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.
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.
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.
Rabbi Eidlitz of kosherquest.org permits this for certain things, such as most juices.
His rulings are widely accepted.
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.