May 27, 2013

From the Rabbanut update: Does Palestinian Coca Cola require a hechsher?

One item from the latest Rabbanut kashrut update:



The item states that some coca cola is being sold in Israel with Arabic writing on the label and no kashrut certification symbol at all. These bottles are being sold at a cheaper price.. Upon investigation it has been found that this item is manufactured in the village of Kfar Bitunia, near Jerusalem with no kashrut supervision.
The Rabbanut therefore warns the public that they should be aware and not buy this product, both due to the issue itself (i.e. it might not be kosher), and for educational reasons so people should not get used to buying food with no kashrut supervision. And either way, a place with supervision should not have these bottles present...

The first reason to not consume this item is important - the item has no kashrut supervision and perhaps there might be a problematic ingredient. if there is, it should be pointed out what that is. Coca Cola is using just about identical recipes around the world - they want their product to retain a certain level of uniformity and the same taste everywhere, with perhaps slight changes to accommodate local markets. It should not be difficult for the Rabbanut, or Rav Landau who authorizes the Israeli Coca Cola, to find out what, if anything, is different about the PA Coca Cola.

the second reason to not consume this, for educational reasons, is a crock. That is their way of keeping a stranglehold on the people even when it is not necessary. Foods that do not require a hechsher, and I am not saying this applies to Coca Cola, do not need a hechsher for educational reasons. I would say just the opposite - for educational reasons it would be better to not put a hechsher on so people can learn that certain foods are perfectly kosher and do not need external certification. This would apply to plain coffee (not flavored), regular beers (not flavored) and many other food items. I do not know if Coca Cola falls into theis category or not, but saying people should be trained to not buy food without a hechsher is false, unless they are saying this is an item that requires one. In this case of Coca Cola, they failed to make that case.



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6 comments:

  1. The first reason is also crock. Coca-cola is permitted around the world without kashrut supervision.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Did the rabanut say anything about forbidding Arab Coke because it is a Torah violation of 'lo techanem'?

    How can the rabanut want to educate us about non-hechsher Coke when 'everyone' 'knows' that many other beverages especially hard liquor, do not need hechshers like Chivas and Absolut. I really do laugh at my Haredi friends who are so picky on only eating Edah and Landau, but many whiskies made in Scotland by goyim with absolutely no rabbinical supervision is fine, even after Pesach with no hametz certificate (could have been in possession by Jewish warehouses during Pesach).

    Coca Cola and other flavoured drinks are not blindly permitted around the world, except for ignorants. Buyer beware. A distant relative of mine works at Coca Cola France. At a certain time (and I do not know if it is still relevant), he said that Diet Coke with Lemon produced by his bottler had a wine-based ingredient in it and was not allowed.

    With regard to buying stuff without a proper hechsher, just a reminder about Mars in the UK which introduced a meat ingredient into Mars and Snickers bars a few years ago, but only after vegetarian pressure did they revert that move. In the UK, there is no hechsher on Mars, but it is in the 'approved' list meaning the LBD checked it out once. Can you really trust something that does not have any certification - in other words, no mashgiach to make spot checks? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6673549.stm

    ReplyDelete
  3. Their 2nd reason most likely refers to not getting used to buying unsupervised products that do require supervision. Coke produced in some random bottling plant should be supervised, perhaps not for the ingredients but certainly to ensure the kashrus of the production line. Major bottling plants in the USA might be 100% dedicated to Coke, but there is no such guarantee that the plant used in this case is exclusively used for Coke or kosher prodcuts.

    I highly doubt that any reputable kashrus authority would agree with the statement made by Bert that "Coca-cola is permitted around the world without kashrut supervision"
    I lived in South America for years and the local Coke plants were always checked by the local rabbonim.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Forget the Kashrut question for a moment. To bottle Coke anywhere in the world, you need a license from the Coca Cola company. Do the people in Kfar Bitunia have it? In not, and you buy Coke from them, you're helping them to steal from the Coca Cola company. Gezel, anyone?

    ReplyDelete
  5. you seem to be assuming they dont have a license. personally, I would assume the opposite, until prove otherwise. Coca Cola is too big a company to let them get away with that for too long, and they have been making coca cola in the PA for at least 5 years that I know of (I bought a can of PA coke 5 years ago)

    ReplyDelete
  6. How about it is a mitzvah to support Jewish businesses, as a din of tzedakah? This is mentioned in poskim in several places. (I'm at work and can't access sources right now.) And how about it is a mitzvah to buy from Jewish businesses in Israel as a din of mitzvat yishuv haaretz?

    Both the above assume that the different in price isn't too large. If there is a very big difference in price, then consult your LOR and your conscience.

    ReplyDelete

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