Woodcliff Lake, NJ…Although coffee was always considered one of the “safer” beverages to consume for people who observe kosher, it has become much more challenging in recent months, leading rabbis told a convention of Agudath Israel of America this past weekend (November 13-16). The latest culprit is none other than the popular Keurig machines used by large numbers of kashrus observers in their homes and offices. According to Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of the Orthodox Union (OU) Kashrus Division, certified kosher K-Cups used in the machines no longer have the OU symbol on the individual cups although they remain on the boxes that they come in. Thus, a kosher consumer who randomly finds a K-Cup without a box may inadvertently be using a non-certified K-Cup causing one rabbi to suggest that the user of such a Keurig machine might have to refrain from using the machine for 24 hours, run a kosher K-Cup through the machine and even kosher the two metal pins. Many ordinary consumers attending the convention were outraged at the Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. for removing the symbols from the individual cups.
Starbucks fans were also warned to avoid stores that sell other items besides coffee as well as kiosks in many malls that may share dishwashers with other non-kosher franchise brands. Rabbis speaking at the convention of Orthodox Jews from around the country explained that some of the equipment, glassware and other utensils could be contaminated by being cleaned with non-kosher versions in a Starbucks store. They warned consumers to be aware of the environment where the coffee is being purchased.