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Ok, this is a little lighthearted but so be it. I am curious why I can't find the answer to this online.

I was once told by someone involved with a nationwide kashrus organization that Pepperidge Farm Goldfish are specifically not given hasgacha as a gezeirah, so that children won't think real goldfish are kosher. (This presumably isn't an ingredient or production issue, as 95 of their other products are under supervision.)

I've always assumed this was common knowledge and I remember talking with friends about it, because you can certainly buy Beigel and Beigel goldfish in Israel. But I was talking to my wife and the principal of our day school about it and neither one of them had ever heard this explanation.

I assumed "everyone" knew this but apparently not. Does anyone have a "source" for this? (E.g., an article in Kashrus Magazine?) Has anyone else ever heard this before?


I'll edit this, given Fred's correction below. Apparently goldfish, being carp, are indeed kosher, although please keep them out of my gefilte fish. So, forgetting my narishkeit above, I'm left wondering why those of the Pepperidge Farm variety aren't kosher.

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@Michael maybe they have not-kosher ingredients? –  Shmuel Brin Nov 1 '13 at 2:50
    
@Michael maybe they don't want to pay for a mashgiach to verify their kashrus? –  Double AA Nov 1 '13 at 3:07
    
Well, 95 of their other products are kosher, and I believe these crackers are one of their best selling products. I assume they'd be popular if an OU was on the box. But I think I just answered my own question. Namely, I think they have cheddar cheese in them. (Yup, just googled.) I assumed they were just crackers. Wow, do I feel stupid! But perhaps I can be forgiven because we don't eat them? :) So, how do I mark my own question as answered? –  Michael Nov 1 '13 at 3:13
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Welcome to Mi Yodeya btw :) –  Double AA Nov 1 '13 at 5:54
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Here is an article which seems to answer the question directly:

"While packaged goods companies say it is not expensive to reformulate, it can be tricky. Pepperidge Farm says it did not certify its cheese Goldfish crackers because a synthetic enzyme in kosher cheeses produces a flavor that is unacceptable to the company. "

Strangely enough, it seems that at some point, some were OU supervised (I am linking to a cached page because the regular page won't load).

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Thank you. You have amazing google-fu! –  Michael Nov 1 '13 at 3:16
    
The cached Foodergy site also claims the Original snack crackers are OU certified. –  Fred Nov 1 '13 at 3:29
    
I had erroneously assumed they were parve but made on dairy equipment. By the way, how are you guys finding these articles? I did try googling variants of this question before bothering other people and didn't find anything. –  Michael Nov 1 '13 at 3:30
    
@Michael I found foodergy by Googling: "pepperidge farm" "goldfish" "dairy". I found the NYT article by Googling: "pepperidge farm" "goldfish" "kosher". –  Fred Nov 1 '13 at 3:36
    
I did the same query without the quotes and didn't find anything useful. Thanks for the reply! Wish there was some way here to thank all who took the time to respond. Looking through some of the questions here, it seems like a very heimish website and a kiddush HaShem. –  Michael Nov 1 '13 at 3:42
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Regarding the question of whether eating kosher crackers shaped like non-kosher animals might be in some way undesirable, see this question.

Goldfish, a type of carp, is listed as kosher by the CRC, so the reason that you heard for lack of certification does not seem tenable or legitimate. As you mentioned, there are fish shaped kosher crackers made by בייגל בייגל in Israel.

Regarding your last question, a New York Times article from 1989 claims:

Pepperidge Farm says it did not certify its cheese Goldfish crackers because a synthetic enzyme in kosher cheeses produces a flavor that is unacceptable to the company.

I don't know how the status of the cheese crackers might relate to the "Original Goldfish Baked Snack Crackers", but the ingredients list for that product indicates that it contains milk. I don't know if Pepperidge Farm has reason to avoid using kosher milk in these crackers, but I doubt it.

I instead suspect that the various Goldfish products are run on the same production lines, so that if Pepperidge Farm chooses to use non-kosher ingredients in any of those products, all of the Goldfish products could potentially be contaminated and would therefore not receive kosher certification.

It should be easy enough to verify the actual reason behind the lack of certification by contacting the Orthodox Union, which certifies other Pepperidge Farm products, or by contacting Pepperidge Farm by phone or via their website.

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Thanks Fred! I mentioned Beigel & Beigel goldfish in my question above. Among my few discoveries when I googled all of this that Walmart sells Beigel & Beigel parve crackers. Who knew? :) –  Michael Nov 1 '13 at 3:33
    
@Michael Indeed, you did! I'll edit that now. –  Fred Nov 1 '13 at 3:37
    
I'd be surprised if the OU told you that. They rarely say anything but "not recommended". –  Double AA Nov 1 '13 at 3:51
    
@DoubleAA, do you mean me? The story I heard wasn't an official statement from any organization. I know someone who worked for another supervisory organization (not the OU) and he told me this over his Shabbos table. The truth is I never knew until today that goldfish are kosher. I must have missed shiur that day. (But has anyone actually ever eaten one? They must be awfully hard to fillet.) –  Michael Nov 1 '13 at 4:43
    
Oh, I see -- you're referring to @Fred's comment about calling the OU. True enough but I'm imagine Pepperidge Farm's customer service could connect me to someone with direct knowledge of kashrus issues. Many huge food companies have a dedicated person you can ask about this. (The woman who did this for the Jello company wrote a funny article for the NY Times years ago about her job explaining why there is a "k" on a box of gelatin, relying on rather old heterim from Europe that don't exactly apply in the United States.) –  Michael Nov 1 '13 at 4:48
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