Over the years, many Jews celebrating the Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) have wondered, is Colgate toothpaste kosher?
The answer is no, Colgate toothpaste are not certified Kosher for Pesach. However, most oral hygiene products including toothpaste and mouthwash are considered kosher and chametz free. This is due to the fact that these products are not considered food as they are primarily made up of inedible ingredients that are unpalatable.
That said, this issue has been widely debated within the Jewish community as toothpaste may contain animal-based glycerin or flavouring agents which are non-kosher.
Legendary rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky have previously ruled that toothpaste are acceptable as the main ingredient is calcium carbonate, which is inedible. Furthermore, the concept of Batel BeShishim suggests that while 60 units of Kosher ingredients is required to nullify the presence of 1 unit of non-Kosher, the rule only applies when both ingredients are considered food. As such, Batel BeShishim does not apply in the context of toothpaste.
Nonetheless, improvements in formulas in recent years have made edible ingredients such as water, glycerin and sorbitol the main constituent of a toothpaste. This was voiced out by Rabbi Yisroel Belsky who decreed that toothpaste are not kosher if the majority of its ingredients are edible.
Nonetheless, it is generally agreed that even if one were to consume a small amount of toothpaste, it would not constitute a violation of the kosher dietary law. Still, you are advised to consult your rabbit to understand what the community standards are and if necessary, where to purchase toothpaste that are Kosher-certified.
Pesach and Dietary Restrictions
The Jewish holiday of Passover is one of the most sacred day for many Jewish for it commemorates the exodus from Egypt and the emancipation from slavery. That said, there are numerous traditions and rules that Jews observe and follow for the seven to eight days of celebrations.
Some of the kosher food laws (also known as kashrut) include:
- Land animals whose meat is consumed must have cloven (split) hooves. Examples are cows, sheep, goats, lambs, and deer.
- Meat and dairy cannot be eaten together.
- Only domesticated fowl such as chicken or turkey can be consumed.
- The animal must be slaughtered by a shochet, an individual who is trained and certified to butcher an animal in a kosher way.
- All traces of blood must be removed from an animal before it can be consumed.
However, during the Passover, many Jews would adhere to additional dietary laws on top of the everyday kosher laws. In particular, one is forbidden to consume chametz, which are food where any of the five grains – wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt – are in contact with water or moisture for more than 18 minutes. The prohibition on leavened food was to symbolize the time when Israelites were hurried to leave Egypt and did not have time to wait for their bread to rise.
What Kosher for Passover Toothpastes are available?
Individuals observing the Passover are to be more stringent in their diet due to the additional set of dietary restrictions that they abide by for the weeklong festival. Hence, certain products that are manufactured under strict conditions are labelled as “Kosher for Passover”.
These products adhere to additional Jewish laws during the production period and are subjected to supervision from rabbinic authorities in order to receive a hechsher, which is a stamp of approval. A hechsher that is certified Kosher for Passover is denoted by the letter “P”, meaning that the product is chametz free.
As of Feburary 2022, the only Kosher for Passover toothpaste product certified by Orthodox Union (OU) Kosher, the world’s largest kosher certification agency, is Brightol Toothpaste. Brightol’s lineup of products are certified Kosher for Passover all year round, making them a popular choice among Jews observing the Passover.
Nonetheless, individuals who were unable to purchase Kosher for Passover toothpaste would often turn to brands that are:
- Known to have used Kosher-certified glycerin in its production
- known to contain no or small amounts of glycerin
- Used only plant-based glycerin.