A: Common practice is to assume that since they are not food, mouthwash and toothpaste with non-kosher ingredients don’t fit into the rabbinic prohibition of tasting something non-kosher.
Q: Is a cappuccino made at starbucks kosher pareve when made with soy milk? What about latte?
A: Both are DE (dairy equipment) and may be consumed immediately following a meat meal.
Q: Is toiveling metal utensils in a mikvah an actual halacha or minhag turned halacha? If halacha, what’s the reason? Why not just boil it? What magical thing does mikveh do to metal we own?
A: Immersing metal utensils that come into contact with food is a Biblical law; one explanation is that it’s like conversion to Judaism which requires a dip in the mikva – it “converts” or sanctifies the utensil for Jewish use.
Q: Do dried apple slices need a hechsher?
A: Yes, due to the kosher sensitive antioxidants that could potentially be used to prevent them from turning brown.
Follow up from last week:
Q: You wrote that roasted almonds don’t need a hechsher. Aren’t only dry roasted almonds OK without a hechsher?
A: That’s true. So-called “raw almonds” are actually always dry roasted to make them edible (unless they are a rare specialty product). No oil is used. Therefore no hechsher is needed. (R. Yisroel Belsky) The same is true for any dry roasted almonds, but if they are roasted in oil then they do need a hechsher.
Q: You wrote that dried figs are OK without a hechsher. Don’t dried fruits always need a hechsher?
A: There are different categories. Banana chips are fried in oil (oil is kosher-sensitive), tropical fruits like mangoes may have added flavorings, and dried apples have the concern mentioned above. Therefore they generally may only be purchased with a hechsher. Dried pineapple is soaked in a sugar solution, dried apricots are sprayed with sulfur dioxide, which is synthetically produced, to keep them moist and colorful, and dates can be sprayed with dextrose, a type of sugar. These fruits, along with figs, can therefore be purchased without a hechsher. Fruits from Israel always need a hechsher due to the unique agricultural halachot (laws) of the Land of Israel.
Due to the space limitations of a text message, please note that it is particularly important to read carefully, pay close attention to the context of the question, and use the answers as a springboard for further study.
Edited for accuracy. HT R. Chaim Goldberg