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  Non-kosher Food Additives  

What are "natural flavors"?

The exact definition of natural flavorings and flavors from Title 21, Section 101, part 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations is as follows:

  "The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional."

In other words, natural flavors can be pretty much anything approved for use in food. It's basically impossible to tell what is in natural flavors unless the company has specified it on the label. A few of the vegetarian & vegan-oriented companies are doing this now, but the overwhelming majority of food manufacturers do not.


The following is a list of common food additives which are, or may be non-kosher.


· Acetic Acid Esters of Glycerides of Fatty Acids - Fats may be derived from any number of animal and plant sources. Any food with a simple listing of "fats" on the ingredient list, without specification, should be considered non-kosher..

· Acetoglycerides - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Acetoolein - Acetoolein may be obtained from animal fats which may include non-kosher fats.

· Acetostearin - Used as a protective coating for foods, Acetostearin is one of the glycerides, and may be obtained from non-kosher fats.

· Albumin - derived from bird eggs, animal blood.

· Alpha Amylase - hog pancreas. Used in flour to breakdown any starches

· Ambergris - whale intestine. Used as flavoring (also used in perfume).

· Ammonium Oleate - Dervied from Oleic Acid, it is used as an emulsifying agent - may be obtained from non-kosher fats.

· Amylase - Amylase is a digestive enzyme, often added to food supplements. Amylase may be derived from hog stomachs. Only vegetarian amylase is kosher.

· Animal charcoal (bone black) - charred animal bones; used in the filtration in the manufacture of sucrose (cane or beet sugar) to separate it from the molasses, also used as a black coloring in confectionary.

· Calcium 5'-Ribonucleotides - is derived from meat extract and dried sardines; used as a flavor intensifier.

· Calcium Pantothenate - Calcium pantothenate is often dervied from animal liver - this may include non-kosher animals.

· Calcium Stearate - This powdery substance is produced from fatty acids (usually animal tallow) and is used as an anti caking agent in garlic and onion salt and numerous spice powders and blends.

· Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate - See Stearic Acid

· Canthaxanthin - A color additive that may be derived from crustaceans or tropical birds.

· Carbon (black) -  Carbon may be derived from animal sources. Carbon is also an element of certain foods.

· Carmine (Cocineal) - Carmine is a red-pink pigment that is derived from an insect (coccus cacti). It is often found in red-apple sauce, strawberry flavored drinks, fruit cocktail, meats, spices, candies and pastries. 

· Castoreum - is a  “natural flavoring” (which is also used in perfumes) derived from the castor sac scent glands of beavers. It is added to foods and drinks to add a vanilla flavoring.

· Catalase - Catalase is an enzyme that may be derived from plant or animal sources - these sources may include non-kosher animals.

· Cetyl Esters - Cetyl esters are dervied from the sperm whale.

· Cholic Acid -Cholic acid is used as an emulsifier in dried egg-whites. It is derived from animal bile.

· Choline Bitartarate - A thick syrup found in most animal tissue, it is used in most B Vitamin supplements.

· Citric Acid Esters of Glycerides of Fatty Acids - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Civet - Civet is used in beverages, candy, pastries, gum and ice cream. It is derived from the unctuous secretion from the gland recepticles between the anus and genitalia of both male and female African Civet-cats (Viverra civetta).

· Cholecalciferol  - Known as vitamin D3, this compound, derived from animal tissues.

· Cochineal, also see Carmine - is a red-pink pigment that is derived from an insect (coccus cacti). It is often found in red-apple sauce, strawberry flavored drinks, fruit cocktail, meats, spices, candies and pastries.

· Confectionery Glaze also known as Resinous Glaze and Shellac.-  insect secretion. Used in coating candies and pills.

· Colorose - See sugar

· Cyanocobalamin - Vitamin B12, often derived from intestinal microorganisms.

· Disodium Phosphats - See Guanosine

· Disodium Guanylate - See Guanosine

· Eicosapentaenoic Acid. EPA is derived from fish. These fish may be non-kosher.

· Emulsifiers - Emulsifiers may be derived from non-kosher animals sources, though most are from soya lecithin. However, if soya lecithin is not specified as the emulsifier, assume that the emulsifier is non-kosher. Used in binding oils and water, thickening, a preservative in baked goods, reducing ice crystals and air bubbles in ice cream

· Ethyl Oleate - Oleic acid may be derived from animal or vegetable sources. Only vegetarian forms should be considered kosher.

