I could spend all day just responding to texts, WhatsApp’s, emails, voice mails, voice texts, ok you get it! One of the more popular questions is, when a product is labeled with a “D”, is it actually dairy or just “DE”, dairy equipment.
For years, most kosher agencies didn’t use the DE designation for products containing pareve ingredients yet made on dairy equipment. Rather they just slapped on a “D”. To certify a product as DE they would have to guarantee the equipment was properly cleaned before use, which is difficult to do. Recently the OU started using the DE designation and when you call them with questions, are forthcoming with that information. Their consumer hotline is 212-613-8241.
Therefore, people just assume products are DE! They check the allergy warning, and if it doesn’t list dairy they assume its pareve. Spoiler alert! Many companies fail at accurately listing that information. I’ve had to convince manufactures to be in compliance! In addition, natural or artificial flavors can contain dairy and not be listed. Also, there are dairy ingredients that don’t sound like or say “milk” but definitely are, such as whey or casein.
Then I’ll get a question about a product I know has actual dairy and want to know if its DE. I ask them to send me a picture of the label (when asking a question, always send me a picture of the front label, back label including the ingredients and the hashgacha) and when it lists milk or butter in the ingredients I always wondered how they missed it?
This week Daf Yomi (Yoma 55b) answers the question! The gemarah quotes the opinion of Rav Yehudah that “les lei ki’reia” he doesn’t rely on “reading”! In the Bais Hamikdash he didn’t rely on signs, where there would be consequences if the directions weren’t followed. That made me feel much better! If, in our holy temple, people didn’t read the signs, I guess not much changed in 2021! All kidding aside it’s very important to always look for a hechsher and to carefully read the ingredients before making assumptions! If you have any questions, please call the DK office 214-739-6535 or message our new 281-606-5008 and we’ll be happy to help! Also, message that number to be added to the community deals and alerts WhatsApp group!
Enjoy and Have a Kosher day
Rabbi Sholey Klein