The vast array of drinks available to the consumer today is sometimes overwhelming. The gamut runs from pure water, extra pure water, imported extra pure water, etc. all the way to beverages with over 20 ingredients. Some of the problems that the kosher consumer must be aware of concerning drinks are: flavoring, oil, glycerol, glycerine, gelatin, grape juice, processing on non-kosher equipment
Sodas consist primarily of water and sugar. Colas for instance have up to 8 teaspoons full of sugar per can. The major thing that differentiates each soda is the flavoring. Unfortunately, the F.D.A. allows the bottling companies to put many flavors together under the title “artificial flavors.” Even if the label reads “natural flavors,” this can include grape juice, because grape juice is indeed a “natural flavor.” Also, orange soda often contains brominated vegetable oil, which acts as an emulsifier and gives the soda a thicker look, making it appear more palatable to the consumer. Although pure orange juice is truly pure, orange drink or fruit punch can contain many non-kosher additives. Most sodas today have some type of certification. Care must be taken to always make sure that the supervision extends to the local bottling plants. This certification, however, only covers part of the East coast, and has no relevance to the Welch’s soda sold elsewhere in the U.S..
Tomato juice occasionally is processed on the same equipment as clam juice, etc. and therefore requires reliable supervision.
Sodas may contain non-kosher glycerine, flavorings, and other problem ingredients. Although soda labels list fewer than 10 ingredients, there may be 4 times as many different ingredients in such products. In addition, imitation grape, black cherry, and punch-flavored sodas may contain non-kosher wine or grape juice. An additional problem is the use of castorium (derived from beaver sex glands) in some berry-flavored drinks. Therefore, sodas and other drink mixes should not be used unless kosher approved. This also applies to fruit-flavored drinks, whether canned, frozen or fresh, for non-kosher stabilizers may also be used.