Friday, February 17, 2006

that's ma hooch, that is!

A joyful cousin sent this rather serious link, asking, can vegans drink wine? It seems that some wines use eggs in processing. Refusing to panic, I've sent the link along to my beloved allergist, and asked him to shed some wisdom on the situation.

However, this is a tune I've heard before: maple syrup. Yup, maple syrup may have dairy used as a processing aid. As it is a processing aid and not an ingredient (i.e., it is used to prepare the syrup and then is removed), it does not need to be listed on the label. Nor is the use of the dairy in processing required to be noted on the label. But if it's removed, to what extent is this removal trustworthy?

This brings me to the murky world of kashrut. After my elder son had hives from homemade waffles and maple syrup (provided by a very anxious guest, alas), I learned that even a moderately dairy allergic kid can respond to the traces of dairy proteins left in the syrup. Some kosher certifications will list an item as 'DE,' or dairy equipment, if dairy is used in the process or on the machinery. Others will simply list the item as 'D' or dairy. Yet others will not mention the dairy issue at all, unless dairy is an ingredient. Which certifications do which? I'm still trying to figure it out.

When it comes to wine, well, it's messy, as you can guess. Here's a quote from the Vegetarian Journal:
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations (OU) stated that of their Kosher certified American-made wines do not currently use either gelatin, isinglass, or egg whites. They cannot vouch for the status of the international Kosher wines. The Orthodox Union also claimed that a wine could theoretically be certified as Kosher if it contained egg whites or if the gelatin were completely removed from the final product. They did not reveal any general rule for certifying wine as Kosher and claimed that each certification agency may use different criteria for certifying wine. Star-K, another certification organization, also showed no aversion to the use of egg whites. Kof K claimed that Kosher wine is not clarified with either gelatin or isinglass in America. Egg whites, a Kosher item, would be a permissible agent. Kof K mentioned that paper is sometimes used to clarify Kosher wine, as the paper adheres to the impurities.

Me? All I have to say is, thank God there's some good single malt in the cupboard. And if any of my readers wishes to break cover and run down the list of dairy notifying vs. silent Sam hechsherim (certifiers) for me, thank you, thank you. The Comments button awaits your wisdom. Yup. FALCPA or no FALCPA, a Mama's work is never done - but tonight, she rests regardless.

Shabbat Shalom, all.


Brittany, mamma to Talli said...

Ya, the joys of trace dairy and the reactions that come from it.

What a wonderful world it would be if most products were safe!

jgfellow said...

That has to be about the first positive thing that I have seen Ted Kennedy (D-MA) do. I'll have to bad-mouth him a little less in the future.

Abdur-Rahim said...

Never can tell what goes in what. You deal with a lot of cr*p. You go girl!

mama o' the matrices said...

courtesy of TR, here's another similar story...

Auntie A said...

Hey m.o.m,

The COR (biggest kosher certifier in Canada) is pretty good about labelling stuff DE. You can ask them what their criteria are for considering something DE vs. something that might contain trace dairy but not enough for it to be halachically milchig