IF you were surprised to hear rumours over the holidays that a number of 7-Eleven Slurpee flavours had been certified kosher, you’re not alone … 7-Eleven was just as taken aback.
It appears the company received an email out of the blue last month from Melbourne’s Rabbi Meir Rabi of It’s Kosher stating that their lemon lime bitters, classic lime and zilched fruit salad concoctions had been granted hechshers.
Describing the email as “unprompted”, 7-Eleven’s Team Slurpee was unable to explain why the certification was granted and told The AJN, “That’s the extent of the communication that we have had with the authority in recent history.”
Rabbi Rabi, however, said “We are continuing our discussions with 7-Eleven Slurpee.”
When asked how he decided the Slurpees were kosher and to explain what steps he is taking to ensure they continue to be kosher, the rabbi, whose certification has previously been challenged by the Rabbinical Councils of Victoria and NSW, said, “As you know, foods are kosher if they comply with our traditional Orthodox, halachic guidelines.
“Before issuing our CoSKA [Community Service Kosher Advisory] we ensure that all ingredients are kosher, that all processes are suitable for kosher and that there is no risk of cross contamination from non-kosher foods or ingredients. We make all necessary evaluations and analyses and continue to monitor those for the duration of the CoSKA.”
Asked what measures were undertaken to ensure “all processes are suitable for kosher and that there is no risk of cross contamination”, Rabbi Rabi said he had “nothing relevant to add to his earlier comments”.
Kashrut authorities in both Victoria and NSW denounced the certification.
Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) president Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant told The AJN, “The RCV has contacted Kosher Australia and they have advised that they do not certify or endorse the kashrut of any Slurpees. Accordingly, the Rabbinical Council of Victoria does not recognise the It’s Kosher certification of Slurpees, and encourages the community to only rely upon reputable communal kashrut authorities.”
Sydney Slurpee fans, however, can have a slurp of the icy drink. Rabbi Moshe Gutnick of the Kashrut Authority said, “It is well known that neither the rabbinate in Victoria nor Kosher Australia in Victoria accept the certification of It’s Kosher and we concur with their view, so the certification of Slurpees by It’s Kosher is an irrelevancy. That said, the general drinks policy of the Kashrut Authority in New South Wales (based on that of the London Beth Din and others) allows for the consumption of Slurpees provided the drink policy guidelines as stated in our kosher directory are followed.”
Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) president Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant.