Halachically Speaking: Fruit Smoothies – Yogurts

7

HalachicallyMany times a kosher consumer wishes to purchase a fruit smoothie in a specific store which is kosher certified or a store which only makes fruit smoothies and is not kosher certified. One sees pieces of strawberries in kosher certified yogurt etc. May one drink a fruit smoothie with strawberries or other fruits which have a concern of insects. Can one eat the yogurt with pieces of strawberries etc? In addition, are jams with pieces of strawberries permitted to be used – are the strawberries checked. This issue will be dealt with in this article.  

 

Background

If more than fifty percent of the product has bugs then it is muchzak (which means that most of the time one will find a bug in the specific item) with bugs and it is an issur d’oraisa to eat. If it is more than 10 percent (see below) then it is called a miyut hamatzuiand is an issur d’rabbanan[1] to eat it without prior checking.[2] The Rashba[3] says that any item which it is possible that a bug to found in one has to check, and if one does not do so it is forbidden to eat the item until it is checked. A product which has less than ten percent of bugs permitted to be eaten with checking.[4] Nonetheless, the Chochmas Adam[5] says “it is proper for a person to check what he eats because in this way one will save himself from many bugs, I can testify on myself that many times I was saved from this” [by checking first].

 

 

 

 

Cooked

The Shulchan Aruch[6] says if a bug is cooked without being checked then one should check it if not then the food is permitted to be eaten b’dieved.[7] The Shach[8] says this is based on a sfek sfeika. One sofuk is if there are any bugs and the other sofek is maybe they are smashed). The Pri Megadim[9] clearly says that this would not apply to fruits or vegetables which are muchzak b’toloyim, since it is an issur d’oraisa to eat from such fruits etc without prior checking.[10] Some poskim argue with this and maintain even if the fruit is muchzak to have bugs one can cook it up based on the reasoning of the Shach.[11] The accepted custom is like the Shach.[12]Fruits or vegetables which are “common” to have bugs, but are not muchzak would also fall into the Shach’s heter.

 

Pureed

The Shulchan Aruch[13] says a “berya” is forbidden to be eaten, but this only refers to a whole one, and a broken one is permitted. The Shulchan Aruch[14] says if a berya is crushed and the form of the berya is not found it is permitted.[15] The Gr’a[16] says this is not referring to the issur of eating bugs, but whether or not it is considered an honorable food. Most poskim argue with the Gr’a.[17]

 

This heter would not concur with the rule that is commonly known as mevatel issur l’chatchilah.[18] The only time we say that we can’t be mevatel issur l’chatchilah is when we have intent to do so.[19]    Additionally, we say ein mevatel issur l’chatchilah when we want the crushed item to be crushed just for the fruit to be crushed.[20] When a hechsher is given on a product which is pureed they are not doing it because we told them to do it.[21] Therefore, it is not considered having intent to be mevatel issur l’chatchilah.In addition, the Taz[22] says if there is an easier way to accomplish the same goal without being mevatel the issur then it is not considered “not having intent to be mevatel.” However, many times when dealing with frozen fruits and vegetables it is impossible to check them therefore, the Taz’s stringency would not apply. However, by fresh produce it can be checked and one is obligated to do so.[23]

 

Not Pureed – Jam  (see below)

Many times in yogurts there are pieces are fruit in the product which are not pureed. If so the heter of a berya being crushed is not applicable here because maybe there is a bug in this part of the fruit. The same question is relevant to making jams since the fruit is not pureed.[24] However, we can be lenient since by the time their product reaches the company which makes the jam the product is nomuchzak since they are washed according to the FDA standards. Therefore, even raspberries can be made into a jam without being pureed since it is a miyut hamatzui. Based on this reasoning there is very few frozen items which would be a muchzak when the company receives the product.[25]

 

Frozen Produce

Frozen strawberries and raspberries can be checked but it is more difficult to check for bugs. Even if a product has many bugs in the field as mentioned before by the time they reach the consumer they are not muchzak.[26] Especially since frozen strawberries are washed before they are frozen. Therefore, for the most part frozen strawberries are considered a miyut sh’eino mutzei.[27]

