General Commonly Asked Questions
Cadbury’s Chocolate must be listed on the website AND be made in SA / Swaziland. Cadbury UK is not a kosher certified facility.
All chewing gum manufactured by Mars Wrigley in the following factories are kosher certified by Kosher Federation of the UK:
- Poznan Poland
- Beishem France
- Plymouth UK
Only when bearing a reliable hechsher on the packaging.
The OU confirmed that Nature Valley Granola bars are only kosher certified when bearing the OU logo, even when produced in Spain.
The following Lindt Chocolate slabs manufactured in France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy are kosher Dairy.
These are the ONLY Dairy slabs approved by us.
- Swiss White Chocolate
- Swiss Classic Milk Chocolate
- Swiss Dark Chocolate
- Excellence Extra Creamy Milk
- Excellence Mild 70% Cocoa
- Excellence 78% Cocoa
The following slabs manufactured in France, are the ONLY slabs which are Parev:
- Excellence Dark Chocolate 70%
- Excellence Dark Chocolate 85%
- Excellence Dark Chocolate 90%
- Excellence Dark Chocolate 99%
We unfortunately have no information on any other Lindt products.
Only the original Kikkoman soya sauce is kosher without a stamp if it’s made in Singapore.
Other Kikkoman products from Singapore are NOT kosher certified (ie. Less salt soya sauce, low salt soya sauce, less sodium soya sauce, low sodium soya sauce, sushi and sashimi soy sauce and teriyaki sauce).
All other Kikkoman products require a reliable kosher logo.
The KLBD have a great explanation on their website as follows:
“A company which is kosher certified has regular factory audits by highly trained Rabbinical Inspectors and they are bound by a legal contract to conform to suppliers and processes agreed with the KLBD. Many certified products bear the KLBD logo on the packaging but there are some certified products which don’t have the logo. This is a decision taken by the company and does not undermine the kosher certification in any way.
Products which are approved for listing in the guide have been investigated by our food technologists and approved based on information received from the manufacturers. The investigations are carried out mainly by correspondence and cover ingredients, processing aids and shared use of manufacturing equipment.
It is preferable, whenever possible, to buy products with a hechsher.”
There are a variety of reasons why a product may sometimes appear without our hechsher as follows:
- Company policy doesn’t allow for additional logos on their packages.
- An error on the design packaging.
- The product without the hechsher is manufactured in a non-certified plant.
- The product without the hechsher is an old batch that was manufactured prior to certification.
If they are raw, dry, with NO additives, they would be okay without a hechsher. However, certain grains still require further checking. (See Fruit & Veg checking guide)
We cannot comment on the kosher status of coffee shops that are not under our certification, however, plain coffee or tea in a paper or glass cup would be acceptable. Milk must be kosher certified, and any plain sugar can be used. Sweeteners require kosher certification, excluding pure Xylitol, which is okay without a hechsher.
Plain coffee grounds (including pods) and freeze-dried coffee (including Decaf) with NO flavourants and NO additives do not require a hechsher.
Black and herbal teas are fine to use as long as they have NO flavourants and NO additives. Eg, Chamomile, Green Tea, Mint (leaves) tea, Ceylon etc..
Citrus fruits often have “scale insects” on the peel. Usually measuring about 1.5mm, these black or brown deposits generally come off when pressing a fingernail against their side. Even if you don’t eat the peel, the insects often come off in the process of cutting, peeling or squeezing.
If citrus is not properly cleaned before the juicing process, there is a high chance of the scale insect becoming dislodged from the skin during squeezing and falling into the juice.
Based on this, we recommend that one should not buy freshly squeezed citrus juice without a hechsher.
Industrial citrus juice, which has cleaning procedures to keep a high quality final-product, contains no scale insects and is fine to consume.
All still and sparkling water is okay to drink as long as there are no additives and flavourants. However, soda water differs and requires kosher certification.
