Bitul

Although the OU does not allow bitul of non-kosher ingredients, still there are two situations were it is relevant to ascertain whether an ingredient is batel:

  • Kashering keilim: if a product is made with a non-kosher ingredient that is batel and will not give ta’am, then there is no need to kasher the equipment.
    • This is true even if the non-kosher item is a davar hama’amid, a beryah, or gives chazusa
  • Bedieved: if an issur was inadvertently added to a product. While the decision of how to react should be left to the office, accurate information is essential.

Determining whether an ingredient is batel is much more than evaluating ratios. There are numerous halachos that may be involved which require a thorough knowledge of Yoreh Deah. The following are some points to keep in mind when determining if a non-kosher ingredient is batel:

In determining if an ingredient is batel, one must make sure that the ingredient was added to the batch at a point when there was sufficient heter to be mivatel that item. Otherwise even if the ingredient subsequently becomes less than shishim, it may not be batel because of Chanan.1 Therefore, it is not sufficient to know the proportions but one must know the batching process as well.

If a product contains two non-kosher ingredients (e.g. gevinas akum and stam yeinam), so long as each ingredient is batel b’shishim in the product, it does not matter that their combined volume is not batel.2

Bitul is always calculated based on volume not weight. Most often companies report ingredients in terms of weight; this must be converted to volume.

When converting to volume a point to keep in mind is that not all ingredients take up the same amount of volume before and after they are added to a mixture. For example: When a ½ cup of milk is added to 1 cup of flour, the resulting dough will be approximately 1 cup. The milk is absorbed in the flour and may add little or no volume. Rather than viewing the milk as being 1/3 of the volume of the dough, it should be considered to be 1/2 of the dough. Even if the dough subsequently rises to triple its size, we view all of the ingredients as expanding uniformly. Therefore, the dough will remain 50% milk.

It is common for dry milk powder to be used in place of liquid milk in many products. Although milk powder is a more concentrated form of milk, we still consider it to be batel b’shishim, similar to why we consider cheese to be batel b’shishim even though it is a also a more concentrated form of milk.3 (A notable exception is grape juice concentrate which must first be reconstituted before evaluating bitul).4 If the dairy ingredient gives a noticeable taste then it is not batel even if it is less than 1.6%.

If the non-kosher ingredient can be separated, it is not batel. Therefore, if non-kosher oil is added to a water-based liquid, unless an emulsifier was added the oil will separate from the water. Even if the oil is less than 1.6% of the product it will not be batel because it can be separated.5 However, provided the oil remained mixed in the product, there would be no need to kasher the kailim. Likewise powders will become batel in other powders provided that they cannot be separated.6 If the non-kosher powder is a coarser consistency that can be separated with a sieve then it will not be batel. Even if a non-kosher powder is not batel in kosher powders, we do not say Chanan.7 Therefore, if additional ingredients were added, the non-kosher powder can still be batel b’shishim.

If oil is sprayed on the surface of a product, it will not be batel, since the oil remains b’en. If oil is baked into the surface, the oil will only be batel if there is 60 times its volume in the outer layer of the product.

In Summary:

  • There must be shishim at the time when the ingredient is added.
  • Each different non-kosher ingredient is batel b’shishim even if their combined total is not batel b’shishim.
  • Bitul is always calculated by volume. When calculating volume of ingredients in the product it is important to realize that volumes can change.
  • An ingredient is only batel if it is uniformly distributed throughout the product. If it remains distinct or can be separated, it is not batel.
  • Powdered milk is batel according to its current volume.
  • Powders can be batel in other powders.
  • We do not say Chanan regarding mixtures of powders.

  1. Most issurim can create Chanan; however one notable exception is chalav stam.

  2. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 98:9.

  3. We evaluate each ingredient based on the form in which it presents itself. Chazal did not say that every item will give ta’am until 60 times but rather that we use 60 as a lo plug. However, if the ingredient does indeed give ta’am, it is not batel just like an avida l’ta’ama is not batel.

  4. Wine that is reconstituted to its natural form is considered to be wine for all purposes. It will only become batel if it is diluted six parts more.

  5. Rama Y.D. 98:4.

  6. Mishna Berurah 453:25.

  7. N-25: Rav Belsky explains that we only say Chanan when there is a transfer of ta’am. This does not take place when powders are mixed.