 

Bitel

Normally something which is forbidden is permitted if there is sixty times the amount of issur in the mixture (about 1.6% of the whole mixture). Some say since an inspection can detect a bug it is not considered a mixture, and are not subject to the halachos of bitul. In addition, an insect is a berya (when not cooked, crushed) and a berya is not butel.[28] The Aruch Ha’shulchan[29] in explaining why many do not check for bugs offers the following reasoning: Firstly he says that insect mixed in vegetables are a mixture and subject to the halachos of bitul. Secondly, he quotes a number of poskim who say that bugs are butel in close to 1000. Lastly, he says that the laws of beryah may not apply to something which is discussing to a person, such as a bug. This is only a limud zechus on those who do not check produce before eating it.

 

Aside from the entire above discussion we may be lenient with the above based on the following paragraphs.

 

Miyut Hamatzui

We have previously established that if a fruit or vegetable has a possibility of having ten percent bugs then one has to check it before eating it. The Mishkanos Yaakov[30] is the one who came up with the number of ten. The Rivash[31] says the shiur is close to fifty percent. The Shevet Ha’Levi [32] argues with the Mishkanos Yaakov and holds even if it is less than a ten percent chance one has to check the produce.

 

The earlier poskim do not discuss how we figure about the miyut hamatzui. Do we look at every fruit and say if ten percent of this specific fruit has bugs, or do we go after how much one normally buys, or cooks at one time. In addition do we figure according to how much one eats one or how much his house eats?[33]

 

The opinion of the Chasam Sofer[34] is that one has to check every fruit individually to see if it has the shiur of miyut hamatzui. The opinion of Horav Elyashiv Shlita is that the shiur is calculated according to the amount of produce one buys.[35] Harav Wosner Shlita says it is calculated according to the amount of produce that one normally would check for bugs. Harav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l[36] says regarding lettuce that it is calculated according to the head of lettuce.[37]

 

Harav Shachter Shlita says it is calculated according to a serving size. Therefore he holds if there is one bug in ten serving then it is called “miyut hamatzui.”[38] The serving size referred to here means each individual serving.[39]

 

According to the Chasam Sofer mentioned above one can cook fruit into a jam even if there are bugs in the jam because the chances of it having fifty percent or even ten percent, in every fruit are not likely.[40] However, in practice it is believed that all berries used for these products are miyut hamatzui.[41]

 

Rabbi Falk Shlita[42] has a different approach he says any amount of bugs in a piece of fruit which is not a surprise to a person is amiyut hamatzui. A miyut which is not common is something which is a “new” thing to you and not known before. This is something one would not have to check.

 

Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlita holds that one determines if a specific fruit or vegetable is a miyut hamatzui only after it has been washed etc.[43]

 

Conclusion Regarding Buying Smoothies and Yogurts With Strawberries – Raspberries[44]

 

Smoothies– We mentioned above the background to the issues of bugs and fruits. Practically speaking the following is what emerges: For smoothies that call for fresh strawberries one can be lenient and eat it since it is pureed and there is no concern of “ein mevatlinissur,” since the one making the smoothies is not doing so with intent to crush the bugs. If frozen strawberries are use one may purchase the fruit smoothie as well since frozen strawberries are considered a miyut sheino mutzei and are permitted. In regard to raspberries in smoothies: Frozen raspberries are considered a miyut hamatzui and one can use them in the smoothie because it is pureed. The same is true for fresh raspberries.

 

In regard to buying Jams – Jams are made my taking strawberries etc and cooking them as well as adding other ingredients to the mixture. In most cases frozen strawberries etc are used. As mentioned above frozen strawberries are a miyut sh’eino mutzei and are permitted. In regard to raspberry jams since frozen raspberries are a miyut hamatzui and this is being cooked one can rely on the sfeik sfeika above.

 

Yogurts – When manufacturing yogurts frozen strawberries are used since we maintained before than frozen strawberries are a miyut sh’eino mutzei it is permitted to purchase yogurts with strawberry pieces.

