DIARY ARTICLES in honor of Shavuos, when it is traditional to eat dairy meals in honor of the holiday of the giving of the Torah.
by Rabbi Dovid Wheeler
Traces of pig DNA were found in Cadbury chocolate bars in Malaysia. The Muslims that live there are religious, and their religion prohibits the consumption of or contact with pigs. Naturally they were very upset. Since the British chocolate company was purchased by Kraft Foods, questions were raised regarding the other dairy products of Kraft (like Oreo cookies). (In the past pig milk, a very fatty milk, could be used to “enhance the quality” of cow milk or compensate for watering down the cow milk.)
Suddenly it becomes clear for the Kosher consumer that the whole issue of Chalav Stam vs Chalav Yisrael (cow milk in a Western Country under national standards versus Fully Kosher Supervised & Milked Milk) is not so simple. We are no longer in the days when food things were simple. With all the modified additives that are popping up in the food industry, the unknowns become bigger and bigger.
(Interestingly butter made from Chalav Stam is permitted, as milk from non-kosher animals won’t churn into butter – at least it wouldn’t in the past. Nowadays food technology can overcome the problem by adding the missing enzymes – meaning butter today requires kosher supervision to guarantee it does not include non-kosher ingredients or come from non-kosher animals.)
Historically the restriction that was made was on milk from non-Jewish dairy farms was on liquid milk only, not on milk powder (what is used in most chocolate bars). Yet we find the ingredients of milk powder are NO LONGER ONLY MILK… Milk Powder: nonfat dry milk, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3, sweet dairy whey, non fat dry milk solids, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and high fructose corn syrup. (Source)
Those ingredients are of particular note for those concerned about what corn products are doing to children and some of the behavior problems they are having, as well as diabetics or anyone with blood sugar problems.
For the kosher consumer they might be interested in all of the ingredients as well as the vegetable oil, the source and purity of each of which must be checked to make sure it’s not coming from a non-kosher source.
I myself don’t panic mode but it does make me think that when we looking at a heter (an easing or way around a restriction) in halacha (Jewish law), we need to truly look to see what the final impact will be. The the food industry has become so complicated that maybe it is time for us to go back to purer or simpler sources such as, for the kosher consumer, dairies that follow fully kosher standards and supervision. simple way of life and just go back to Jewish Milk. Just food for thought.
Wishing all of you Happy Shavous and that you receive the Torah with Joy.
About Rabbi Dovid…
Just a plain American Husband, Father, Rabbi, Reflexologist, Herbalist, and owner of koshercurds.com (100% kosher cheese making supplies, cheese making workshops) and davidsnaturals.com, and lover of nature with all that it has to offer. He lives in Israel with his wife and son in the Golan Heights. koshercurds.com - 100% Kosher Home Cheese Making supplies and workshops.