What’s the Halacha regarding whether Jews may eat peanut butter without a Hechsher? If they buy peanut butter from gentiles, do they require a kosher certification to eat?

1 Answer 1


There are actually two questions here, though they are related:

A.) Do we recommend today that people buy peanut butter without a kosher certification?

Really not a good idea. Today's peanut butters usually contain non-peanut oils/shortenings, which can in turn be processed on lines with animal fats.

B.) Are peanuts subject to a special Talmudic law requiring Jewish preparation, as is the case for wine, cheese, or milk?

No way. Peanuts are a New World crop. Could they be subject to the rule of bishul yisrael, that foods which can only be eaten cooked and are served as a standalone item at a royal banquet, have to be cooked by Jews? I think peanut butter fails on most of those criteria pretty easily.

So we have two reasons why something would need a hechsher: there's a Talmudic law inherently requiring one, or we're just concerned about the way it's made in 2024. A good way to determine between those two categories is to search for "peanut butter" in the London Beth Din's Kosher Search (of course, this only applies to products sold in the United Kingdom).

  • Some peanut butters are determined "not kosher." Presumably they are processed on lines that also do not-kosher, or may include not-kosher additives.

  • Some are "approved, though not certified." The contemporary British rabbis did their homework about how they are made, and concluded it should be fine. But there isn't a rabbi in the factory. You won't find cheese or wine in this category, because by Talmudic decree, those need Jews involved in the manufacture. But "made by non-Jews, with their reputation on the line that the processing aids etc. are all kosher", is kosher enough for peanut butter.

  • And some are actually "certified", with the rabbis doing regular inspections.

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