Thursday, February 5, 2009

Is it kosher?

I've taken to drinking Soy Milk in my coffee drinks, mostly because then I don't have to worry about whether I'm drinking it four hours post-meat meal or otherwise. This was a relief for Tuvia, who loves having coffee at work. Right? Wrong. I've always been conscious of the fact that  Silk Soymilk, which you can find at Starbucks and most other coffee shops, is OU-D, meaning it's Kosher by the Orthodox Union, but Dairy. A friend of mine wouldn't hesitate to order a coffee with soymilk at Starbucks after a meat meal and she was definitely kosher. So I never thought much of it. Obviously, the Soy Milk is produced on dairy equipment or in a facility where dairy is processed, and that's all there is to it, but I know plenty of vegans who live on Silk Soy Milk, so it's got to be legit. I mean, I love the Chocolate Silk!

So after thinking more about it, and needing some type of proof to back up my assumptions about why I feel okay drinking Soy Milk after a meat meal (and, to be honest, I rarely eat meat during the day, and mostly only on Shabbos or when I'm out with Tuvia), and so I found the Kosher Blog's write-up on this issue from July 2008.

The actual container of Silk Soy Milk says "It's Free! Silk Soymilk is free of lactose, dairy, cholesterol, gluten, eggs, peanuts, casein, MSG and worries." But with the OU-D label, some explaining is needed. According to the Kosher Blog:

In case you didn’t get it:
The D designates that the dairy-free product was heated on equipment also used for dairy and may not be eaten together with a meat product. It may be eaten immediately after a meat product, but not together [emphasis mine].
So there you have it. You can eat it immediately after a meat product, but not together.
I e-mailed the OU just to be 200% sure, and they confirmed that all Silk products are parve but made on dairy equipment. The e-mailer added the following:
You will not find the DE designation on a product certified by the OU. The OU designates dairy-free products made on dairy equipment with the ‘OU-D’ symbol and not ‘DE’ (Dairy Equipment). This due to the fact that the OU has seen that in industrial applications, very rarely is a proper cleanup performed after a dairy run before the Pareve run. As a result there is a problem of dairy residue entering the so-called Pareve product.
This seems reasonable to me, but I would not worry about it in the case of Silk products, since the company is adamant about its products being safe for those with dairy allergies, which requires an extremely high level of cleanliness. And of course, the OU says that you can have them after meat. So you can have them after meat.
Thus, I feel vindicated. If anyone has another take on the topic, please let me know. I know there are those who are HARDCORE with the kosher and wouldn't think of even looking into this and would rather err on the side of not even going for it, but, well, that's not my style. If it's good enough for the OU, it's good enough for me.

(PS: This is post 701! Wow!)