[Avodah] Government Shutdown and Chalav Yisrael

Zev Sero zev at sero.name
Fri Jan 11 10:42:14 PST 2019

On 11/1/19 5:52 am, Micha Berger via Avodah wrote:

> For the past 20 days, dairy farmers knew that no one from the FDA
> will be checking their milk.>> At what point do we say the assumptions behind 
allowing chalav stam
> broke down, and one needs to buy chalav yisrael?

First of all, the FDA does not inspect dairy farms or plants.  Neither 
does any other federal agency.  So in metzius your question doesn't 
begin.   However, let's suppose this was a state government that shut 
down, and the state inspectors were not making their rounds, and proceed 
from there.

If you're referring to RMF's heter for commercial milk, it does not 
depend on government inspection of farms; on the contrary, RMF assumed 
that there is no effective supervision of farms, since inspectors only 
come occasionally and the farmers are not afraid of them.   His heter 
originally focused on the regular presence of inspectors at the 
*processing plants*, and thus the need to bribe them if anything needed 
covering up, as well as the need to bribe plant workers not to report 
what they saw; this ensures that it would only be done if a large profit 
can be anticipated, which is not the case for adulterating cow milk with 
that of a tamei animal.

But by the end of the long teshuvah that ends the series dealing with 
this, RMF had moved away from even that requirement.  In explaining why 
it doesn't matter that there is no "yedi`a berura which is like seeing" 
about what the farmers are doing, he sets out the real core of his 
chiddush, which is that the whole gezera only applies to the last nochri 
who owned the milk before it passed into the hands of a Yisroel. 
Assuming there is no real worry about treife milk (in which case no 
gezera would be needed because it would be a safek de'oraisa), so long 
as we have "yisrael ro'eihu" (which he defines as yedi`a berura) that 
this last nochri didn't tamper with the milk, it is cholov yisroel and 
we don't care about the previous owners. Thus, he says, since we have 
this "re'iyah" at the plant we don't need it at the farm.

But once we accept this argument we can dispense with the plant 
inspectors too.   If we buy a sealed tamper-proof container of milk from 
our local bodega, leshitas RMF we have all we need.  We know as if we 
personally witnessed it that nothing happened to the milk from the time 
it passed into the bodega owner's hands until he sold it to us. 
Therefore according to RMF this is cholov yisroel even if the plant that 
processed and bottled or packaged it has no supervision at all, just as 
milk from an supervised plant is cholov yisroel even though it comes 
from an unsupervised farm.  So any interruption in the state inspection 
system, whether at the plants or at the farms, becomes irrelevant. 
Again, provided that there is no sofek de'oraisa, because if there is 
one then RMF says we are no longer talking about the gezera of cholov 
yisroel in the first place.

Zev Sero            A prosperous and healthy 5779 to all
zev at sero.name       Seek Jerusalem's peace; may all who love you prosper

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