As part of a kosher certification program, reliable kosher certification agencies ensure that their certified products are packaged and sealed according to appropriate halachic guidelines. This means that as long as the product remains in its original seals, it retains its kosher status. Once the seals are removed, the kosher status of the product can no longer be guaranteed unless they were removed in a kosher-supervised environment.
This brings up the question of purchasing seemingly kosher products from unsupervised shops; such as Baskin Robbins, Yogenfruz, Menchies and Starbucks as well as other unsupervised Ice Cream and Coffee Shops. Can there be a problem?
The simple answer to this question is yes. There can be a problem with either the products that you are purchasing or with the other products and equipment that may come into contact with the product that you are purchasing.
Since these establishments are not certified at the retail level and there is no mashgiach who will visit and check up on them, the consumer must independently ascertain the kosher status of the product in question. For example, at ice cream or frozen yogurt shops, many ice-cream flavours, ice cream cakes, chocolate syrup, sprinkles and cones may not be kosher certified. At coffee shops, flavoured coffees and specialty drinks may not be kosher certified. Relying on the attendant to provide you with answers is not sufficient. You must verify the kosher status of these items by identifying the kosher symbol on the original packaging of all of the ingredients.
Additionally, you must determine that the kosher product does not come into contact with non-kosher product or non-kosher equipment. This can happen at coffee shops where kosher and non-kosher products may be steamed on the same machine or at ice-cream shops where the same scoopers may be used without being properly washed in between.
COR cannot take responsibility for the kashrus of ice-cream shops and coffee shops that we do not certify. For specific inquiries, as well as a listing of COR certified ice cream and coffee shops, please search under “kosher establishments” on our website or contact our office.