Technically raw unprocessed honey doesn’t require certification. However, honey is often adulterated with other syrups (despite the labelling) and therefore it is not recommended unless you know the source of the honey or it has a hechsher.
Sweeteners require kosher certification, excluding pure Xylitol, which is okay without a hechsher.
Any plain brown or white sugar produced in South Africa is fine to use as all are certified. Coconut Sugar does not require a hechsher.
Ready-cut fruit and vegetables may be bought from any reputable supplier, without kosher certification.
NB: When bought from Pick n Pay, Woolworths, Shoprite Checkers or Food Lovers Market, this includes “sharp” items such as onion and radish. When bought from suppliers other than those listed above, one should avoid “sharp” items.
The above excludes leafy vegetables which require checking for infestation and crushed garlic (even without any additives), which requires kosher certification.
- Baby Cauliflower / Caulilini: Can be checked using the Micro-Cloth method.
- Baby Broccoli / Tenderstem Broccoli: Can be checked using the Micro-Cloth method.
- Broccoli florets: May not be used.
- Frozen Cauliflower: May not be used.
Fresh Edamame Beans can be used without checking.
Frozen Imported Edamame Beans would need a Hechsher as they are often parboiled before freezing and we would require knowledge of what else is produced and boiled at the same facility.
Fresh / Frozen blueberries do not require a hechsher.
Frozen mulberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries require a hechsher.
In general, tinned products require a reliable certification. In addition, even if they come with a hechsher, sometimes further checking is required for infestation. (See Fruit & Veg checking guide)
If they are raw, dry, with NO additives, they would be okay without a hechsher. However, certain legumes still require further checking. (See Fruit & Veg checking guide)
Unfortunately the reality is that it is a lot more costly for companies to slaughter and process kosher chickens and meat vs non-kosher chickens and meat, both locally and internationally. This is due to a number of reasons; the small scale production (i.e. in SA, 500,000 kosher chickens are slaughtered per YEAR vs. 3 million non-kosher chicken per DAY), the extra cost to shecht by a qualified Shochet, supervise salting and kashering and the extra labour required in plucking without a hot water plucking machine (as required by Halacha).
As Kosher SA, our role is to provide certification and oversee that the highest kosher standards are being met. We charge a minimal fee for the inspections in the facilities and we do our utmost to ensure our costs are kept very low, but at the end of the day we do not control the price of kosher chickens or meat on the shelves. This is entirely up to the manufacturers and retailers.
All alcohol produced in SA requires a reputable hechsher. The reason being is that alcohol tankers are often shared with grape / wine products or derivatives.
Please see our general policies on imported alcohol below.
Since the majority of alcohol is not produced in South Africa, we rely extensively on information from other kosher agencies worldwide.
For a more extensive list please see the following:
All unflavoured beer that comes from major suppliers are approved (including Alcohol-Free variants). Craft and flavoured beer requires a reputable hechsher.
Requires a reputable hechsher, as these are grape-based.
All unflavoured gin produced and bottled outside of SA is kosher, with the exception of any gins that contain grapes, wine, milk, lactose or whey. All flavoured gins require kosher certification.
All unflavoured rum (including Dark Rum) produced and bottled outside SA is kosher unless they are aged in sherry or wine casks.
All unflavoured tequila produced and bottled in Mexico is acceptable in blanco, anejo and reposado varieties unless they are aged in sherry or wine casks.
All unflavoured vodkas produced and bottled outside SA are kosher, with the exception of any vodkas that contain grapes, wine, milk, lactose or whey. All flavoured vodkas require kosher certification.
Requires a reputable hechsher. Vineyards may produce both kosher and non-kosher varieties, so please check for the hechsher on the bottle.
- Scotch – Our policy is that all Scotch whisky that is produced and bottled in Scotland is approved. **
- American – Our policy is that all American whisky that is produced and bottled in America is approved. **
- Japanese – Our policy is that all non-blended Japanese Single malt whiskeys are approved.
