Are Soda & Other Soft Drinks from Europe Kosher?


Last updated: March 18, 2014

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Image by Roboppy

Image by Roboppy

KNOW WHAT’S IN YOUR DRINK!

We often receive emails about products overseas that we in the US, Canada, and Israel take for granted as being kosher. Sometimes it requires us to do some investigative work / asking various kashrut agencies abroad.

The question we received was:

When flying internationally, the airlines serve Coke and Sprite etc that are made in European factories. Are they kosher? They have no markings identifying them as such.

We forwarded this query to our contacts at the UK’s main kashrut agency, the KLBD. Here is their response:

They would fall under our guidelines for soft drinks, which are as follows:

All soft drinks are permitted, unless they contain grape juice or non-permitted “E-numbers”. Drinks containing Fruit Extract should be avoided, as the extract could be from grape, which must be produced under Rabbinical supervision.

When asked about E-numbers, which is basically an additive, we were informed to AVOID these specific Problematic E numbers

E120 E422 E430 E431 E432
E433 E434 E435 E436 E441
E442 E470 E470a E470b E471
E472a E472b E472c E472D E472e
E472f E473 E474 E475 E476
E477 E481 E482 E483 E491
E492 E493 E494 E495 E542
E570 E572 E1441
  • E120 Cochineal, Carmine, Carminic Acid – This is unique in that it is the only non-permitted colour. It is a naturally occurring red colour, which is derived from the cochineal beetle.
  • E422 Glycerol – Glycerol occurs naturally in many plant cells and is synthesized by the plants themselves, but it is obtained commercially from oils and fats as a by-product of the soap and fatty-acid industry. It is used as a sweetener or to reduce the effects of humidity on food.
  • E432 – E495, E1441 Emulsifiers & Stabilizers – These are derived commercially from fatty acids. Emulsifiers play an important role in the food industry because the manufacture of many foodstuffs involves the formation and stability of an emulsion (eg. oil and water), and an emulsifier aids the mixing of these two liquids to form one complete product (eg. mayonnaise). Stabilizers help to keep the product in a stable condition, preventing the breakdown of the emulsion.
  • E542  Edible Bone Phosphate –Degreased steam extract of animal bones, used in medicines as an anti-caking-agent to prevent particles sticking together.
  • E570 Stearic Acid – Naturally occurring fatty acid found in all animal fats and vegetable oils, used as an anti-caking agent, eg, in spices.
  • E572  Magnesium Stearate – Prepared synthetically from commercial stearic acid and used as an anti-caking or release agent, eg, in moulded confectionery.

 

While the answer to this question isn’t a clear yes or no, it truly depends on whether or not it has one of the above additives in it, which will depend on the facility/country it is produced in. Since European products generally don’t carry kosher symbols on them as they do in the US, Canada, and Israel, it is important to read the labels and the ingredients.

 

Thank you to the rabbis and staff at KLBD who answered our questions in a timely manner.

If you have any travel related kosher queries, we’ll do our best to answer them or find the appropriate experts to answer it. Email us here. Be sure to subscribe to our email updates below.

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