Toxic Kosher Coke Banned During Passover

toxic coke kosher passover
As we learn from Starbucks and their new sustainable approach of using a red beetle to color their pink drinks (that’s instead of oil tar), when you follow dietary laws for any religion, sometimes the least healthy option is the one you have to take. In the midst of the Jewish holiday of Passover, Jews in the United States will not be able to drink Kosher for Passover Coca Cola this holiday season unless they consume a toxic variety.

The kosher version of Coca Cola (made without corn products) contains a carcinogen chemical called 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI, and California has listed it as a carcinogen.

According to Jewish tradition, the week-long holiday which started on Friday night must not include leaven, or related products in their diet, to remember the story of Exodus. For many Jews, leaven products can include corn, and for that reason to make their soda kosher for the holiday, the toxic replacement is needed. Instead, the kosher version is made with sugar and that 4-MEI chemical to make it taste like the original Coke.

Some stores have brought in Coke from other states, and there is also the Pepsi kosher beverage called Throwback.

It’s not like soda is good for you anyway, and I know that. Drinking it can lead to tooth decay and severe health effects like heart disease. But still, for those of us that drink the stuff here and there, there is no way that the chemicals in it should be carcinogenic.

In US states like California, where environmental awareness is the highest in the world, and legislators are in tune with public outcries, we should be watching with very open eyes what’s going on there to protect ourselves in other parts of the world where toxic chemicals easily pervade our food chain with nary a whimper. If you want to follow deeply what’s happening in Cali, follow our friends at Grist who’ll keep you updated.

::Washington Post

Image of toxic soda from Shutterstock

7 thoughts on “Toxic Kosher Coke Banned During Passover

  1. Ploni Almoni

    “Even though corn can be kosher for Passover…”

    Karin, you misunderstood what Sara wrote. Corn can’t become leavened, but it’s still not kosher for passover for Jews who observe the tradition of refraining from kitniyout: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitniyot

    (Don’t worry about mistakes like these — Judaism is a complicated religion!)

    Reply
  2. Sara

    “For many Jews, leaven products can include corn, and for that reason to make their soda kosher for the holiday, the toxic replacement is needed”

    Not true: corn can’t become leavened. There is an additional restriction on Jews whose ancestors wound up in Europe which forbids corn. This ‘kitniyot’ (‘legumes’ to loosely translate) restriction also excludes rice, peas, beans, and other assorted little things.

    Reply
  3. Karin Kloosterman Post author

    Well considering newspapers like the Washington Post picked up on this it’s hard to believe that this case rests on quack science. Sand is a carcinogen if it’s inhaled (the fine silica dust), and so is fire wood if you sit in front of the smoke. I like that consumers are being made aware of the dangers of any products they consume. It’s a sign of a just and educated society.

    Reply
  4. Ploni Almoni

    Calling 4-methylimidazole is naïve at best. There have been only two studies regarding 4-methylimidazole and cancer. One of those two studies found it actually had an anti-cancer effect!

    The other, which formed the basis for the California ban, found carcinogenic effects when rats were fed 4-methylimidazole in quantities equal to thousands of cans of soda per day.

    Good science is reproducible science. So far, no one has reproduced the latter study.

    (Did you know that under California’s Prop 65, even firewood and sand are labeled as carcinogens!?)

    Reply

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