Slurpees Slurpees Everywhere, Nor Any Drop To Drink?
Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, cRc Kashruth Administrator
original article more than 1500 words presented her in 540 words
I shall address three important Slurpee questions.
1) Is the Slurpee Kosher?
As of today, all Slurpee syrups are certified Kosher and Pareve, aside from the diet Pepsi syrup, which is certified Kosher-dairy and Piña Colada, which is not certified Kosher. Although in some states, independently owned and operated Slurpee franchises, may use generic-brand syrups for their Slurpees, nevertheless, such usage must be publicised with a hand-written sign on the machine. Breaching this requirement, will bring the franchise a much greater problem than Kosher [and can be relied upon according to Halacha]
2) Is there a problem with the machines after they have been used with non-Kosher or Dairy flavour? Might such flavours be absorbed and then leached into the Kosher slurpee slush which is later loaded into the machine?
The machines, are certainly not used for any other food product. Minute amounts of dairy or non-Kosher found in some of the flavours will not disqualify the machine. [he seems to be headed towards saying the amounts are too tiny to be a problem, but as he continues he moves in a different direction - this is not an error of my summarisation] Firstly, it operates at -2.2C so there is no absorption of taste due to heat. Secondly, approximately 4.5 large cups of Slurpee empty the machine, we may safely assert that the Slurpee mix does not remain in the machine for 24 hours for flavour to be absorbed. [I don't understand this - the machine is constantly being refilled - unless he refers to the machine being emptied and sanitised daily, but he doesn't say this]
3) Is there a risk that the Kosher Slurpees might become contaminated with the non-Kosher? or the non-Dairy with the dairy.
This depends of course upon the systems employed to ensure hygiene and safety. It appears that in the US, stores do not clean the machines between flavours and in fact seek it since Kids prefer the overlap that creates mixed flavours. Nevertheless, the many Poskim consulted by Rabbi Fishbane, all agree, for various Halachik reasons, that the small amounts of non-Kosher that may be mixed in to the Kosher, do not pose any Halachic concern. [are we, the ordinary members of the Kosher community too stupid or too unschooled or too untrustworthy to be informed about the "various Halachic reasons"?]
The cRc recommends 3 options:
1) Best Case Scenario – Ask your local franchise to seek certification on their Slurpee machines.
2) Second Best Choice –Before purchasing the Slurpee, verify that the tubs which feed the machine are Kosher certified.
3) Final Choice –Continue as is.
BTW Why Does the Slush not Freeze at -2.2C?
Sugar provides this magical quality.
But diet slurpees containing no sugar, use instead a combination of sucralose (Splenda) a high intensity sweetener, tagatose (dairy) and erythirtol. The latter two are "bulk sweeteners", their primary function is to make the magical slurpee consistency.
Why is Tagatose dairy?
[Well, according to HaRav Elyashiv, it is not dairy just as Lactose is not dairy. But for those who do consider it dairy -]
It is derived from Lactose which is a milk sugar. When we drink milk, the lactose is split by the enzyme Lactase into two simple digestible sugars; glucose and galactose. Tagatose is the trade name of Galactose. Galactose unlike Lactose, can be digested by our body and is therefore a boon to the elderly who often have little of the required enzyme Lactase required for the digestion of Lactose.
Although the amount of Tagatose in the Slurpee mix is Bottel (nullified) by volume, it is argued that it is not Bottel by its effect since it is critical for the Slurpee's consistency. Rabbi Fishbane has asked many Poskim who remain divided in their rulings. However, HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, the Av Beis Din of the cRc rules that Tagalos is dairy.