Recently my child's Doctor prescribed vitamin drops for my infant son. When I went to the pharmacy to fill the prescription the pharmacist said that the vitamin drops prescribed are Treif, and the Kosher drops are not covered by insurance. I had him fill the prescription as indicated by the Doctor and contacted the manufacturer to see if the vitamin drops are Kosher. The customer service rep at the vitamin company said that although they do not make any Kosher claims, there are absolutely no animal byproducts in the ingredients.

The ingredients are as follows. Vitamin A (as palmitate), Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid), Vitamin D (as cholecalcifeol), Glycerin, purified water, polysorbate 80, natural cherry flavor, methylparaben, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, potassium citrate, and caramel.

If there are no animal byproducts in the ingredients - perhaps it is not certified Kosher - however what else can possibly make these vitamin drops Treif?

  • an article I read recently might not give any answers, but help people see the questions oukosher.org/index.php/common/article/…
    – rosends
    May 22, 2012 at 14:27
  • Unless it's meat and milk, there is no prohibition of benefiting from non-Kosher animal byproducts. What is the concern?
    – Seth J
    May 22, 2012 at 15:17
  • The cherry flavor might have grape products in it. Specific fruit flavors are often made by combining different fruit ingredients.
    – Double AA
    May 22, 2012 at 16:18
  • 1
    @SethJ I don't understand your comment. Vitamins are ingested, so it's "eating" and not just "benefiting." If you mean that taking vitamins is not the normal manner of eating, bear in mind that the question relates to liquid vitamins, which are definitely quite edible. The glycerin actually gives it sweetness.
    – Dave
    May 22, 2012 at 17:53
  • Pardon my asking, but how is this not a personalized question?
    – EEE
    May 24, 2012 at 19:38

2 Answers 2


Glycerin and polysorbate are possible animal derivatives. The pharmacist may not have researched the sources of those ingredients for that particular manufacturer, and therefore considered them possibly treif. Or, perhaps he was reluctant to rely on a manufacturer's verbal assurance, which may not be completely accurate and is subject to change at any time.

  • However if the manufacturer confirms that there are no animal byproducts ever in their vitamins - is there anything else that can be Treif? May 22, 2012 at 14:55
  • @GershonGold what is the basis for relying on the manufacturer?
    – yoel
    May 22, 2012 at 16:23
  • 2
    A source for that would be invaluable. It seems that R' Feinstein z'l required as significant a body as the USDA to ensure manufacturer honesty.
    – yoel
    May 22, 2012 at 17:07
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    @GershonGold - of course they have a reason to lie. The kosher/vegetarian/muslim/hindu market is huge. There is little for them to lose by bending the truth, as these substances are chemically identical regardless of source, and no product liability issues (e.g. allergies) would result. At most it could cause some negative PR, which could easily be deflected by denying the rep's verbal statement, or saying that the rep was misinformed, or just apologizing and promising to keep a better eye on it in the future.
    – Dave
    May 22, 2012 at 18:20
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    @GershonGold In writing obviously carries much more weight, but you'd still need to consult your LOR as to whether it can be relied upon.
    – Dave
    May 22, 2012 at 18:35

What about the production process? Even if these pills are %100 Kosher, maybe something non-kosher was produced on the same production line before them. If the cleaning process between the two products is not sufficient for kosher standards, that could be a problem.

As an example, Trader Joe's Chocolate Chips recently changed their packaging process. Although the ingredients and manufacturing process remain the same, it is now certified dairy by the OK (and the FDA). see this article for more information.

Also, many manufacturers have lists of alternate products or product sources that they use, should they run out of the main one, or if they are able to get it for cheaper. You'd need to make sure all those were kosher as well.

  • I think in the case of pharmaceuticals we can generally assume that the equipment will be cleaned well between runs of different products.
    – Dave
    May 24, 2012 at 2:30
  • @Dave: Cleaned well does not always equal Kosher. If the process to produce the pharmaceuticals requires heat, than the line must be Koshered accordingly.
    – Menachem
    May 24, 2012 at 2:32
  • @Menachem But is it really dairy or just dairy equipment?
    – Double AA
    May 24, 2012 at 16:37
  • @DoubleAA, he wrote "is now certified dairy", not "is now dairy". If you're asking about the m'tzius, judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/ask :-)
    – msh210
    May 24, 2012 at 17:53
  • @DoubleAA: The article explains what changed. The packaging can no longer be guaranteed dairy-free.
    – Menachem
    May 24, 2012 at 18:56

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