The OK often receives questions from consumers about the kosher status of Slurpees. For example,
“During the summer (and even the winter) whenever we pass by a 7-Eleven store, my kids always want to buy Slurpees, but I always say no because I am unsure if they are kosher. I looked at the boxes with the flavors and noticed that many of them are produced by Dr Pepper Snapple Group and bear the OK symbol, so I am reaching out to you to find out the kosher status of these Slurpees. Thanks for your help!”
Thank you for reaching out. You are correct; many of the Slurpee flavors produced by Dr Pepper Snapple Group are OK certified. You can find several products under the following brands that bear the OK symbol: Canada Dry, Crush, Dr Pepper, Hawaiian Punch, IBC, Squirt, Sunkist, and Vernor’s. Keep in mind that every flavor dispenser is connected to a box with the syrup, which is usually located underneath or behind the machine. It’s important to always check the actual label on the box to confirm that the flavor bears the OK symbol.
Now, you may ask, what about the status of the Slurpee machine itself?
While the majority of the Slurpees in the USA are certified kosher pareve, there are a few dairy and non-kosher flavors out there. However, these flavors don’t cause the machines to become non-kosher because they are cold and usually not left in the machine for 24 hours (which makes the machine kavush). We know this because the compartment in the machine is so small that the Slurpee flavor is replaced after filling a few cups. Additionally, the percentage of dairy and non-kosher in these products is typically low.
While stores often keep the same flavor choices, they occasionally change the flavors and the machines are not typically cleaned when the flavor is changed. Since the amount remaining in the machine is very small, one can be lenient and consume the kosher pareve flavor even if the previous flavor was dairy or non-kosher.
Also, keep in mind that Slurpee is a registered trademark sold only at 7-Eleven stores. Other gas stations or convenience stores sell similar products but more caution is needed when purchasing from them. While 7-Eleven stores mostly use the main brands which are more likely to be kosher certified, other stores may use generic-brands that are not necessarily kosher certified. If the dispenser is shared among more than one flavor, and you cannot confirm that they are all kosher, it is recommended to run the machine until there is no residue of the previous flavor before filling your cup.
The OK recommends using a kosher certified location as the best option to purchase the icy treat, but there is room to be lenient even in uncertified locations as long as the consumer makes sure that the particular flavor is certified.
Enjoy your kosher Slurpee!
Rabbi Hendel is a member of the OK Kosher Vaad HaKashrus.