Consumer Questions for the OK – Chanukah 5768

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Dear OK, Do pretzels need to be Pas Yisroel?
Rabbi Hanoka responds:
According to one opinion, small hard pretzels that do not have the appearance of bread are required to be Pas Yisroel, but according to another opinion they are exempt from the laws of Pas Yisroel because they do not have the appearance of bread. In the case of these small pretzels, one should ask a local Orthodox rabbi. All poskim agree that large dough pretzels (i.e. soft pretzels) are required to be Pas Yisroel. It OK’s policy that for those who are makpid on Pas Yisroel all pretzels must be Pas Yisroel.

Dear OK, Can a baby, who is nursing and eating solid foods, eat meat (i.e. chicken soup) right after nursing?

Rabbi Hanoka responds:
A mother’s milk is actually pareve, but may not be consumed together with meat because of the prohibition of Ma’aras Ayin (improper appearances). However, the nursing child may eat meat or chicken immediately after nursing.

Dear OK, If a product has a warning that it may contain traces of milk, does that mean it is considered a dairy product?

Rabbi Hanoka responds:
Since the warning is an allergy warning, it only refers to trace amounts of dairy particles that might be in the air (at the production facility), which are a problem for someone with a severe allergy to dairy products. As long as the product has a reliable kosher supervision that certifies the product as pareve, a consumer can rest assured that it is indeed a pareve product without question.

Dear OK, If you brush your teeth after eating meat, is your toothbrush fleishig? 

Rabbi Hanoka responds:
A toothbrush can only become fleishig if you brush your teeth with boiling hot water and have pieces of meat stuck in your teeth. Any water that is below boiling temperature cannot render the toothbrush fleishig.

Dear OK, Do tea bags need kosher certification?

Rabbi Cohn responds
Plain tea does not require a hechsher, since it does not have additives. However, any flavored tea does require a reliable hechsher, because the additional ingredients may not be kosher. Many flavorings used in flavored teas are made from dairy or non-kosher ingredients.

Dear OK, Do potato chips need to be Bishul Yisroel?

Rabbi Teitelbaum responds
While the OK requires potato chips to be Bishul Yisroel, many poskim are meikel (lenient) on this requirement since potato chips are a snack food. This leniency does not apply to Pringles potato chips, which are first made into mashed potatoes (a choshuv, non-snack food) before being formed into potato chips.

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