Shailah of the Week by Rabbi Zvi Nussbaum
Rabbinic Coordinator, Kosher Hotline Administrator for the Orthodox Union
The FDA has created a regulatory definition for the term non-dairy, but amazingly, it does not automatically mean that the product is milk-free. A product labeled as non-dairy may contain 0.5% or less milk by weight, in the form of casein / caseinates (milk protein). As a result, you may spot non-dairy creamers, non-dairy whipped toppings, and other non-dairy products that include milk on the ingredient statement.
It gets better! Because when it says non-dairy it may in fact be milk-free. So, a word of warning: Always read the ingredient statement.
While the majority of the Coffee-mate creamers are dairy there are some that are really Non -Dairy (pareve) such as Maple Flavored Almond Bliss, Natural Bliss Oat Milk, Natural Bliss Coconut Milk, Natural Bliss Almond Milk in varieties of vanilla, mocha, hazelnut.
Another popular coffee creamer is Mocha Mix. While it bears an OU-D, it is just produced on dairy equipment.
If uncertain about a particular certification status feel free to call the OU Kosher office at 212-613-8241 or email: [email protected].