Kosherstarbucks.com give options of what to order based on different halakhic standards. They include the "No Utensils List" (CRC-recommended), the Regular list, and the Kosher by Ingredients list (Kosher but not necessarily certified; uses the guidelines set forth by Rabbi Yitzchak Abadi of Lakewood, NJ). Do any other Orthodox Rabbanim besides Rabbi Abadi recommend eating food that is only kosher by its ingredients? I saw once on the Internet that Rav Chaim Ozer permitted this, but I can't seem to find it now.

  • I believe it depends on the specifics. I have seen Rabbanim knowledgeable in Kashrus permit things based on labels; in other cases, they told me I needed to check if certain ingredients were plant or animal based; in others, they said I needed to get a hechsher.
    – N.T.
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 7:39

4 Answers 4


R. Moshe Feinstein allowed trusting ingredients lists in Igros Moshe YD 1:55 (in the context of whether one can trust that vegetable shortening is being used in a manufactured good, based on the ingredients, and not being substituted with animal fat).

Although, in Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:41 he writes that it is a 'davar m'chuar' (an ugly thing) for a kashrus agency to give a hechser to a product made on equipment which has been used for non-kosher, even if all the ingredients in the product are kosher.

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    I heard a lecture from Rabbi Harvey Senter (the head of the Kof-K) about 20 years ago, where he described a company that had prominently 100% vegetable shortening on its label. When he went in there, there was not 1 drum of vegetable shortening in the plant, lard (pig fat) was all there was. He asked them what happened, and they said that they changed their recipe to lard, and the government lets them use up the old labels because it is not an allergen concern. Caveat Emptor.
    – Yishai
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 21:57
  • @Yishai, some aspects of your comment were challenged in this post on Mail-Jewish: ottmall.com/mj_ht_arch/v62/mj_v62i20.html#CEL
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 15:28
  • @IsaacMoses, it is possible that Rabbi Senter was describing a story that happened to someone else. I won't vouch for my memory of 20 years ago (that is when I heard the lecture) on that detail. Other than that, it seems to be confirmed, no? Especially as regards to how to read an ingredient label.
    – Yishai
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 15:39
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    @Yishai We don't worry about miut sheino matzui, generally.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 0:38
  • @DoubleAA, Not so sure that applies in this case, but either way I have no idea what evidence supports a contention that this is a miut sheino matzui.
    – Yishai
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 2:16

My rav is "old school", involved in kashrus and would recommend items without hashgacha based on his knowledge and experiences. Some examples:

  • He will buy the less expensive store-brand sodas without a hechsher since the only problematic variable in it is flavorings- which he says ruba d'ruba are kosher ("No one makes grape flavoring out of grape juice anymore").
  • He has told me that all ice creams in the US are kosher including the mix-ins (with the exception of the obvious gelatinous gummies and hard marshmallows). "The problem with ice creams are emulsifiers. It used to be there were 12 emulsifier plants in America- some kosher, some not. Now there are only 3 and they all need to be kosher so they can sell to the major companies. Even the mix-ins are specially made for ice cream. No one wants to lose the major ice cream plants, so they are all made kosher."
  • He once asked me to visit a plant he gave a hechsher on. I found an ingredient which I could not verify its kashrus (I later found the kashrus paper out of order in my files). I called my rav: "Read the ingredients" "Ingredient A" "Nothing" "Ingredient B" "Nothing"... This went on for about 8 ingredients- "There's nothing in there." Eventually, these manufactured products are used by companies under the major hashgachos that rely on my rav's hechsher.

So effectively, a lot more people than we think eat products based on ingredients.

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    If you are comfortable doing so, adding in your Rav's name would increase the value of this post, as he is essentially the answer.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 20:27
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    Also, if the rabbi is comfortable having his name mentioned. Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 20:42
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    @Curiouser, I hear your point if the 3rd story was a standalone. But the first 2 stories are more consumer inclusive, he just hasn't made a list for public consumption like Rav Abadi (who I'm sure doesn't just say read the ingredients, but has specific guidlines).
    – YDK
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 1:22
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    @Curiouser: I know several OU Mashgichim, and have visited facilities on behalf of the OU myself. The OU does have a list of basic ingredients that they hold does not need a hechsher (in other words is acceptable from any source). However, every single ingredient (and substitutes that the company would like to use) in a manufactured product is submitted and approved before the product is certified. The Mashgiach's job is to make sure that the items actually being used match the approved items (we're not talking about initial inspections)....
    – Menachem
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 2:33
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    @Menachem That is exactly my point. Thus, it is irrelevant to the question about consumers of final products whether or not hashgachos themselves allow certain ingredients to those products without hashgacha.
    – Curiouser
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 2:44

Rabbi Eidlitz of kosherquest.org permits this for certain things, such as most juices.

His rulings are widely accepted.

  • I was asking for a klal, not just specific situations. Why does he pasken the way he does? Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 1:38
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    The number of things on R. Eidlitz's list has grown smaller and smaller over the years...
    – Curiouser
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 3:32
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    @curiouser has it? Maybe I'm better off not knowing! But seriously, go on please.
    – yoel
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 4:37
  • @AdamMosheh he feels that there's no problem of kashrus under any circumstances for many kinds of products.
    – yoel
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 4:38
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    @Curiouser: What are one or two of the things which have been removed from the list over time? Also — do you know when they were they removed? Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 8:44

Rabbi Moshe Heisler, shlita, former head of the Association of Kashrus Organizations (AKO), Kashrus Administrator for the Vaad of Denver (Skroll K) and a regional kashrus supervisor for other national kosher certification agencies, such as the OU, Star K, Chof K, and the CRC, twenty years ago told me that although there are some products for which the ingredients on the label are sufficient, there are many substances included in food, or which comes into contact with food, that are not listed on the label. More recently he expounded on the subject in an article for the Intermountain Jewish News.

Rabbi Heisler also gave me examples where there are concerns, l'hatchila (before the fact) which a supervising council must be concerned with before giving kashrus certification, which the consumer would not be responsible for if he learned about it b'dieved (after the fact). For example, when he started giving hashgacha to Coors for the O-U, his concern was that they would ship partially finished beer in railroad tank cars from Colorado to another plant in Tennessee. He was concerned that the tank cars might come back carrying some other type of food -- a major concern for the transport of food oils in tank cars. He was pleased to learn that Coors ships back the tank cars to Colorado empty. He said that this is not a concern for consumers purchasing beer since oils from the tank cars, if any, would be bottel v'shishim (nullified because of their relatively small amount). He noted, however, that there are kashrus organizations that imprerly rely on bottel v'shishim l'hatchila, and therefore one must CYLOR.

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