The Telegraph reports Mars candies and ice cream, including Mars Bars, Snickers, Bounty, Minstrels, Celebrations chocolates, Mars ice
cream, Tracker nut bars and Magic Stars made in England may contain animal-derived whey:
Leave your answers in the comments section.
Just as the idea that sanity would dominate the issue of animal-rennet-derived-whey in Mars candies made in Great Britain, haredim at the Israeli Chief Rabbinate's office have stepped in to provide our daily dose of haredi-inspired stupidity. Ynet reports:
they are using rennet, then this is a very, very serious problem,” said
Rabbi Haim Lasri of the import department at the Chief Rabbinate.
“We approached rabbis abroad who are dealing with the matter, and
it’s possible that kashrut will be granted in the future only if there
is a change in the ingredients,” he added.…
"rabbi" clearly is ignorant of the whey-making process and the
candy-making process. He doesn't seem to understand the issue. He's
heard the word "rennet" and gone into crisis mode.
For more on why rabbis like Hiam Lasri make the mistakes they do, you can read this and comment there.
[Hat Tip for the Update: KK.]
UPDATE 5-17-07: The apparently haredi Manchester, England Beit Din has ruled Mars candy treife, even though normative halakha follows the approach I outlined, and even though the (MO) London Beit Din ruled the candies kosher. The London Jewish Chronicle will have the story in tomorrow's paper.
[Hat Tip for this Update: London Jewess.]
UPDATE 5-18-07: What is the rationale for ruling Mars candy – including Snickers, Mars
Bars and Milky Way – kosher or treife? Remember, the candy's
composition changed recently when Masterfoods, the parent company, began using whey derived using animal rennet. London Jewess sends us, via email, the London Jewish Chronicle's report:
… Rabbi Jeremy Conway, director of the London Beth Din’s Kashrut Division, declared the sweets “100 per cent kosher”.
Rabbi Conway said the authority had been “aware for many years that
whey can be a by-product of cheese-making and that, even today, animal
rennet can be used in cheese manufacture. Since whey derived from this
source contains only trace amounts of rennet, it is permitted according
to halachah [Jewish law].”
“Regardless of the source of the rennet used in the cheese, however,
halacha allows the whey and its derivatives [such as lactose], as the
amount of rennet left in the whey is negligible, probably parts per million.”
…Rabbi Hillel Royde, of the Manchester Beth Din… told the JC: “We don’t
allow any dairy products without a hechsher [supervising authority
licence] and all snacks have to have a hechsher. There is so much available with a hechsher, why should we resort to looking for leniencies?”
Masterfoods … products on the London Beth Din’s approved list remain permissible….
Let me, Shmarya, put this debate into real terms for you. The haredim that
control the Manchester Beis Din do not care what the actual halakha is.
Using whey derived from animal rennet is not a "leniency," just as
using cheese so derived is not. The halakha is concerned about animal
derived rennet because, in the case of cheese (but not in the case of
whey) it is a considered a dvar maimid
, the thing that causes
the end product to exist. Yet, in halakha animal rennet – even
so-called non-kosher animal rennet – can be used to make cheese, as
long as some – even a minute amount – of the rennet used is from a
kosher source, as well. This is called ze ve ze goram
. Because cheese is a stand-alone product eaten alone, dvar maimid
applies. Whey is not a stand-alone product eaten alone, so dvar maimid
does not apply. This is the halakha.
When Rabbi Royde says, "There is so much available with a hechsher, why
should we resort to looking for leniencies?,” what he means is, "I
supervise other (more expensive) products that contain only
vegetarian-sourced whey. This level of kashrut is better than the
halakha requires. Why should you settle for regular kosher candy when
you can have 'glatt' kosher candy?
Again, the amount of rennet in the final product is in the parts per
million range. It is battel. Further, whey is a tasteless, inedible
product that needs to be flavored to be eaten. It is a byproduct of the
cheese making process and, until recently with the rise of the Atkins
and South Beach diets, was viewed as a waste product. High in protein,
low in human usage, whey was often dumped or used in animal feed. It
was used in food products, to be sure, but sparingly.
The London Beit Din is following the halakha as it has been for at
least 1000 years. The Manchester Beit Din is not. Period. End of story.
[Hat Tip: London Jewess.]UPDATE 5-20-07:
Reacting to immense pressure brought by vegetarians, Masterfoods
Great Britain has decided to return to microbial-derived whey. Ha'aretz
this month, the British-based company began using rennet in many of its
chocolate products including Snickers, Milky Way and Twix. The move
infuriated vegetarians and generated a flood of complaints.
Though the London Beth Din had issued a ruling that the products
would remain kosher, the announcement is welcome news for many local
chocolate lovers. According to reports, the Israeli rabbinate remained
wary of the new animal-derived ingredient and was considering revoking
its seal of approval if British firm Masterfoods, which produces the
chocolates, continued its plans.
"We made a mistake. We apologise," the company said in a statement
on its Web site. "The consumer is our boss. Therefore we listen to you
and your feedback. Therefore we commit to you today, that we at Mars UK
will ensure that a selection of your favorite brands Mars bars,
Snickers bars, Galaxy and Maltesers, will be suitable for vegetarians
in the near future. To this effect we are starting to change our
manufacturing process today."
Of course, Masterfoods
did not begin using "rennet" in its candy last month; it began using
whey derived from a cheese-making process that used animal rennet, as
opposed to what it had used previously and will be using again – whey
derived from microbial rennet in the cheese-making process. Other
ingredients are also animal derived or animal – milk, the whey itself,
cream, butter, etc. From a kosher perspective, the more proper term for
the "problematic" whey would be "non-vegetarian" or "non-vegetarian
That being said, from my (primarily) vegetarian perspective, I'm glad the whey is again microbial-derived.
[Hat Tip: Michelle.]