[Avodah] OU Mini Seedless Cucumbers

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Mon Aug 16 13:53:01 PDT 2021

On Mon, Aug 16, 2021 at 12:33:05PM +0000, Prof. L. Levine via Avodah wrote:
> However, the label also says, "No Wax Added" and "All Natural".
> Is the OU guaranteeing that that there is no wax added? And even if
> wax were added, is this a halachic problem?

I would think they are guaranteeing that nothing non-kosher were added.
Would they pull the hekhsher if the package lied, and the cucumbers were
made more attractive with a kosher wax?

As for the kashrus of those waxes, see this Star-K page (teaser below).

They say it's okay to eat waxed cucumbers, because it's okay to rely on

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Life isn't about finding yourself.
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   Life is about creating yourself.
Author: Widen Your Tent               - George Bernard Shaw
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

    Facts on Wax: Are Vegetables and Fruit Waxes Kosher?
    By: Rabbi Dovid Heber

    Waxes are derived from a variety of sources and are a cross combination
    of natural and synthetic ingredients. The most common primary wax
    ingredients are shellac, carnuba wax, or petroleum based wax. Less
    frequently used and more costly wax bases include beeswax and candelia

    Shellac or lac resin is a product that is imported from India and is
    used in waxes for citrus fruits, apples and pears. It is a product that
    is derived from the secretions of the tiny lac insect. The lac insect
    secretes "lac-resin" from its glands onto a host tree. The resin is
    then gathered, crushed, sieved, washed and purified into food grade
    shellac. Horav Moshe Feinstein, zt'l explains in Igros Moshe Y.D. II 24
    that shellac is Kosher. Rav Moshe zt'l discusses several reasons for
    this conclusion - most important the analogy between shellac -a
    secretion from a non-Kosher insect, and honey - a secretion from a
    non-Kosher insect. Honey is obviously Kosher and so is shellac.

    Carnuba wax is derived from palm trees and is used in waxes for
    stonefruits, and in a variety of vegetables. It too is a product that
    in and of itself presents no Kashrus concerns. However, carnuba wax
    manufacturers can possibly add stearic acid, an ingredient that can be
    derived from both animal or vegetable sources...

    Petroleum based waxes including paraffin, mineral oil, and polyethylene
    are inherently Kosher and Pareve. These waxes are commonly used on
    melons, stone fruits, and tropical fruits and in a variety of

    Other ingredients added to finished wax coatings include oleic acid,
    emulsifiers, and proteins. Oleic acid is almost always used in wax.
    This ingredient can be derived from animal and/or vegetable derivatives
    and is used in proportions that are possibly not batel. All wax
    manufacturers queried claim to use Kosher vegetable grade oleic acid.
    Emulsifiers are an important additive that allow oil and water to
    adequately mix. These, too, pose the same potential problems...

    There are two types of proteins used in the wax industry, soy and
    casein. Proteins are used as a thickener in lac-resin waxes and are not
    necessary in the more viscous petroleum based or carnuba waxes.
    Proteins present different Kashrus concerns. Soy protein is a soybean
    derivative which is generally Kosher and pareve certified. However, it
    is not Kosher for Pesach as it is Kitniyos. Does this present a problem
    on Pesach to those who wish to eat fruit which is coated with lac resin
    wax? The answer is found in the Mishna Berura (453:9) which states that
    Kitniyos is permissible if it was mixed with other ingredients that
    form a majority of the finished product...

    Casein is a protein derived from milk and is therefore dairy. Proteins
    are added at ratios as high as 1-1/2% (less than 1/60th). However, they
    can not be considered batel because this is the ratio in the "whole
    bowl of wax", i.e. while the wax is in a liquid state before
    application. After application and evaporation of liquids, the ratio of
    proportion on the wax remaining on the apple is much higher and is
    quite likely not batel. One company informed the Star-K that they use
    casein only on "citrus wax" i.e. wax used on fruit with peels such as
    oranges or grapefruits, "Apple Wax" uses soy protein. Another company
    claimed to use only soy protein and not casein protein. Nevertheless,
    one company did say they use casein protein on apple wax, thereby
    potentially creating concern that the wax applied would be dairy.

    What is the final verdict? Of course, the best case scenario would
    be to Kosher certify all wax manufacturers to assure the Kosher
    consumer beyond a shadow of a doubt that every component of the
    wax is 100% Kosher. Since this is not the case what should the
    consumer do? After analyzing all the information, we can arrive at
    the following conclusion. When one purchases waxed produce it is
    extremely difficult to know which company manufactured the wax and
    what raw materials were used. Yet the overwhelming evidence points
    to the facts that the raw materials used, both major and minor, were
    Kosher and Pareve. Although other possibilities could potentially
    exist, in circumstances where it is impossible to ascertain all the
    specific facts and the evidence heavily points to the Kosher arena,
    Halacha instructs us to follow the majority scenario. This concept in
    Jewish law is known as going after the majority . Based on current
    manufacturing procedures one therefore need not be concerned with
    the vegetable, petroleum, and shellac based waxes applied to fruits
    and vegetables.

    Can the Kosher consumer feel comfortable relying on this rule?
    Absolutely, as this rule is not new to Halacha. We go after the
    majority every time we drink a cup of milk - whether it's Cholov
    Yisroel or not. In order for milk to be Kosher it must come from a
    Kosher animal that is not a treifa....

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