· Fats/Fatty Acids - Fats may be derived from any number of animal and plant sources. Any food with a simple listing of "fats" on the ingredient list, without specification, should be considered non-kosher.

·FD & C Red #40 is 99% coal tar derivatives. We don't know of any animal products in it. For years a rumor has claimed that it is made of cochineal or carmine, but that is not true.

· Ferrous Lactate - Non-kosher animals may be used to obtain Ferrous Lactate.

· Folic Acid - Non-kosher animals may be used to obtain Folic Acid.

· Formic Acid - Non-kosher animals may be used to obtain Folic Acid.

· Gelatin/Gelatin - This glutinous material is obtained from beef, pork and calf and is usually non Kosher. Because of its congealing qualities it is used in a wide range of foods so you should therefore be careful to check the ingredients. Some Rabbinic authorities will provide certification to products that contain gelatin derived from non-kosher animals on the grounds that the gelatin was first dried. They contend that gelatin in this state becomes "wood."

· Glucose Glutamate - Glucose glutamate is used as a humectant in hand creams and lotions. It may be obtained from animal blood.

· Glutamic Acid - While glutamic acid is usually obtained from vegetable sources, it may be obtained from non-kosher animals. Most commonly used as a salt substitute.

· Glutaric Acid - Glutaric acid may be obtained from non-kohser animal sources. It is normally used in cosmetics.

· Glycerides of Fatty Acids - Fats may be derived from any number of animal and plant sources. Any food with a simple listing of "fats" on the ingredient list, without specification, should be considered non-kosher.

· Glycerine/Glycerin/Glycerol - Glycerol is an alcohol that is produced as a byproduct of soap making; it is dervied from fat. The most common fats used in soap making are lard and tallow. Animal glycerol should be considered non-kosher.

· Glycerol Esters - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Glyceryl Distearate - May be dervied from non-kosher animal sources.

· Glyceryl Monostearate - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Glycine - Glycine is derived from gelatin. Glycine dervied from vegetable gelatin is kosher. All other forms of glycine should be considered non-kosher.

· Glycogen - Glycogen, used as a violet dye, is an animal starch found especially in liver and muscle tissue; it may be obtained from non-kosher animals.

· Guanosine 5'-disodium Phosphate, sodium guanylate, disodium guanylate - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Gum Base - Gum base may be derived from any number of sources, both animal and vegetable and trees (chicle, natural rubber, etc.) synthetic butyl rubber, paraffin, polyethylene, vinyl, resin, glycerin, glycerol monostearate. Use: in the manufacture of chewing gums. Only gum base that is specifically listed as vegetarian should be considered kosher.

· Hydroxyoctacosanyl Hydrostearate - see Stearic Acid.

· Hydroxyphenyl Glycinamide - see Glycine.

· Inosinates - salts of inosinic acid, which is derived from meat extract and dried sardines; used as a flavor intensifier.

· Invert Sugar (Inversol, Nulomoline, Colorose) - a mixture of 50% glucose (dextrose) and 50% fructose (levulose), produced by inversion of sucrose (see sugar).

· Inversol - See Sugar

· Isinglass - is a substance produced from dried fish bladders and it’s used to clarify alcoholic beverages like beer and wine. Isinglass is not listed on the label because the FDA has determined it is not a health issue, so it is not listed as an ingredient.

· Isobutyl Stearate - see Stearic Acid.

· Isobutyl Isostearate - see Stearic Acid.

· Isostearic Acid - see Stearic Acid.

· Lactic Acid Esters of Glycerides of Fatty Acids - see Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Lactoflavin - see B Vitamins.

· Lactoglycerides - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Lactylated fatty acid esters of gylcerol and propane-1,2-diol - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Lactylic Stearate - see Stearic Acid.

· Lactylated Glycerides - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Lecithin - commercially isolated from eggs, soybeans, corn, and egg yolk. Only lecithin from syobeans or corn is kosher.

· Linoelic Acid - see Oleic Acid.

· Lanolin - is secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep. Lanolin is some times used as “gum base” in chewing gum. Most companies now use a synthetic lanolin to serve the same purpose but you can never be sure.

· Lipids - animal or vegetable fats. Used in shortening, flavoring, thickeners

· L-Cysteine. L-Cysteine is an ammino acid derived from human (female cadavers), horse or synthetic sources. See Amino Acids.

· L-Histadine & DL-Histadine - an amino acid derived from proteins - see Amino Acids.

