The Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc) presents 10 kashrus questions that were answered in October 2013:
Q: Does rice need a hechsher?
A: Plain raw and par boiled rice requiring an extended cooking time do not require a hechsher. Seasoned rice or instant rice that needs only a few minutes of cooking time do require a hechsher
Q: Does almond flour require a hechsher?
A: No. Almond flour, with no added kosher sensitive ingredients, does not need a hechsher.
Q: I have seen pre-seasoned pots in the store. Are these permissible to use?
A: Pre-seasoned pots must be kashered before use. The proper method of koshering is hagalah (immersing the item in boiling water) or libun kal (placing the item in an oven that had not been used for 24 hours on the highest temperature for one hour).
Q: What is the cRc’s policy on coconut milk?
A: Coconut milk requires a hechsher.
Q: Are there any oils that can be purchased without a hechsher?
A: Of the various oils, only unflavored 100% extra virgin olive oil does not require a hechsher. Other varieties of olive oil, as well as other oils, do require a hechsher.
Q: Does one need to dip a Keurig coffee maker in the mikvah?
A: A Keurig coffee maker does not need to be toveled. Although there are some metal components on the inside, it is still considered to be a plastic machine. Additionally, Rav Gedalia Dov Schwartz is of the opinion that electronic machines that will be ruined by immersion in the mikva do not need to be immersed. An example of this would be a Keurig with an electronic screen.
Q: Do spice blends require a hechsher?
A: Spices that alone do not require a hechsher, only if they contain additional flavors or spices, such as horseradish or wasabi powder.
Q: Does bourbon require a hechsher?
A: In general, bourbon does not require kosher certification. Two exceptions are: 1 – Some have begun adding flavors and/or aging the liquor in wine casks. Such items would not be acceptable without certification, and consumers can determine if a given liquor has these issues by carefully reading the bottle’s label. 2 – Some bourbon companies are of Jewish ownership who do not sell their chametz and those brands are not recommended.
Q: Do tea bags require a hechsher?
A: Tea bags that just contain tea and other non-kosher sensitive leaves and herbs do not require a hechsher. Teas that contain actual flavorings do require a hechsher (these teas will commonly list “flavors” or “natural flavors” in the ingredients).
Q: What is the cRc policy regarding pre-washed iceberg lettuce?
A: Pre-washed iceberg lettuce may be used without hashgacha and without any further washing.
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