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In Melbourne Shabbat begins Fri 15 Dec 2017 08:19 PM and ends Sat 16 Dec 2017 09:20 PM
י"ב שבט ה' אלפים תשס"ט
Now that summer is finally upon us (what happened to December and most of January?), parents and kids* have been contacting us about the acceptability of Slurpees.
(Slurpee is actually a brand name of a frozen carbonated beverages sold by 7- Eleven, and not to be confused with Squishies sold by Kwik E Marts.) The Slurpee machine has a dispenser knob for each flavour at the front of a tumbler or freezer, where patrons pour their own Slurpees.
As the equipment is dedicated for each flavour, the main Kashrut concern with Slurpees is the cordial concentrate used as the flavour which needs to be checked for Kosher approval. Up until 2006, many of the flavours sold in Australia were Kosher certified and supplied to 7-Eleven by one of the local beverage companies. However, that changed when 7-Eleven started to source their Slurpees from an international supplier.
Since then, we have been working to obtain the required information to assess the Slurpees but to date we have been less than successful.
Consumers are understandably hot and bothered – “if Slurpees are Kosher in US, why aren’t they Kosher here?”
While it’s nice to think that Kosher Australia can dictate to a mega, multinational soft drink company…it’s not that simple.
First, the current Slurpee supplier – for Commercial-in-Confidence let’s refer to them as MMSDC (Mega Multinational Soft Drink Company) – actually produces the concentrates used in Australia at one of five factories around the world. While some of the flavours may have the same ingredients, there is no guarantee that the sources of the ingredients are acceptable. For example, say that glycerine was used (purely hypothetical) in the syrup, glycerine may be derived from vegetable sources or may be derived from animal sources. Even the vegetable based glycerine may be processed on the same equipment as the animal variety which renders the vegetable glycerine not-Kosher. So it is conceivable that identical flavours do not have the same Kosher status.
Secondly, MMSDC is extremely secretive to the point that even though we approve some of their normal soft drinks, we only do so with a great degree of pleading.
Thirdly, 7-Eleven has no uniform concentrate supplier so flavours Kosher in one country may not be so in another country. As it happens, the Australian Slurpee syrups are actually made in Africa and despite the assistance from the Beth Din of Johannesburg we have to date been unsuccessful in ascertaining the Kashrut. (South African 7-Elevens unfortunately use a different syrup supplier.)
Please note that Slurpee concentrates may not be identical to soft drink concentrates and Kosher Australia (like most of world Kashrut) abides by the principle that unless we know it’s Kosher, then it isn’t.
*the stated average age of a Slurpee consumer is 29 years.