March 15, 2016
To whom it may concern,
We have been speaking about Slurpees sold at 7-Eleven stores for several years now on our weekly radio show, “Kashrus On The Air,” over JRoot Radio. Almost every week people call in and ask again. Recently, we did a show dedicated to Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and 7-Eleven. I have been asked by readers to clarify our position in writing, something I cannot do in KASHRUS Magazine because of its broad audience. I am doing that now.
There are 7 reasons why I do not advise buying Slurpees in 7-Eleven stores…
- a) the store itself is notunder hashgacha,
and if –
- b) a neighborhood Vaad Hakashrus has not advised kosher consumers on a specific course of action, as is done in Baltimore, Chicago, etc.
Currently, no 7-Eleven store is kosher-certified in New York City and no kashrus agency here locally has offered any advice on how to handle them.
- Who certifies the Slurpees? Slurpees are a brand name of the product sold at 7-Eleven stores, but no one kashrus agency certifies the Slurpees. They are produced by various companies and have various hashgachos. Some national kosher agencies have taken the time to “approve” certain ones. It must be remembered that there are non-kosher flavors and dairy flavors too and they are not approved. As far as which flavors are in a given store, only the store owner knows. He/she is usually a non-Jew. So the kashrus of the Slurpees in the store is in the hands of a non-Jew. Even if we somehow trusted him, is this the message that we want our young people to have? By bringing yeshiva boys and girls in buses from day camps for free Slurpees on 7/11 (July 11th), aren’t we teaching them that it is okay to buy food in this store?
- Backup. Every flavor Slurpee syrup eventually runs out. The machine automatically switches to draw from another flavor until such time as the attendant realizes it and replaces the flavor, if it is in stock.
- There have been mislabeling of flavors.
- We have found that some flavors which are dairy were not labeled as such.
- 7-Eleven products themselves have been mislabeled.
- These stores in our neighborhood carry baked goods with the kosher certification of a Conservative rabbi with no indication on his letter that he is Conservative.
- Soda fountain sodas and coffees have their own problems. Once in the store, many avail themselves ofthose services as well.
But the greatest reason to avoid the Slurpees is that our yeshiva children don’t belong frequenting such a store as 7-Eleven, one where you can only buy a few of the things that are being sold. Is this the atmosphere that we want for the future dor of klal yisroel?
In some Yeshivos and Bais Yaakov schools, Slurpees are sometimes given as rewards/treats to the students. Shouldn’t we review such a practice? There certainly are plenty varieties of yiddishe nosh in the marketplace.
While I am at it, does your Yeshiva/Bais Yaakov offer a kashrus segment in the curriculum? We are ready to assist you in planning and executing such a program in any grades from 3rd grade through high school.
I welcome any questions or feedback.
Rabbi Yosef Wikler
Editor, KASHRUS Magazine