- Irish – Our policy is that all Irish whiskeys that are produced and bottled in Ireland are approved. **
- Indian Whiskey – Not approved.
** Sherry / Port / Wine Casks – However, there are some opinions that are stringent and do not accept whiskeys that are aged in port, wine or sherry casks.
All pasta produced in Italy with the ingredients being only durum wheat semolina and water, is approved as kosher even if it does not have kosher certification on the packaging.
All other pastas can be queried on a case-by-case basis.
Kosher consumers may purchase kosher frozen fish species (even without a hechsher) from one of the large companies e.g. I&J, Sea Harvest, Atlantic, even without skin on, however, this would not be considered mehadrin. All processed fish e.g. fried fish, chopped herring, snoek salad, smoked fish etc. bearing a reputable hechsher on the packet may be consumed as kosher.
Kosher fish is halachically defined as having fins and scales. When purchasing from a non-kosher certified fishmonger, please remember the following.
It is not sufficient to go by the name of the fish alone and ideally you should check as follows:
- You should see skin on at least one side of the fish and check for kosher scales.
- Not all scales are kosher. Kosher scales come off the fish easily and without breaking the skin when the fish is brushed or when you run your fingernail along the side of the fish in the opposite direction to the way the scales are pointing.
- If the scales need an implement to remove them or if they cannot be removed without damaging the skin of the fish they are not kosher.
- The fish does not have to be covered with scales, but you have to find some scales on the fish.
There are thousands of varieties of fish and it would be almost impossible to list them all. To assist the kosher consumer, we have listed the most popular species which are commonly found in South Africa.
Fresh and Frozen Fish
- Euthynnus Tuna
- Kingklip (see more detail below)
- Red Roman
- Seventy Four
- Skipjack Tuna
- Stock Fish
- Stump Nose
- Tongol Tuna
- Yellowfin Tuna
Smoked Fish – (Only with a reputable hechsher)
Even though fish is considered Parev, Jewish law forbids the cooking, serving and eating of fish and meat together.
Published with permission from the SA Jewish Report
ON SCALE OF PROBABILITIES, KINGKLIP SHOULD BE kosher The perplexed question as to whether South African kingklip (Genypterus capensis) is kosher or not, was aired and dissected in detail by the head of the Cape Beth Din’s kashrut department, Rabbi Desmond Maizels at a meeting in Johannesburg recently. For fish to be declared kosher, it had to have scales…
CAJE (the Johannesburg College of Adult Jewish Education) hosted Rabbi Maizels, rabbi of Camps Bay Shul in Cape Town, dayan of the Cape Beth Din and head of its kashrut department, a mohel and shochet, to speak on the vexed issue.
Rabbi Maizels said he had been surprised at being invited to speak on this subject, as when he prepared for the talk, he made several overseas enquiries and had invariably been referred back to either Rabbi Yossi Salzer or Rabbi Yitchak Levenstein, who are both based in Johannesburg.
Said Rabbi Maizels on “the kingklip issue”: “According to the Torah, the requirement for a fish to be kosher is that ‘everything that has a fin and scale in the water is kosher’.” The rabbis realised that if fish have scales, then they have fins, and so scales become the main determinate.
The word “scale” is in the singular, which implies that in fact only one scale is necessary in order to make a fish kosher. Therefore, it is not a requirement for the fish to be covered with scales.
One major problem with kingklip, is that the scales are very difficult to find. There are three reasons for this: the scales are small and very thin; a very thin skin covers the scales; and the kingklip skin is covered with a thick slime; the latter prevents the fish’s skin from being ripped as it swims between rocks.
Scales can also always be found on the kingklip’s cheek, if not on their bodies, which holds true for many other fish as well. But some antagonists claim that the scales are too thin to be considered scales as such. However, the Torah does not specify the necessary size of the scale, so even if the scale is really thin, as long as it is present and can be seen with the naked eye, the fish is still considered to be kosher.
