By: Rabbi Yaakov Luban
Emulsifiers are complex substances that are used in many types of food production. They can perform a number of critical functions, among them acting as a surfactant (reducing the surface tension of a liquid) thus making oil and water soluble. Emulsifiers are critical components in many food items, such as margarine, shortenings, cream fillings, toppings, coffee creamers, whiteners, prepared cake mixes, donuts, puddings, ice cream, frozen desserts, instant mashed potatoes, peanut butter, breakfast cereals, chocolates and candies. Emulsifiers may be listed on the ingredient label as polysorbates, glycerides, mono and diglycerides, sorbitan monostearates, etc. Emulsifiers are produced from either animal or vegetable oil, and emulsifiers require reliable kosher supervision.