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Kosher Concessions

Kosher Concessions

Add two classic movie confections to this year’s Oscar-watching party shopping list.

Junior Mints and Sugar Babies, decades-old candies distributed by Tootsie Roll Industries, will now display the OU symbol. They join the Tootsie Roll and DOTS candies that were declared kosher at the end of 2009, as Tootsie works on certifying all of its offerings.

“It took us a long time to get all our products and ingredients and plants inspected,” said Ellen Gordon, president and CEO of Tootsie Roll Industries. “Once we made the decision” to make some products kosher, said Gordon, who is Jewish, the company wanted all its products to bear certification. “We’re very delighted we did.”

Junior Mints, which are dark chocolate-covered creamy mints, and Sugar Babies, chewy caramels coated in milk chocolate, are iconic movie theater treats. The old Junior Mints ingredient list contained gelatin, which was removed to make the products kosher. A popular rumor says that Sugar Babies’ original formula contained bacon, which led to the red-and-white wavy strips on the package, but “we’ve always thought it was confetti,” said Gordon. Created in 1935, Sugar Babies (and their lollipop form, Sugar Daddy) were acquired in 1993 by Tootsie. The company’s other kosher products include the Charleston Chew and Frooties, certified by the OU, and Andes Mints and Cella’s Cherries, certified by the OK.

So after decades of opting for M&Ms or Twizzlers, kosher movie-goers should see the OU-bearing packages arriving on shelves soon, as the factory has been certified for “a couple of months,” according to Rabbi David Jenkins, rabbinic coordinator at the OU. But don’t rush out just yet; packages still at the concession stand without the OU, said Rabbi Jenkins, are not for kosher consumption.

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