Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Kosher Coke

photo by Mark H. Anbinder on flickr
Live and learn.

Passover is finished, and only today do I learn that the Coca-Cola company makes kosher Coke.  Although I'm a seltzer gal myself, as opposed to sweetened drinks, other family members drink Coke and I usually have some on hand. When I was growing up, soft drinks were often served at various relatives' homes, and I never gave it a second thought. Modern Coke, though, is different from the drinks I grew up with.

In 1985, Coke changed its formula and replaced sugar with high fructose corn syrup. Most other soft drink manufacturers followed suit. Certain Coke fans were upset, but not as upset as observant Jews, who were now unable to drink Coke during Passover. At this holiday, certain cereals and grains are forbidden, including corn and thus corn syrup. So Coke was out.

Enter Rabbi Tobias Geffen, a Lithuanian-born Orthodox rabbi living in Atlanta, where huge quantities of Coke are bottled. To make a long story short, Geffen persuaded officials at the Coca-Cola company to create a kosher form of the popular beverage. They did, and you might still find some on the shelves this week. You can distinguish kosher Coke by its bright yellow bottle cap (it is almost exclusively found in bottles).

However, be warned that kosher Coke is available mainly in large cities, such as New York and Boston. This year, it is not available at all in California.

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