Star-K, a US-based kosher-certifying agency, is the bringer of bad tidings to Jews who buy Starbucks’ coffee. It says it can no longer vouch for the ‘kosherness’ of several flavoured beverages – and blamed the corporation for ending an arrangement it had with K-Star.
This, according to the the Star-K website:
Please be advised that Starbucks corporation has decided to end the expanded STAR-K kosher information program.
Consumers are advised that effective immediately the STAR-K can only recommend a limited number of drinks and can no longer vouch for the kashrus of many of the flavored items previously listed.
According to this report, Star-K for years kept a list of the drinks prepared at Starbucks that it called “kosher friendly”. The stores were not under the certifying agency’s supervision, but Star-K regularly checked in with the company to determine which items were kosher friendly – that is, contained no “objectionable ingredients”. In recent years, even Frappuccinos were considered OK for kosher observers.
But several years ago, Starbucks began selling sandwiches, including some made with bacon and non-kosher cheese. That brought up kosher issues, like whether the utensils used to make the coffee were washed with utensils that had been used with non-kosher items in the store.
Nevertheless, Star-K posted a new list of Starbucks drinks that can be considered acceptable for kosher observers. They include cafe Americano, espresso, iced caramel brulee latte and nitro cold brew served in paper cups.
Exceptions were also made for drinkers who buy their coffee at outlets that don’t serve meat or cheese items, or are traveling.
This is what Star-K “says about traveling:
When one is traveling, (traveling means when one is away from home and no other viable kosher certified coffee option is readily available), this creates a situation of sha’as hadchak – i.e., a difficult situation and one need not be concerned with the restrictions on the beverages listed below (based on the Psak of the Noda B’Yehuda quoted in Yad Ephraim, Y.D. 122-6, D’H’ Shelo’ it can be found in Shu”t Noda B’Yehuda Kama 36) . One does not need to be driving on the highway to fit into the category of traveling.
We cannot recommend syrups, sauces, toppings, powders, soy or almond milk or other items not listed below unless customer confirms that they bear a reliable certification.
A petition – “Make Starbucks Kosher Again” – points out that:
Orthodox Jews are no longer able to consume MANY of the Starbucks products we have been enjoying since this new program started a little over two years ago.
Please sign the petition to show that you care that it’s not Kosher anymore and would like this program to be reinstated.
So far, 8,043 have signed, with one saying:
For a company that closed down all their stores for 8 hours for sensitivity training when people want to use their bathrooms without making a purchase they can at least show a little sensitivity to Orthodox Jews who would like to be paying customers!