[Avodah] Sugar can be processed with animal bones

Prof. L. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Tue Oct 20 05:53:24 PDT 2020

>From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis

Q. I have heard that sugar can be processed with animal bones. Is this true? Is this a Kashrus concern?

A. Incinerated animal bones (known as bone char) are used as a filtering aid for sugar to remove unwanted color. Since the bones are completely burned, they are not edible even for a dog (aino ro’ui liachilas kelev), and no longer have a non-kosher status. In truth, non-kosher animal bones can be used for filtering even if they have not been burnt. Although the Rambam (Hilchos Maachalos Assuros 4:18) writes that one may not eat bones from a non-kosher animal, Shulchan Aruch (YD 99:1) writes that if kosher food was cooked together with non-kosher bones (that have no marrow), the food remains kosher. This is because bones have no taste which would be imparted to the food. Although one might assume that this is only permitted bidieved (after the fact) but would not be allowed lichatchila, that is not correct. Sefer Panim Me’iros (3:33) writes that one may make utensils (e.g. spoons, ladles) from the bones of non-kosher animals and there is no concern, since bones do not impart taste. In our situation, the bones are filters and do not become part of the sugar, and there is no kashrus concern for the two reasons cited above.

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