academic perspective) and eat kitniyos on pesach, or to complain about the lack of chametz foods and how unbearable it is for the week.

That would be - Pesach is only a week long. Get over it.

You can live without rice for a week, you can live without barley in your cholent for a week, you can live without Sprite for a week. There are so many things to be upset about, to be depressed about, to be confused about, in todays world, be it the economy and the Jewish community members who suffer because of it (along with the broader community suffering), be it the terror, be it the Iranian threat, be it whatever serious situation we find ourselves in at any given moment - missing Coca Cola for a week is not a reason to be depressed and confused.

First-World Problems, as we say...

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  1. Pesach attitude here in Chicago is becoming d\so frustrating and annoying. people here have started turning over this week already - effectively creating a 14-18 day pesach. they stock up at the store as if the end of the world is coming - not just an 8 day chag. they make the cashiers wipe the conveyor belts and wear gloves.

    makes me sick and embarrassed for Judaism and the holiday.

  2. they make the cashiers wipe the conveyor belts and wear gloves.

    To be fair, that's not a holiness problem, that's a mental health-OCD problem.

    My spouse believes chametz can magically fly from room to room. If he had his way we'd clean and kasher the whole house instantaneously.

    Sounds like Chicago is merely catching up with the East Coast.

  3. well, with all these transplanted East Coasters, you're probably right. I agree it's not really the religion but the crazu people, yet it's all done in the name of religion and no one tries to stop it. maybe it's too minor for the rabbis to address, but I believe it's indicative of a much bigger problem.

    Oh well


    1. I wish you would stop promoting your blog. Maybe if it were interesting, it would get traffic on its own.

  5. "You can live without rice for a week, you can live without barley in your cholent for a week . . ."

    The point is that kitniyot is just a ridiculous minhag to begin with. Do you mean to tell me that people might make flour from green beans or peas? If anything, kitniyot should be limited to things one can actually use to make a bread like material, such as corn, rice, and potatoes. The rest is just out of this world crazy.

    Anyone make any bread out of peanuts recently?

    Is it any wonder that more and more Ashkenazi olim are switching their minhag to eating kiyniyot?

    1. You need to be clear. saying the minhag is ridiculous does not give you a right to abandon it. I dont even think the avoidance of kitniyos is a minhag - rather it is based on a takana of chazal.
      I have no problem with a person deciding, or following a rav, that kitniyot is not the minhag hamakom in eretz yisrael, or even that it is no longer relevant.. Just dont say it is ridiculous. Chazal made a takana and we keep it. some people are saying nowadays we can change the custom or hanhaga, and that is fine, but do so respectfully.

      also, the fact that you cannot make bread out of peanuts has nothing to do with the takana of kitniyos. some say peanuts are not kitniyot at all. The mishna brura brings a number of reasons why chazal banned kitniyot for the passover palate - the ability to make bread from said legume was only one of the reasons.

  6. this "minhag" has only been around since 1935!
    see the full story here:


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