· L-Isoleucine & DL-Isoleucine - an amino acid; derived commercially from beet sugar (see sugar).

· L-Leucine & DL-Leucine - an amino acid; isolated commercially from gluten, casein (see casein), and keratin (a protein found in animal skin, hair, nails, hooves, and horns).

· Lutien - an amino acid may be derived from animal or vegetable sources.

· L-Lysine, L and DL - L-Lysine, an amino acid, is derived from casein (a milk protein), fibrin (a protien used in the clotting of blood) and blood. If the lsyine is dervied from casein, it is kosher. All other forms of lysine are non-kosher.

· Magneseum Salt of Fatty Acids - see Fats/Fatty Acids.

Magnesium Stearate - This powdery substance is produced from fatty acids (usually animal tallow) and is used as an anti caking agent in garlic and onion salt and numerous spice powders and blends.

· Mesoinositol Hexaphosphate - Derived from non-kosher animal sources. Not Kosher.

· Methionine - see Amino Acids.

· Methyl Ester of Fatty Acids - see Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Mixed Acetic and Tartaric Acid Esters of Mono and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids - see Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Modified Starch - starch altered chemically; among the chemicals that may be used to alter the starch is 1-octenyl succinic anhydride (see succinic acid).

· Molasses - Molasses is a by product of the sugar refining process. The sugar refining process involves the use of charred animal bones (as a filtration medium), animal fats (as defoamers), and sometimes animal blood (in the bleaching process). Molasses is genereally non-kosher.

· Mono and Diacetyltartaric Acid Esters of Glycerides of Fatty Acids - see Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Mono and Diglycerides - Mono and Diglycerides may be derived from animal or vegetable sources. Only the vegetarian forms are kosher. Mono and Diglycerides do not need to be mentioned on the ingredient labels of processed foods. Pepper Cream is a common food additive that requires the presence of di-glycerides.

· Monopotassium Phosphate - Monosodium phosphate, an emulsifier, may be dervied from non-kosher animal sources.

· Musk - dried secretions from the perianal glandular sac of the Central Asian Musk Deer; as musk ambrette is used in fruit, cherry, maple, mint, nut, black walnut, pecan, spice, and vanilla flavorings for beverages, ice creams, ices, candy, baked goods, gelatin desserts, pudding, and chewing gum; as musk tonquin is used in fruit, maple, and molasses flavorings for beverages, ice cream, ices, candy, baked goods, and syrups; as musk ketone is used in chewing gum and candy.

· Myrisitic Acid - This fatty acid may be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Niacin - see B Vitamins.

· Norvaline - see Amino Acids.

· Nulomoline - See Sugar

· Oleic Acid - Oleic acid may be derived from animal or vegetable sources. Only vegetarian forms should be considered kosher.

· Oleates - salts of Oleic acid (see Oleic acid).

· Oxygall (Ox bile) - used as an emulsifier in dried egg whites.

· Oxystearin - a mixture of glycerides (see) of partially oxidized stearic acids (see) and other fatty acids (see); occurs in animal fat; used in the manufacture of pill coatings, as a crystallization inhibitor in cottonseed and soybean cooking, in salad oil blends, as a defoamer in the production of beet sugar (see sugar) and "nutritional" brewer's yeast.

· Oxysterins Polysorbates - See Stearic Acid

· Palmitic Acid - see Stearic Acid.

· Palmitoyl Hydrolyzed Milk Protein - see Stearic Acid.

· d-Pantothenamide - made synthetically from royal jelly of the queen bee, "nutritional" brewer's yeast, and molasses (see sugar).

· Pepsin - Pepsin is be obtained most often from hog stomachs.

· Peptones - Peptones may be dervied from non-kosher animal sources.

· Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids - see Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Polyglycerol Esters of Dimerized Fatty Acids of Soy Bean Oil - see Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Polyglycerol Esters of Polycondesnsed Fatty Acids of Castor Oil - see
Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Polyoxyethylene (40) stearate - May be dervied from non-kosher animal sources.

· Polyoxyl (40) stearate - see Polyoxyethylene (40) stearate.

· Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate, polysorbate 20, tween 20 may be derived from animals.

· Polyoxyethylene sorbitan mono-oleate, polysorbate 80, tween 80 may be derived from animals.

· Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monopalmitate, polysorbate 40, tween 40 may be derived from animals.

· Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate, polysorbate 60, tween 60 may be derived from animals.

