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topperarnold
11-11-2008, 07:37 AM
Ok. I'm officially confused. I've seen/purchased several products that the vegan community accepts as vegan (Silk Soy milk, nog, creamer) and it states on the packaging that no animal products are used, yet the kosher hechscher states that it is dairy? Huh? Does anyone know why? (I should know, being Jewish...my only guess is the Orthodox Union doesn't even want the appearance of dairy and meat being mixed...even if it doesn't come from an animal)

nauthiz
11-11-2008, 10:50 AM
Kosher status can be transferred by the equipment that's used. If the product is made on equipment that's shared with a product that does use dairy products, it's also considered dairy for the purposes of kashrut. I believe it's for the same reason that the prohibition on mixing meat and dairy extends to not serving or cooking them using the same utensils.

topperarnold
11-12-2008, 06:38 AM
Hmmm. That makes sense. I knew about the DE (dairly equipment) notation on hechshers...but this one clearly says dairy. oh well.

Miso Vegan
11-12-2008, 11:30 AM
Also, isn't it about the process, too? A rabbi asked me if Sweet & Sara marshmallows had a kosher symbol. When I asked her why a vegan product would need it ('cuz I r clueless) she said it had to do with the whole process. Plastics, hot water, mingling...

Which, frankly, is stoopid. They're marshmallows.

nauthiz
11-12-2008, 12:11 PM
It's not that it's stupid, it's just that there's a pretty fundamental difference between trying to maintain ritual cleanliness and trying to avoid supporting a particular industry.

Miso Vegan
11-12-2008, 01:47 PM
I stand by my assessment.

Ariann
11-12-2008, 02:29 PM
As someone who keeps kosher...

Hekhshers are required for all processed foods and all dairy or meat foods. They are not required for single-ingredient things like tea, coffee, agave nectar, fresh veggies/fruit, etc. Hekhshers (or hechshers) that say "meat" (which are complicated looking) or "dairy" (just D) denote that a product either a) contains red meat/fowl or dairy or b) is produced on equipment that has had (kosher) red meat/fowl or dairy production on it. Because many otherwise vegan products are made on equipment or in factories that also process kosher dairy products, they will have a hekhsher that indicates that with the letter D. In a kosher kitchen, all utensils, dishes, pots, pans, etc. that are used for dairy can only be used at so-called "dairy" meals: where red meat/fowl will not be served. I consider my kitchen "parve," (neutral) meaning that my cooking tools are not used to cook either dairy or meat, but because I buy products which have a dairy hekhsher on them and I don't separate "dairy" products from non-dairy products in cooking, my kitchen is actually a "dairy" kitchen and none of my plates/utensils/etc. can be brought to somebody else's meat meal. So if I'm going to eat at a house that keeps kosher and they serve meat, I cook in aluminum. In a different vein, I get rid of all my non-Passover food before Passover and buy new food even if some of that old food is theoretically kosher for passover because it gets "contaminated" by being open in the same kitchen as non-Passover food. You can of course make all of this very complicated if you want to.

Many non-veg*ns I know who keep kosher also wind up keeping a vegetarian kitchen because it enables them to only own one set of dishes and cooking utensils and it makes doing dishes easier. There are some people who are of the opinion that you can wash a load of "dairy" dishes in the dishwasher and then wash a load of "meat" dishes (or vice versa) without transference of the essential "meatiness" or "dairy-ness" of the dishes. However, others say you have to run the dishwasher once between those two cycles or that you can't do it at all. Then there's an issue (for some people) of putting "dairy" dishes on the same counter as "meat" dishes. So it becomes a somewhat complicated thing to really organize if you have a small kitchen.

lamb
11-12-2008, 02:42 PM
thank you for such an in-depth reply Ariann, I've always wondered at the specifics.

I have a stupid, picky question, just out of curiosity. I realize it's far more complicated than any practicing Kosher person would go, but:

If you think about counters having touched meat dishes or dairy dishes and if a person is strict about that, is there a spiritual cleansing or any kind or ceremony that can make a surface "neutral" again? If not, would a person parcticular about that install new counter tops when they move into a home since non-kosher people surely put all kinds of things on the counter when they lived there?

Just curious ;)

Also, it seems to me that if dishes that have touched meat in the past can never be used for dairy, the dishwasher would be the same, no matter how many times you ran empty cycles through. If untinsels can't be returned to a neutral state by washing, you wouldn't think the machine could either.

Or am I missing something?

I understand that nobody wants to get into a big theoretical debate about the complicated end of Kosher, I just couldn't stop the random questions today :rolleyes:

Ariann
11-12-2008, 07:47 PM
Lamb, we would DEFINITELY go that complicated, trust me. You haven't even scratched the surface of complicated.

Counters don't get "contaminated" by touching the dishes, but they would get contaminated by touching the actual product. So if your kitchen is big enough, you will definitely have one counter for dairy prep and one counter for meat prep. There is a cleansing you can do, which mostly just involves a really indepth cleaning and if the surface can withstand very high heat, you'll take a blow torch to it (like the oven). If the surface is very porous, though, it can't be cleansed and you would need to install new stuff (if you can afford to) OR, what many people do is they just cover every surface of their counters with some non-porous lining like aluminum foil. Many people do this before Passover, even if their counters are kosher, so that the pre-Passover food doesn't infect the Passover food.

Dishes that have touched meat can never be used for dairy unless they undergo a cleansing process similar to the one I described above (for dishes and utensils it involves being exposed to high heat through being boiled in a big pot for a long time). The other weird method things can be made kosher by is burying them in dirt for a while. Haven't tried that one myself yet. If you don't have a separate set of dishes for Passover you have to make your regular dishes kosher for Passover by going through one of these processes before the holiday starts. So a kosher home that consumes both meat and dairy will have four sets of dishes: regular meat and milk and Passover meat and milk. ETA: This is the normal situation in the U.S., but in Israel most people just have a regular set and they bring their dishes and utensils to a huge communal kettle in some designated place in town and boil whatever stuff they'll need to use for the holiday.

The washing machine is an iffy thing because it could be made of a supposedly non-porous material so that the contamination wouldn't spread, but this is a tricky issue that I'm glad my chosen lifestyle frees me from thinking about! Many reasonable kosher people have come to different conclusions about it. Most people I know of my socioeconomic class just keep plastic wash bins so that they can wash their dishes separately and that way stuff doesn't contaminate each other through touching the sink. People who are wealthy of course could have two dishwashers and I've seen several kitchens like that and that's of course what kosher caterers and hotels do.

Dandelion
11-12-2008, 08:13 PM
This must be why people who are jewish don't bat an eye when they find out i'm vegan. :silly:

lamb
11-12-2008, 08:26 PM
wow, thanks for all the information! I understand now that it's completely about the CONTACT, and not about the essence like I thought, like I thought that just the fact that plates had touched meat means they will forever have meatness. I heart learning :)

Ariann
11-12-2008, 09:13 PM
This must be why people who are jewish don't bat an eye when they find out i'm vegan. :silly:

For real, but veganism to me isn't about personal purity and kashrut sort of is (spiritual purity if not physical purity which is really impossible).

Dandelion
11-12-2008, 10:08 PM
For real, but veganism to me isn't about personal purity and kashrut sort of is (spiritual purity if not physical purity which is really impossible).
Yeah totally me too but it makes my veganism look like kid stuff. :D