Bitul Of Milk

REMA (Y.D. 99:6) writes that if a kezayis of milk fell into sixty k’zeysim of water, and then some of that water fell into a pot of meat, the meat would be permitted. Shach (Y.D. 99:22) quotes Rema in Toras Chatas that in this case, since the milk became batul unintentionally, one may even lichatchila add the water to meat. However, one may not intentionally be mivatel milk to cook with meat. Even though milk is heter, we still say ein mevatlin issur lechatchila if the intent is to be mivatel milk in order to cook it with meat. Therefore, if one did intentionally add a small amount of milk into their food, even though the milk is batul, they may not serve that food with meat. Cooking that food with meat would be a form of bitul issur which is forbidden for the one who does the bitul and for anyone for whom it was prepared on their behalf.

One can make a similar argument with regards to nat bar nat (dairy keilim). According to Rema, nat bar nat al yidei bishul (food cooked in dairy keilim), even if it was done accidentally, may not be eaten with meat. However, if the food was not cooked, but rather hot pareve food was just placed on a cold dairy surface, then this food may be served with meat. Still, Shach
(Y.D. 95:3) and Taz (Y.D. 95:4) write that even this may not be done with the intent of eating the food with meat. Doing so would be a violation of ein mevatlin issur lechatchila.

Rebbi Akiva Eiger (Y.D. 99:5) quotes Rivash that regarding an item that is intended for sale, we view the bitul as being done on behalf of the buyer. So if a Jewish company intentionally adds milk to a product, it is as though it was done with the consent of the buyer. This item may not be bought with intent to eat it with meat [1].

Even if a company is not Jewish owned, and is not liable to any k’nas, in most instances a mashehu of milk will still not be batul. Rebbi Akiva Eiger (Y.D. 99:6) points out, that according to Rif, even if a mashehu of milk fell into a pot of water, it would not be batul. This is because milk is a davar she’yaish lo matirin. Since the water can be served at a dairy meal, there is no need to serve it with meat. However, Rema does not pasken like the Rif, since we hold that a davar she’yaish lo matirin is batul when it is min bishe’aino mino, and milk and water are two separate minim. So in our case the milk will be batul in the water.

However, Shach (Y.D. 102:6) writes that an integral ingredient is considered min b’mino, even when mixed with many other ingredients. Accordingly, even a tiny amount of dairy in an otherwise pareve product, if it is a necessary part of the recipe, will make the product dairy. When dairy appears in any retail product, we should assume that it plays an integral role and is not batul.

EXAMPLE: Some English Muffins contain a mashehu of dairy (less than 1:60). They are labeled OU-D . It would be inappropriate to use these muffins as hamburger buns. Since the milk plays an integral role, it would be considered a davar she’yaish lo matirin and would not be batul. Bi’dieved, if one toasted the muffin with meat, since at this point it can no longer be eaten at a milchig meal, the milk will be batul.

It is for these reasons that the OU will require a product to be labeled OU-D no matter where it was made, or how small the amount of dairy which is added. Additionally, any product made on dairy equipment (nat bar nat), although it contains no dairy, must be labeled OU-D , since Rema holds that it may not be served with meat.

Beis Meir points out that there is an apparent contradiction between Toras Chatas (that permitted the water into which a mashehu of milk inadvertently fell) and what Rema writes in Y.D. 108:1 (where he is seemingly choshesh for the Rif). Shulchan Aruch says that bi’dieved reicha lav milsa (aroma is considered only a mashehu). Yet regarding bread that absorbed reicha from meat, Rema writes that if other bread is available, this bread should not be served with milk. If indeed the aroma of meat is only a mashehu, then it is already batul in the bread (min bishe’aino mino). Why then is there any restriction on serving it with milk? Why is this different than the water which contains a mashehu of milk which may be cooked with meat? Furthermore, Rema (Y.D. 95:3) writes that the minhag is not to use water which was cooked in a fleishig pot and stirred with a milchig spoon even if the spoon was an aino ben yomo.

Although technically the water should be permitted, Shach (Y.D. 95:14) explains that plain water is not significant, so it is always considered lichatchila. Therefore, regarding water we don’t follow the regular rules of bitul. If so, then why here
does Rema permit the water to be used?

The Beis Meir suggests that Rema retracted from what he had written in Toras Chatas, and holds that in fact one may not add the water to meat. Only bi’dieved, if the water is cooked with meat is it permitted, but lichatchila one must consider this water to be milchig. In light of the above, we can offer another approach. In the case of the bread, since it was intentionally baked in
the oven with meat, serving with milk would be bitul issur lichatchila. Only bi’dieved, if one cannot find any other suitable bread, may such bread be served with milk. Similarly, in the case of the water that was cooked in the meat pot and stirred with a milchig spoon, the cook was negligent. Therefore, in this case too it is inappropriate to rely on bitul, if it can be avoided. However, in our case, the kezayis of milk fell into the pot of water. This implies that it happened on its own; a complete accident. In this case there is no penalty, since there was absolutely no intentional bitul.

However, there is no chiyuv hamtanah (requirement to wait between meat and milk) for foods that were only cooked with dairy equipment or only contain a mashehu of dairy. These items may be eaten right after meat. Moreover, Rav Belsky has said that there is no issur in being mivatel milk to eat after meat. Chiyuv hamtanah is a restriction on the individual, not on the food. Provided that the food will not be cooked or eaten directly with meat, ein mevatlin issur lechatchila does not apply.

EXAMPLE: A certain “non-dairy” creamer contains about 3% sodium caseinate. If one adds a teaspoon of this creamer into a cup of coffee, it will be batul b’shishim many times over. Rav Belsky permits preparing such a coffee and drinking it at the end of a meat meal.

by Rabbi Eli Gersten, Recorder of OU Psak and Policy

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[1] Though a non-Jewish company would not be subject to this penalty, however one can argue that Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l’s (Igeros Moshe Y.D. II:41) concept of michuar ha’davar (that it is inappropriate to give hashgacha based on bitul issur) would apply. This is especially true for those who are makpid on cholov yisroel.