Friday, June 16, 2006

Chewing Gum

Q: Dear Rabbi,

Since I am not eating the gum--what difference does it make if the gum is not certified Kosher?
The gum in question is Koolerz watermelon gum made by Hershey foods, but is not certified by anyone. There doesn't seem to be any non-kosher ingredients--but some one said even gum is non-kosher.
But I am not eating it--what's the facts.

A: Dear Yehuda,

Gum does need to be kosher, because it contains flavoring that we swallow while chewing it. However, provided that the ingredient label does not suggest the presence of any non-kosher substances, rabbinical supervision would not be necessary.

I am not familiar with the specific brand of gum in question. If I can be of any assistance in evaluating the ingredient list, please feel free to email it to me and I'll be glad to review it. The main ingredient to be on the lookout for is probably grape juice.

Best Regards,

Rabbi Maroof


AviSaul said...

Is everyone qualified to read ingredient panels?
What about equipment issues?

Anonymous said...

a major problem in drinks and candies is that the cochineal (spelling?) bug is often used for red coloring. Seriously. Sometimes it is listed as cochineal and sometimes in other ways.

Becca (Miriya) said...

On Deeni's comment: I first learned about this issue while living in England. There they had a very good system of "suitable for vegetarians" labelling, but almost nothing was hechshered. If I saw an otherwise innocuous-looking product (e.g. snack cake) that was missing that "suitable for vegetarians label," it often turned out that it was because cochineal-derived red dye had been used as food coloring for it (e.g. in the icing on the cake).

So, when in doubt, my husband & I avoid dubious red-food-colored products (e.g. when in a restaurant etc., will ask the color of the lemonade & avoid if we're told that it's pink lemonade but not worry if it's the yellow kind).