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. A reader in London 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 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.]