Staying cool and kosher as the temperature rises requires an increased awareness and understanding of what may or may not be kashrus problems. Summertime products such as frozen desserts and yogurts, sodas, as well as other popular drinks and mixes usually contain ingredients that require supervision.

Ice creams, sherbets, frozen desserts, and ices contain a variety of emulsifiers, stabilizers, prepared mixes, and flavorings that require supervision. This is equally true of fruit ices and frozen ice pops which may contain a number of non-kosher stabilizers and flavorings. Sherbets and fruit sherbets contain milk by law and are not pareve. Ices also should not be considered as pareve unless endorsed as pareve on the product label. 

Fortunately, throughout the United States, many companies have come to the economic realization that “Going Kosher” would increase their marketability. Today, many national brands of ices, ice creams and yogurts can be purchased with reliable certification at local supermarkets.

Each retail package of ice cream, ice milk, or sherbet has an ingredient listing of all ingredients on the label. This includes the ingredients in the flavors or other additives, which is parenthesized in the listing. Some of these labels become very complex due to these flavor ingredients.

Using flavored ice cream as an example, following is a breakdown of the ingredients and their sources:

Milkfat and Nonfat Milk: Includes the dairy ingredients such as milk, cream, and/or the condensed or dry equivalent.

Buttermilk: Is sweet cream buttermilk which is liquid remaining from the production of butter. It provides a high quality source of milk solids not fat.

Sugar: Is liquid or dry sugar and can be from a cane or beet source.

Corn Sweetener: Is liquid corn syrup which is a derivative of corn.

Guar Gum: Is a stabilizer which is from the guar seed, a legume grown in India.

Mono-diglycerides: Is an emulsifier which is derived from cottonseed, palm, or coconut oils.

Polysorbate 80: Is also an emulsifier which is derived from cottonseed, palm or coconut oils.

Carob Bean Gum: Also known as Locust Bean Gum, is from the locust tree which is grown in the countries of Spain, Italy, and Greece.

Carrageenan: Also called Irish Moss is from seaweed, which is grown off the coasts of Massachusetts, Ireland, and France.

Natural and Artificial Flavors: In Vanilla flavored ice cream, this is the vanilla flavor which is a Category II flavoring made up of pure vanilla from the vanilla bean and an artificial vanilla flavor from vanillin.

Annatto Color: This is the color added which is an extract from the annatto seed, a vegetable source.