· Polyoxyethylene sorbitan tristearate, polysorbate 65, tween 65 may be derived from animals.

· Potassium Lactate - Potassium Lactate may be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Potassium Salt of Fatty Acids - see Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Propane-1,2-diol Esters of Fatty Acids - see Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Propyl Gallate - Propyl gallate, a preservative, is produced by insects.

· Propylene Glycos Esters of Fatty Acids - see Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Resinous glaze - Lac is the generic name for the natural resin gathered by the lac beetle that thrives on various host trees and shrubs in India, Burma, Indochina, and Siam. The lac beetle converts the sap of the trees into resin which is gathered, crushed, washed, and dried and used in food glaze. This process is very similar to a bee's production of honey. The process is called transferred nectar. It is definately non-kosher; however certain Rabbinic authorities will permit its inclusion in food because they consider it non-edible, and therefore, not food.

· Rennet - is an enzyme used in the cheese making process to coagulate milk proteins into curds. Rennet is derived from the fourth stomach of young, unweaned calves (who have been killed for veal consumption). Rennet can be cultivated from non-animal sources as well. Vegetable rennet is made from plants, Microbial rennet is made from molds, and genetically-modified rennet is produced in a lab. If your cheese ingredients’ label just reads rennet, there’s no way to know the origin of the ingredient. Look for labels that state that the product is vegetarian or kosher.

· Riboflavin - see B Vitamins.

· Riboflavin 5'-phosphate - see B Vitamins.

· Serum Albumin - Serum albumin is derived from blood.

· Shellac -  is used to make the shiny coating on jelly beans and to give fresh fruits and vegetables a glossy finish. Shellacis made from the excretions of the Kerria lacca insect that are native to Thailand. The FDA does require produce packers to disclose whether any coating used is animal or vegetable derived. You will only find it on the placard or on the box of produce, not on the fruit or vegetable itself.

· Sodium Formate - May be dervied from non-kosher animal sources.

· Sodium Lactate - May be dervied from non-kosher animal sources.

· Sodium Guanylate - See Guanosine

· Sodium 5'-inosinate - Derived from non-kosher animal sources. Not Kosher.

· Sodium 5'-ribonucleotide - May be dervied from non-kosher animal sources.

· Sodium Salt of Fatty Acids - see Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Sodium Stearoyl-2-lactylate - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Sorbitan Monolaurate, span 20 - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Sorbitan Mono-oleate, span 80 - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Sorbitan Monopalmitate, span 40 - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Sorbitan Monostearate - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Sorbitan Tristearate - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Span - See Stearic Acid

· Sperm Oil - Sperm oil is derived from sperm whales. release agent and lubricant in baking pans.

· Stearic Acid - Stearic Acid is a common component of many food additives: Calcium Stearate, Magnesum Stearate, Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate, Oxysterins Polysorbates (60, 65, 80), Sorbitan Monostearate, Tween and Span. Stearic acid may be derived from animal sources. Used in butter and vanilla flavoring, softener in chewing gum. Only the vegetarian forms are kosher.

· Stearyl tartrate - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Sucroglycerides - May be derived from non-kosher animal sources.

· Sucrose/Sugar - Most sugars are processed using charred animal bones (as a filter), animal fat (as a defoamer), and sometimes animal blood (in the bleaching process). Therefore, most sugars should be considered non-kosher. For more info

· Sucrose Esters of Fatty Acids - see Sucrose/Sugar and Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Tartaric Acid Esters of Glycerides of Fatty Acids - see Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Tallow, Beef Fat, Animal Shortenting - Despite the prohibitions in the Torah of consuming cheilev, some Rabbinic authorities will permit the presence of helev in the foods they certify.

· Thermally Oxidized Soya Bean Oil Interacted with Mono- and Di-glycerides of Fatty Acids - see Fats/Fatty Acids.

· Tween - See Stearic Acid

· Turmeric - Turmeric is often combined with animal glycerides (mono or di).

· Vanilla - Vanilla is often combined with animal glycerine. See Glycerine.

· Vitamins - preparations in tablet or capsule form often contain stearates, gelatin binders and coatings of non kosher origin. In other preparations, vitamins from natural sources, such as non kosher liver, bone meal and fish oils are used. Glycerin is used extensively as a base in liquid vitamin preparations.

· Vitamin B - Any B Vitamin may be derived from non-kosher animals. Only vegetarian forms are kosher.

· Vitamins D3 - derived from irradiated skin, which he called D3.

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