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 sealed packaging, 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 ice cream and frozen yogurt shops such as Menchies, Yogurty’s or Dairy Queen. Can there be a problem from a kosher perspective?
The simple answer 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 as well as the various components. For example, at ice cream or frozen yogurt stores, many ice-cream flavours, ice cream cakes, chocolate syrups, sprinkles and cones may not be kosher certified — flavours are highly kosher sensitive items. You must verify the kosher status of these items by identifying the kosher symbol on the original packaging of all of the ingredients. Some stores may provide a book of kosher certificates for consumers to peruse, but this is not sufficient. How do you know that the product which you are buying definitively matches up with a kosher certificate in the book? The answer is: you cannot. The only way to ensure this is to verify the kosher symbol on the original packaging of the product that you are purchasing or the various components if there are more than one.
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 ice-cream shops where the same scoopers may be used without being properly washed in between or frozen yogurt shops where machinery is shared between flavours that are being represented as kosher and non kosher.
COR cannot take responsibility for the kashrut of ice-cream or frozen yogurt shops that we do not certify. Canadian law states that it is an offense to use the word “kosher” unless it complies with the standards of halacha. If the word “kosher” is written in a store, you should ask who is standing behind this representation — which certification body. A book with a compilation of various kosher certificates is not sufficient.
For a list of COR certified establishments, please click here.