 

 

 

Purchasing Smoothies at a Non-Certified Smoothies Store – Stand

One is passing by a fruit smoothie stand and wishes to know if he may purchase a fruit smoothie without certification. If they use frozen strawberries and raspberries as part of their smoothie it is permitted as mentioned above. However, although this may be the case it is still not advisable to buy from such a stand unless you know that the only items they make on the machine is cold smoothies and no other fruit juices are added to the mix. In all cases some juice has to be added to facilitate the pureeing of the fruits. One must make sure that there is no other fruit juices just water used since fruit juices can be an issue of non-kosher.  If one is interested in buying it at a store which makes others items as well as smoothies one would be permitted to purchase a smoothie at the location without it being under a reliable hechsher if one makes sure the utensils are washed properly being that the process is cold.

 

Jamba Juice Stores

Jamba juice stores are located in many locales across the country. They are a chain store which makes smoothies. They use IQF produce and the entire process is cold. When dairy non-kosher item is used in a smoothie they wash out the blender with a brush water and soap, and it goes through a sanitation wash. If this is the mechanics one would be able to purchase a fruit smoothie from their stores. Recently they have added hold blends which are heated in a separate are but placed in the smoothie blender.[45] It is difficult to ascertain how hot the mix gets and if this has an effect on the cold smoothie blender. As maintained above the smoothie machine is sanitized. However, even though the utensil was hot now that it is cold and the transfer of taste will not have an effect on the cold smoothie.

 

 

Notes:

 

Frozen Strawberries – not a miyut hamatzui and is a miyut sh’eino mutzei, Fresh miyut

 

Jam frozen – no problem because of eino mutzeiSmoothie – Purred.

 

Fresh Strawberries – Miyut Hamatzui

 

Fresh Raspberries – Can’t clean it properly Miyut Hamatzui, Frozen same as Fresh

Sfek Sfeika Jam, Smoothies Raspberry Pureed.

 

Yogurt – Strawberry – frozen miyut sheinu mutzei.

 

 

 



[1] Refer to Shach Y.D. 39:8, Sifsei Da’as 84:28,

[2] Shulchan Aruch  84:8, Gr’a 22. Refer to Igros Moshe Y.D 1:35, Bedikas Hamozon K’halacha page 153.

[3] 1:101.

[4] Shach 84:23, Sifsei Da’as 23, Bedikas Hamozon k’ahalcha page 117. Refer to OU Guide to Preparing Fruits and Vegetables page 15, Rabbi Falk on checking fruits and vegetables page 4.

[5] 38:20.

[6] Refer to Y.D. 84:9.

[7] Refer to Mishkanos Yaakov Y.D. 17, Aruch Ha’shulchan 72.

[8] Y.D. 84:29, see Taz 14.

[9] Sifsie Da’as 29. See Chachmas Adom 38:5.

[10] Chuchmas Adom 38:5. Refer to Rashba 1:101.

[11] Yalkut Yosef page 213. See ibid:pages 209-210.

[12] Refer to OU document C-27.

[13] Y.D. 100:1, Chuchmas Adom 52:6.

[14] !01:6. See Shach 15, Be’er Heitiv 14,

[15] Aruch Ha’shulchan 101:22.

[16] 101:17.

[17] Yalkut Yosef 84:page 244.

[18] Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 99:2. The Shach 7 says this is a issur d’oraisa. Refer to Pischei Teshuva 3.

[19] Refer to Shulchan Aruch 101:6, Chuchmas Adom 52:9.

[20] Refer to Shach 84:38.

[21] The reason why annulling an issur by bugs is more lenient than other areas is because usually one is gaining a piece of meat etc by annulling theissur, but by bugs it is done because of the bother to check and the bugs are disgusting to you (Opinion of Horav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach at”l quoted in Bedikas Hamozon K’halacha page 182).

[22] Y.D. 138:14. See Ha’elef Lecha Shlomo Y.D. 186.

[23] OU Guide to Preparing Fruits and Vegetables page 16, OU document sent by Rabbi Dovid Polsky Shlita.

