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Can one (who is not strict about cholov Israel) eat Dunkin' Donuts without a kosher certificate?

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If I may speculate as to the ops intention, I've heard rumors that all Dunkin donuts in NYC are produced under Rabbi Teitz's hashgacha in Elizabeth NJ and distributed around the area, so they are all kosher. –  Double AA Jun 28 '13 at 4:22
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@DoubleAA and gabriel -- if that's the motivation it should definitely be added to the question. Right now, to me, the question seems weak, hence my "why would you think so?" comment. With a little motivation, like if people do treat this as a given in some places, this could be a very useful question. –  Monica Cellio Jun 28 '13 at 14:21
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gabriel, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for posting this question here, since I suspect it comes to many kosher-eating Americans' minds! (I know it has to mine.) I hope you'll look around and find other content here that's to your taste, perhaps including our 278 other questions about kosher. Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. –  Isaac Moses Jun 28 '13 at 14:22
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@MonicaCellio Not sure if this is part of gabriel's thinking, but one might think that since all DD use the same recipe and some are kosher, it's just a matter of which branches have paid for supervision, or something. I've certainly heard that argument about various chains. –  Isaac Moses Jun 28 '13 at 14:23
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One more thing, gabriel, that I forgot to include in the welcome message: Please treat anything you learned here as if it came from a bunch of your friends. To determine what to do practically in your situation, I recommend consulting your rabbi. –  Isaac Moses Jun 28 '13 at 14:52
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2 Answers

About ten years ago, I learned the following, specifically about Dunkin Donuts (DD), from Rabbi Gershon Segal, a local rabbi who does local supervision, including of local DD branches, on behalf of local and national kashrut agencies. This is from my memory of what he said verbally back then, so contemporary reality in various locations may vary. However, I think this information is sufficient to indicate that you can't just assume that all DD are kosher without reliable inside information.

No, DD in outlets that are not under kosher supervision are not OK to eat. One issue is the provenance of the shortening. All of the branches use the same recipe to make the donuts, with all the same ingredients. However, you can have the same ingredient come in kosher and non-kosher versions.

In the region that Rabbi Segal works in, all DD branches get their shortening, in packages produced specifically for DD, from a certain factory. That factory produces shortening on two different production lines, one of which is dedicated to shortening, and the other of which is shared between shortening and lard. Shortening produced on the former line is certified kosher, while shortening produced on the latter line is halachically considered to contain pork residue and is therefore not kosher. The factory thus produces two versions of its shortening packages, with the only difference being that one bears a notice of kosher supervision, while the other doesn't. One of the things that kosher-certified DD outlets do differently from non-certified outlets is that they [certifiably] only use the kosher shortening. So, there is a real chance that the donuts in the other branches are actually not kosher, even though they are made with the same recipe.

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A reputable Kashruth agency gives certification to a shortening produced in the same factory as lard? Even with separate equipment on different sides of the factory, that seems a bit of a risky proposition to me. –  Seth J Jun 28 '13 at 16:51
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@SethJ, I don't remember the precise details of that point. The two lines might actually have been in separate buildings. –  Isaac Moses Jun 28 '13 at 17:04
    
What about non-donut items sold at DD, such as coffee beverages or the Coolatta? –  Adam Mosheh Jul 3 '13 at 1:21
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@AdamMosheh, I don't know anything specific about them, but I think an important lesson from this story is that with processed products, in general, there can be more kashrut complications involved in the ingredients than the casual observer would imagine. –  Isaac Moses Jul 3 '13 at 2:46
    
@IsaacMoses - I hear. –  Adam Mosheh Jul 17 '13 at 15:29
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Why would you assume it's acceptable? Most Dunkin Donuts chains have sausage items that could very well have been produced on similar equipment.

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This answer could be improved without the judging tone and with some sort of evidence to support the claim. Not saying you're wrong, but it is a pretty straightforward question, and I don't see why there's a need to jump on the OP. –  Seth J Jun 28 '13 at 2:10
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See my comment on the question –  Double AA Jun 28 '13 at 5:47
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