Scientifically, fish scales are divided into four types, namely the cycloid and ctenoid scales, which are generally kosher, the ganoid scales, of which some are kosher and some treif, and lastly the placoid scale, which is definitely treif.
After a sample of the scale was sent to an expert, the scales of a kingklip were found to be cycloid scales, which are known to come off easily.
Another kosher requirement is that one has to be able to remove the scales without damaging the fish’s skin. Some people viewed this as a problem, as they believed the kingklip’s scales to be an outgrowth of its skin. However, this is not true, and the scales come off without any damage to the fish.
There are four claims that have been made against kingklip. Firstly, there is the worry of “sichsuch”, that the fish is not kosher because if you run your finger nail one way over the kingklip it is smooth, and if you run your finger nail the other way, your nail still does not get caught on the scales.
“Sichsuch” is not required by all rabbis and is not a requirement in Shulchan Aruch. Secondly, some are concerned that the kingklip’s scales do not fulfil the same function as a klipah (shell or skin), as on a fruit or nuts, which brings up the question of whether scales have therefore to protect fish or not. The Ramban says that scales help to rid the fish of impurities in the body, just as kidneys do with humans. Humans can survive with a small percentage of one kidney functioning, and so fish can also survive with few scales.
This means that scales – according to the Rambam – protect fish health-wise. Thirdly, people believe them to be non-kosher because their scales are soft and do not resemble fingernails – a description used by some commentators. However, the Torah does not say that scales have to be thick. Finally, there is the concern that there is a large resemblance between eels and Kingklip, and because all eels are non-kosher, by inference, the kingklip must also be treif. However, the two do not really look alike. (Eels look like snakes, while kingklips look more like traditional fish).
A similar problem – mentioned in the Talmud – was once brought to Rav Ashi, but he only looked at the scales, not the similarities, and pronounced that fish kosher.
Rabbi Bakshi Doron, former Israeli Sephardi chief rabbi, summarised the kashrut problem with eels saying that since many more species are non-kosher than kosher, it could lead to confusion, hence all should be regarded as treif.
Within the animal kingdom, there are categories and sub-categories into which everything is divided, namely by: kingdom; phylum; class; order; family; genus; and species.
The eels and kingklips are in two completely different orders. The eel is in the anguilliformes order, while the kingklip is in the perciformes order. So they are not “related” at all.
According to the South African Beth Din, the kingklip is kosher. However, since there are some who still view kingklip as being “problematic”, it has been classified as “not Mehadrin”. For those who are mehadrin, the question of whether utensils that have been used for kingklip are kosher or not, depends on their personal rabbi’s opinion.
Rabbi Maizels listed several fish fromaround the world which had “traditionally” been accepted as treif, but on re-examination by kashrut organisations like the OU over the past six years have been found to be kosher.
He firmly believes that in time to come the kingklip would too enjoy universal acceptance. The only reason why kingklip should be regarded as treif”, Rabbi Maizels concluded, “is because it is outrageously expensive!”.
MEDICATIONS, SUPPLEMENTS & FORMULAS
Collagen requires a reputable hechsher. We certify a fish-based collagen called Colla-Genie. We are not aware of any suitable kosher bovine collagen currently available in South Africa.
There are 3 flavours (strawberry, vanilla & chocolate) of Ensure that are now kosher certified by the OU.
When manufactured in Denmark, production date from 1 March 2022 and onwards are OU kosher. Older stock produced in Zwolle Netherlands is OU kosher from any date.Whilst the OU do not formally certify Ensure for Passover, they allow its use on Passover for those who require it.
Pediasure is now being imported from Abbot Singapore and is not kosher certified. Please consult a medical professional and/or Rabbi for further assistance.
Older stock produced in Zwolle Netherlands is OU kosher from any date, however, one may need to search through many tins to find it.