[24] The Steipler zt”l said if one checked jam for bugs (when possible) and did not find any he does not have to check every jar (Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 74:23).

[25] Opinion of Rabbis Shlomo Gissinger Shlita as related by Rabbi Ari Senter Shlita.

[26] Refer to OU Document C-10.

[27] As per Rabbi Dovid Bistricer Shlita (RC on Produce etc for OU).

[28] Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 101:1.

[29] Y.D. 100-13-18.

[30] Y.D 17.

[31] 191.

[32] 4:81.

[33] Bedikas Hamozon K’halacha page 117.

[34] Y.D. 2:77.

[35] Refer to Bedikas Hamozon K’halacha pages 173-175, OU madrich pages 115-116.

[36] Bedikas Hamozon K’halacha page 179.

[37] Bedikas Hamozon K’halacha page 117.

[38] OU document C-23, C-68.

[39] OU document C-68.

[40] Rabbi Falk on checking fruits and vegetables page 10:footnote 27:4. Refer to Binas Adom 37 who says if three bugs are found in one barrel it is muchzak. Horav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l seems to say that this would not be true if it is a fruit which has bugs. (Bedikas Hamozon K’ahalacha page 182).

[41] As per Rabbi Dovid Bistricer Shlita (OU Rabbinic Coordinator).

 

[42] In his kuntres on checking fruits and vegetables page 10:30.

[43] OU document C-67.

[44] I want to thank Rabbi Dovid Bistricer Shlita (OU Rabbinic Coordinator) for his time in reviewing this article and providing me with the above information.

[45] Based on a phone conversation with a Jamba Juice Representative (7-08-10).

 




7 COMMENTS

  1. Does anyone seriously believe that a “smoothie” does not require a hecksher? Given that some additivies commonly used in such products are definitely treff (e.g. ground up bugs used for food coloring), or course a hecksher is required. The article has interesting lamdus (scholarly discussion), but the question is one no frum person would ever ask. Any processed food requires a hecksher.

  2. #1 akuperma – You are absolutely wrong. A smoothie made only of fresh fruits does NOT need a Hechsher. If it’s made in front of you out of those fruits, then you, essentially, are the Mashgiach of the conversion from fruit to smoothie. The issue of insect infestation can be an issue, and is discussed in the article, but you’re way off base in your contention.

    an Israeli Yid

  3. I created an account just to write this comment. I worked at Jamba Juice (awhile back) and they scoop powder ‘boosts’ into every single smoothie. You order, and they ask which boost you want.
    None of the boosts are kosher and in fact, several have ground shellfish as the first ingredient. The yogurts and juices are also not certified kosher.
    Since it’s a loose powder and the boost station is next to the blenders, I’d stay far away.
    If you feel the need to blend plain, frozen fruits with water (and it’s not a smoothie in that case, it’s really not-good tasting) the benefit is not worth the serious risk of consuming tref.

  4. My favorite kashrus comment of all-time was made by Rabbi Beryl Levy ZT”L, founder of the OK. He said, “The only foods that need kosher supervision are those you eat.”

    Purim time.
    1) By the way, do you know what is worse than finding 1/2 a worm in an apple? Finding 1/4 of a worm. (That was a math joke.)
    2) If Rashi ate fish in Worms, why can’t we eat worms in fish?

  5. If someone grinds up some fruit in front of you, then that isn’t really a manufactured good. You have to ask if the machine was ever used for anything else, and check out the goods themselves, but that’s not the issue discussed. Most smmothies comes in a bottle from a major manufacturer, and like most manufactured goods, it needs a hecksher.

  6. #6 akuperma – did you bother to read the VERY FIRST SENTENCE in the article? In case you missed it, here it is:

    “Many times a kosher consumer wishes to purchase a fruit smoothie in a specific store which is kosher certified or a store which only makes fruit smoothies and is not kosher certified.”

    Hmm, sure sounds to me like we’re talking about a smoothie that’s being “manufactured” right in front of the consumer, and NOT coming out of a bottle.

    an Israeli Yid