Beware the Straw

Plastic straws have become the poster child for the environmental harm of a seemingly minor consumer convenience. It is not my intent to get mired in the debate over whether focusing on these items, as opposed to the major sources of ocean pollution, is justified or not. But from a vegan and kosher standpoint, one must be careful about alternatives.

Obviously, if one has a reusable metal or other-material straw, that is a good solution, as is going without a straw (and other disposable items) entirely. One product that just got some press play is edible straws, that come in flavors that match the drink, like lime with a frozen daiquiri. The straws from Spain-based Sorbos, are offered in bars and fruit smoothie vendors like Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

The problem? They are made with animal gelatin (halal, but not kosher, certified). While there are some who hold that gelatin is kosher, the consensus among US-authorities is not to allow it without kosher certification. And of course, regardless of kosher acceptability, it is not vegan. It is unlikely that the service staff will know that the edible straw has gelatin, so beyond checking for grape juice or other potentially problematic issues with that fruit smoothie, you may need to skip the straw. Caveat Emptor. 

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