Are there insect derivatives in kosher chocolates?

Kosher consumers are concerned over an announcement put out by the Halaal Authority regarding certain Cadburys and Woolworths products which contain “E904, an insect derivative”.

E904, commonly referred to as “Shellac”, poses no kashrut concerns.

Shellac is derived from the secretions of the tiny lac insect. The lac insect secretes “lac-resin” from its glands onto a host tree. The resin is then gathered, crushed, sieved, washed and purified into food grade shellac. Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt’l explains in Igros Moshe Y.D. II 24 that shellac is Kosher. Rav Moshe zt’l discusses several reasons for this conclusion – most important the analogy between shellac -a secretion from a non-Kosher insect, and honey – a secretion from a non-Kosher insect. Honey is obviously Kosher and so is shellac.

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