Kosher consumers seeking relief from the heat migrate to their local 7-Elevens, gas stations and other variety stores for ice-cold and refreshing Slurpees. With a Slurpee in one hand and a cell phone in the other, responsible kosher consumers flood our phone lines with the popular question: “Can I drink my Slurpee?”
Traditionally, COR and other agencies have published lists of kosher certified Slurpee syrups. Typically, kosher certification agencies certify only the listed syrups and not the stores that sell the Slurpees. This is certainly the case in the Greater Toronto Area. As such, once the syrups are unpacked and loaded into the machines, Slurpees can no longer be considered under supervision. The resulting question then becomes, “Can anything be wrong with unsupervised Slurpees?”
The first and primary point of discussion is that the COR Slurpee list, available on our website, covers only specified syrups manufactured by companies under certification. Other generic brands produce similar syrups that are not kosher certified. Although the store may advertise that they are selling kosher certified syrup, and presumably will not intentionally fool the consumer, the possibility exists that they may be, in fact, using generic syrup.
A second point is that stores may change the syrups that they use from one flavour to another without cleaning the machine in between. Even if the existing flavour is kosher, it is difficult to tell if the previous one was kosher. That being said, the small amount of potentially non-kosher syrup is likely batul (nullified) in the mixture and should not pose a halachic concern.
A final point that must be addressed is the status of the Slurpee machine that was used for a non-kosher flavour. The reality is that the machine does not become treif because in order for cold non-kosher syrup to be absorbed into the machine, it would have to sit still inside the machine for 24 hours. Our research has shown that this is not the case.
In summary, consumers must be knowledgeable as to which companies and flavours are kosher as per the COR Slurpee List. It is recommended that consumers ask to see the boxes of syrup that feed the machines so that the brand and flavour are verified as ones that are kosher certified.
Kosher consumers can check the list of kosher Slurpee flavours put together by the COR here.