By Chaim Ribiat, COR’s Israel Correspondent
On a hot summer day, is there anything more refreshing than an ice cold Slurpee? Slurpee, Icee, Frosty, Slush Puppies, Snow Cones, and Slushies are all cold and refreshing. But are they all kosher?
The basic components of these drinks are the same. They are composed of sweetened syrup, water or ice, and optionally carbonation. The same goes for fountain drinks and sodas.
In general, the main kosher concern is the flavoured syrup. The water and carbonation are kosher by their nature and do not pose a concern. The machines are normally filtered. The cleaning procedures in commercial settings alleviate concerns of cross contamination.
The flavoured syrups are prepackaged in sealed disposable boxes piped into the back of the machines or are poured from large containers into the top of the machine. These syrups can be kosher, kosher dairy, uncertified or even not kosher at all. These containers are typically stored in the back of the store. Kosher stores have a mashgiach to check the syrups to ensure that they are kosher certified. But what about the local 7-Eleven, gas station, or other non-certified establishment?
Of course, each consumer can always empower themselves to act as a mashgiach and go into the back of the establishment and verify first hand that the syrups are kosher certified. But what if this is not practical? In general, if a location is advertising a specific brand and flavour, in our experience, this representation is accurate. So for example, if a machine is advertising the Coke logo and flavour, you can assume it is Coke and as a result, kosher. But if a generic brand is advertised, and its kosher status is unknown, it is recommended that you verify the drink’s kosher status yourself. This basic rule is applied across Canada and the Unites States. Some kosher agencies, such as COR, publish kosher Slurpee lists, or even other beverage lists to assist consumers when they need to quench their thirst.
What about 7-Eleven in Israel?
COR has verified that 7-Eleven in Israel sells Coke products and they are certified by Rabbi Landau from Bnei Brak who is accepted by kosher agencies in Israel and aboard as a reliable kosher certifier.
But the Slurpee connoisseurs out there should be aware that Slurpees in Israel are more similar to American Slurpees than Canadian ones. American Slurpees are pumped full of air after they are frozen and melt immediately into about only 25% of the cup as opposed to Canadian Slurpees that have the carbonation dissolved into the liquid like standard soda. Even when fully melted, most of the cup remains full. In Israel only 2 sizes are available small and large. The large one is only 650ml (22oz) or a medium sized US cup. Sorry no Double Gulp size in Israel.
There is a secret hack for these Israeli/American Slurpees if you want to get a Canadian Slurpee vibe. Fill the cup half way with Slurpee and put a few ounces of fountain drink and mix it. Then continue filling the cup with Slurpee and mix out all the extra air. That’s much closer to a Canadian Slurpee!
Whether you are enjoying your Slurpee in Canada, the United States, or in Israel, just remember to enjoy. L’Chaim!