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Monday, January 21, 2013

Ask The Rabbi- Infant Formula Without Certification

Kosher Food Allergies
Special Feature: Ask The Rabbi

Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Rabbinic Administrator cRc Kosher

Infant Formula Without Certification 

Question:    My pediatrician told me that my baby needs a specialized infant formula but I see that it does not have kosher certification.  Can I use it anyhow?

Answer: Most of the infant formula produced in the United States is kosher certified and does not pose any concern to kosher consumers.  There are even plenty of kosher options for children who cannot tolerate standard formula. However, there is one type of infant formula whose status is a bit more complicated.  This formula – which is sold under the names “Nutramigen” or “Alimentum” – includes an enzyme derived from pigs and this enzyme helps pre-digest certain proteins to make the formula tolerable for certain children.  Pigs are not kosher and clearly a formula that contains pig byproducts cannot be certified as kosher.  Nonetheless, but due to the relatively small amount of non-kosher mixed into the formula Jewish Law allows children to consume the formula.  [These formulas are produced at companies where all of the other ingredients are certified as kosher.]
Another specialized infant formula which does not bare a kosher symbol is called “Elecare”.  This product doesn't contain any non-kosher ingredients and is certified by the OU (Orthodox Union). While OU certified, Elecare doesn't bare an OU logo on the package. Read why here Lastly, there is Neocate, an infant formula for children with severe food allergies.  It is not kosher-certified but Rabbis from different kosher agencies have visited the factory and are in contact with the company to assure that all ingredients used are kosher.

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