The OU used to put DE next to the OU symbol when a product was Dairy Equipment. Such a product can not be eaten with meat but can be eaten right afterwards (you don't need to wait the amount of time that you normally wait between meat and dairy). Why did the OU stop this? Wouldn't it make everyone's lives a lot easier?


I found a couple of statements about this on ou.org:

"To avoid confusion, the OU has chosen not to use the D.E. categorization. We feel that many people will not be familiar with the ramifications of this halachic status." (from a 1992 article, here)

"The OU doesn’t recognize a DE or “Dairy Equipment” designation, and so all products made on dairy equipment are considered dairy and must be labeled D, even if all their ingredients are pareve." (from a 2002 newsletter, here)

So I guess at some point they changed their policies, but then decided to revert back to their original rules.

  • 4
    According to the last paragraph of oukosher.org/index.php/common/article/…, if you contact the OU about a specific OU-D product, they will tell you whether or not it actually contains any dairy ingredients. I tried this and they confirmed that original flavor Oreo cookies have no dairy and are only "dairy equipment". This applies to other shapes (e.g. double-stuffed) but they said they could not comment on other Oreo flavors. But don't just take my word for it; call them yourself!
    – Sam
    Mar 11 '10 at 21:25
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    Note though that, because the OU's "D" means "dairy" or "dairy equipment", there is no guarantee, by reading the label, that the formulation of Oreos (or other things affecting their halachic status) won't have changed by tomorrow. I suggest you CYLOR regarding whether to rely in the long term on a statement of the OU that Oreos are "dairy equipment"....
    – msh210
    Jan 4 '11 at 4:02
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    Crackerjacks are also pareve. So are many popular OU-D cereals. These days, as a CYA maneuver, most ingredient panels will write in bold letters at the end "contains wheat, milk, and soy ingredients" If they don't write "contains milk ingredients", that means that this company is certain that someone with a milk allergy won't eat their product, and sue them for not warning the consumer sufficiently. So - if an OU-D product doesn't say "contains milk", and none of the ingredients are dairy, it's dairy equipment. Don't eat in same bite as meat, but no counting hours.
    – user1095
    Dec 18 '11 at 20:21
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    I have at times brought out oreos after a shabbos meal at my home and people were astounded that they are not actually dairy. I shudder to think what is actually in that creamy center :) Apr 4 '12 at 22:08
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    @Will just to clarify, one should not eat in the same bite or at a table set with meat dishes. The way to do it is to clear the table or move to the living room for desert etc. Apr 4 '12 at 22:09

The OU (Webbe Rebbe) told me in an email that:

"If the ingredients list dairy items it is dairy otherwise you can assume that the product is 'only' made on equipment."

So although they stopped with the OU-DE, it seems that they assume that consumers can read ingredients and figure things out for themselves.

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    I heard the same from someone familiar with the OU. The issue is that no one knows this, so they wait 5 hours before eating pretzels, etc. Also, its harder to check every ingredient than a simple DE. Not sure why the OU does this...
    – Ariel K
    Sep 21 '11 at 14:05

Was out shopping today and found OU-DE products in the store. Per the OU website they do have a DE designation that they currently use.

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