No Kosher Coca-Cola Available in California for Passover — Again

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Reuters

Coca-Cola plans to make the size of its cans smaller to help in the fight against obesity.

Though not something typically envisioned as part of a Passover feast, West Coast dwellers who were hoping to enjoy a frosty Coca-Cola with their seder are out of luck. For the second year in a row, the soft-drink giant will not offer a kosher version of its soda in California.

Last year Coca-Cola modified its manufacturing process in California to comply with a state law that would require the soda to bear a cancer warning label, the Associated Press reports, and the company was unable to find a suitable replacement for a kosher version. In 2011, California listed 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI, as a carcinogen, and forced soda manufacturers like Coca-Cola to reduce levels of the chemical that is found in the caramel coloring used to give Coke its signature brown hue.

(WATCH: Coca-Cola Launches Anti-Obesity Ad)

Coca-Cola is normally sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, while the kosher version uses sugar, as Jews typically avoid corn products during the holiday. The company has since directed its manufacturers to reduce 4-MEI levels in the caramel processing nationwide but has yet to determine a kosher formula in accordance with California’s law. Coca-Cola is still using its previous caramel process in other states to provide kosher soda for Passover. But that doesn’t mean that Coca-Cola from the other 49 states is carcinogenic. Coca-Cola issued a statement explaining that the caramel coloring conforms with worldwide laws. “In other states, we are able to provide kosher for Passover products using our traditional caramel, which is safe and complies with all U.S. federal regulations, as well as regulations throughout the world.”

According to the AP, a spokeswoman for Coca-Cola said the company has made progress on developing a kosher product without high levels of 4-MEI, but that the shelf-life sustainability is still under review. The company aims to roll out a product for next year’s Passover holiday. We’ll stick with the Manischewitz for this year.

MORE: Can We Drink Soda Responsibly?

3 comments
MissNovemberTuesday
MissNovemberTuesday

I am confused as to why there seems to be a difference in the colouring used for California only. Why are we getting something that causes cancer and the others are not? Or am I reading that wrong? And why is the colour so damn important, anyway. I bet it would taste better if it were clear. I have had some natural sodas with no added colouring, like root beer and it tasted REALLY good. Ditch the colour and use real sugar and let everyone have a tasty and healthier treat. As for reducing the size of their cans to fight obesity, they'd better also reduce the damn price!

jackbrown1
jackbrown1

This is stupid. Everybody in California is switching over to Mexican coca cola anyway, because it's flavored with real sugar, bottled in real glass bottles, and therefore tastes better. No need for the special passover coke; all the in-the-know Jews are buying Mexican coke already anyway.

rpearlston
rpearlston

It's not as though Coca-Cola is the only possible beverage.  In fact, it's not even the only possible cola available for Passover. 

Shed no tears here.  There are plenty of alternatives, including one that doesn't need to be approved of by a group of orthodox (or ultra-orthodox) rabbis.  That one is called water. 

Now, before anyone claims that I lack compassion, that I don't understand the "problem", that I don't understand the laws of Kashruth (I do, I was raised with them, although I now call myself a secular humansit), stop.  You aren't paying attention to what I'm saying.

Really, this is yet another non-story.