Question for Jews...

I love M&Ms, but they gave me the willies today when I looked at the pack…

On the back of every pack of peanut M&Ms (maybe the other ones too - I don’t know) there are serveral messages. Some ingredients in various languages, and another message that may or may not be ingredients, in what, to my untrained eye looks like Hebrew. So far so good, or at least I don’t care…


What the fck is that all about ? “Made from milk. For those who eat the powder of milk of commerce, under the surveillance of the United States [of America], under the responsibility of the great rabbinate of Israel”??? The translation has made it no clearer to me.

If this is something about the Kosher-ness (not the right word I’m sure) of these little tasty treats, then why not provide a translation for the (presumably) millions of english speaking Jews who eat M&Ms.

Frankly I’m stumped. I’m sure of the French-Jewish readers can help. Please.


:confused: ;j :dubious:

I presume that strict Orthodox Jews will only eat kosher food, no matter what. Therefore the manufacturers of M&Ms make sure their food (or the milk therein) is certified kosher.

Perhaps someone Jewish/knowledgeable could confirm?

My French isn’t what it used to be, so I’m kinda winging it.

M&Ms are kosher, but since they’re made with milk chocolate, they’re considered a dairy food. What the label says is that they’re a) kosher-dairy, that the milk is under the supervision of the US Department of Agriculture, and b) are made under the supervision of the Chief Rabbi of Israel, who is likely the certifying body.

Hopefully, someone can translate better than I can.


Thanks guys,

But what about all the Jews that don’t speak French? How do they assure themselves that the food is Kosher ?

What I’m really asking is : Yo - M&Ms, why is this message only in French. If it was written only in Hebrew I would understand, but French ???

I don’t have M&M’s in front of me to check, but it likely has one of several icons that are used to show certified kosher-ness by certifying bodies.

  1. K
  2. U in a circle
  3. H with a V superimposed on it.

Oh… I getcha.

Were there country code markings for each language?

(Possibly lame) theory: These are aimed at some generic “export” market. Of all the countries the candies are exported to, there is only a financially significant proportion of Jews in France (and, presumably, Israel). Therefore they only bothered printing the kosher info in French.

They look for the marks discussed in this article (at least in the U.S.): What do K, R, and U means on food and other packages?

jjimm - I reckon you’ve cracked it. Nice one. And someone from Ireland too. I’ve been puzzling over this for a while now (my artistic licence about reading the pack today notwithstanding). Finally I can get fat in peace. Shalom.

This pack has a “K” in a triangle in the midst of a load of Hebrew text - that must be it. Thanks All.

It’s just telling you which Rabbinical authority is willing to vouch for the fact that this product is Kosher, and is made with dairy products (and should therefore not be eaten together with meat, if one keeps Kosher).

I don’t know the import/export logistics of M & Ms, but rest assured that there are plenty of packages of them here in the US with English writing. Perhaps Ireland just happens to be in an area that intersects with the French-speaking market for shipping purposes.

Is there a kosher issue with commercially produced powdered milk? That’s what the “POUR CE QUI MANGENT DE LA POUDRE DE LAIT DU COMMERCE” bit means. I dimly recall hearing that there are special kosher laws for the production of milk, beyond simple noncontamination with meat products.

So, if my semi-educated guesses are correct, the gist is this: Under the authority of the Grand Rabbinate of Israel, this product is kosher for those who eat commercial powdered milk that is produced under American supervision (I suspect this may refer to U.S.D.A. requirements, rather than American rabinnical supervision).

Yes, OxyMoron, you’ve got it on the head.

Milk is kosher only if it comes from a kosher species of animal, such as a cow or goat (and not a pig or horse). People think of product tampering as a modern sort of crime, but the fact is that many centuries ago, a significant number of farmers would adulterate their cows milk with cheaper, non-kosher milks. My guess is that the numbers were actually few, but high enough to cause enough problems, and the result was that the rabbis legislated that milk needs to be supervised by a Jew to keep its kosher status.

Move ahead a few thousand years, and it turns out that the US Dept of Agriculture does exactly this sort of supervision, and can fine milk producers for such adulterations. Today’s rabbis are of two different views. Some say that the law (requiring Jewish supervision) has passed has not been amended or revoked, and many areas with Jewish populations have various brands of milk which are supervised by various rabbinic organizations. The other view (held by many, including the Chief Rabbinate of Israel) is that the knowledge provided by the government inspectors is adequate assurance that the regular commercial milk is kosher.

I hope this explains why the label adds the qualifier “For those who eat” – because some are stricter and do not eat such products. BTW, even the lenient view would not allow milk from a private non-Jewish farmer, since it would not be subject to govermnment controls. That’s why the package refers to “commercial milk”.

WAG on the French/English dual language issue: Many manufacturers will produce products for shipment to both US and Canada. I believe that in Quebec (at least), if you label items in English, it also has to be in French. By marking products in both French and English at the same time, you can sell in both the US and Canada.

[ hijack ]
French and English seem to be the “standard” languages in the western world. At least it is in the science world. Despite the fact that more Europeans speak German than French, my German friend said that WWII had much to do with this.
[ /hijack ]

Ewww, horse milk. :eek:

I think Peg’s got it. Mars probably labels all their packages for export to English-dominated countries in English and French, thus taking care of Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ and so on.