Kashrut agency says it can no longer vouch for Starbucks
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Kashrut agency says it can no longer vouch for Starbucks

Star-K ends its information program which had provided a list of beverages observant Jews could consume; online petition draws thousands of signatures pleading for it to continue

The sign for a Starbucks Coffee shop seen in Washington, DC, April 17, 2018. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images via JTA)
The sign for a Starbucks Coffee shop seen in Washington, DC, April 17, 2018. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images via JTA)

Kosher observers who pick up their coffee at Starbucks may need to look elsewhere for their caffeine fix.

A kosher-certifying agency said it can no longer vouch for the kashrut of many beverages served by the coffee giant after announcing this week that it was ending its kosher information program, under which it deemed many Starbucks products permissible without actually certifying them as kosher.

Plenty of kosher consumers aren’t taking the news lying down: As of Thursday afternoon, more than 7,000 have signed a change.org petition calling to “Make Starbucks Kosher Again.”

Star-K for years has kept a list of the drinks prepared at Starbucks that kosher observers could imbibe. The stores were not under the certifying agency’s supervision, but Star-K regularly checked in with the company to determine which items were kosher. In recent years, even Frappuccinos were considered okay for kosher observers.

But several years ago, Starbucks began selling sandwiches, including some made with bacon. That brought up kashrut issues, like whether the utensils used to make the coffee were washed with utensils that had been used with non-kosher items in the store.

The kosher information program targeted kashrut conundrums. And while Star-K has disbanded the program, it has posted a new list of Starbucks drinks that can be considered acceptable for kosher observers.

But the petition signers are looking for more.

Under the reasons for signing, one person wrote: “For a company that closed down all their stores for 8 hours for sensitivity training when people want to use their bathrooms without making a purchase they can at least show a little sensitivity to Orthodox Jews who would like to be paying customers!”

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