First it was Walkers salt and vinegar crisps — now the popular rice-cake product, Snack- a-Jacks, has been struck off the list of kosher approved foods, because multinational food company Pepsi-Co has failed to provide the London Beth Din with simple technical information.
The food, which comes in a variety of sweet and savoury flavours, was previously approved parev but consumers have been warned that it is no longer considered kosher.
When the kosher division of the London Beth Din (KLBD) contacted Pepsi-Co as part of its annual information gathering exercise, the company did not provide the details requested.
The executive director of KLBD, Rabbi Jeremy Conway, said: “In order to approve a product as kosher, we need reliable information on ingredients, processing aids and shared use of equipment.
“Obviously we can only get this when manufacturers are prepared to co-operate with us and provide the details we need.
“In the case of Snack-a-Jacks, we have become aware that animal-based ingredients are now used in products made on the same equipment. However we have been unable to get detailed information on manufacturing and cleaning procedures.
“In such situations, whilst we cannot say the product is definitely non-kosher, we are of course unable to grant any definite KLBD endorsement.”
In March last year, a similar breakdown in communication resulted in Walkers salt and vinegar crisps, also owned by Pepsi-Co, being removed from the approved list.
A spokesperson for Pepsi-Co said: “We understand that our snack portfolio had previously been approved as suitable for a kosher diet by the London Beth Din. Our manufacturing process has not changed and we still operate to the same high standards of food safety and quality, so there is no increase in the risk of cross contamination from non-kosher ingredients.”