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Two different supermarket cashiers have expressed mild surprise at my willingness to put cold, packaged meat and cold, packaged cheese in the same shopping bag, explaining that other Jewish customers of theirs are careful not to.

Any idea why they might be careful about this (other than simple error)? Is there a basis for this stringency? Do any pos'kim (halachic decisors) recommend or require it — or, for that matter, mention it (with reference to modern shopping practices) as not required?

(SA YD 91:1 seems to almost explicitly permit the practice:

One's allowed to bundle [cold meat and cold cheese] in a single cloth [in such a manner as they're separated —Aruch Hashulchan]: we are not concerned that they may touch one another.

(That's my own translation and omits context and commentary. Certainly don't rely on it for practical halacha.))

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It's a chumra error, from a complete lack of understanding, or a desire to make kids fear ever mixing the two. –  avi Feb 26 '12 at 9:52
    
Are these Jewish supermarkets or regular ones? If regular ones they might just be confused. –  Double AA Feb 26 '12 at 14:43
    
The cashiers at my local kosher mart do this too, even though the meat and cheese are in packaging (so at best their wrappers would touch, not the actual meat or cheese). I've wondered about this too but never asked them about it. –  Monica Cellio Feb 26 '12 at 18:30
    
@DoubleAA, regular ones, but these stores don't sell kosher food except packaged, so there's nothing to have confused the cashiers. –  msh210 Feb 26 '12 at 19:11
    
seems like: meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/q/965/732 –  Shmuel Brin May 1 '12 at 1:18
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2 Answers

This is most certainly "a thing":

Shopping Bag One should preferably not put meat and dairy foods in one shopping bag. Meat and dairy foods may drip on one another. The wrappers of packaged meats may be fatty and touch other foods. Cottage cheese and yogurt containers may open and spill. (The Laws of Kashurs, Rabbi Binyomin Forst, page 361)

I have mixed feelings about the practice but it is certainly worth while to keep packages of raw meat away from other food.

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Do(es) you/it have any citations older than 20 years? I'm not sure what the concern really is. Any trace fat on the outside of meat packages is certainly batel, and if my cottage cheese spills all over the bag I won't be eating it anyway. –  Double AA Dec 10 '13 at 14:17
    
Not really, but contemporary forms of "grocery transportation" aren't exactly a classic model either. If I recall correctly R. Forst is a posek in his own right and is giving voice to something that is widely practiced informally, probably long predating his comments. Moving beyond his formulation, packages of raw meat can have a great deal of tzir on them which would still be enough to be batel but that is bedieved. Nevertheless health is a much more pressing reason to keep them separate. As I said in general I'm a little ambivalent on the question. –  Yirmeyahu Dec 10 '13 at 15:41
    
+1 and many thanks for the sourced answer! (Note incidentally that well-packaged raw meat should have no tzir on the outside. (It's a health issue, besides anything else.) Usually IME any liquid on the outside is condensed water; of course there are exceptions.) –  msh210 Dec 10 '13 at 16:32
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Yeah, generally speaking you are correct but I have rather extensive experience in this area and there is a significant minority which will have a significant amount of leakage even in the best oporations. –  Yirmeyahu Dec 10 '13 at 16:36
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There's definitely no de-oraitha and no de-rabannan prohibition. They're cold and they're packaged separated. As long as there is no leak, in each bag, I don't see how there could be any problem.

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You don't see a problem with it. I don't see a problem with it. The questioner didn't see a problem with it. But he was asking if anyone does, not if anyone agrees with him. –  Double AA Feb 26 '12 at 14:23
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@DoubleAA, good point. I asked a question that might have no answer. I've now edited it. –  msh210 Feb 26 '12 at 19:12
    
@msh210 what changed? (the changelog says that you just changed tags) –  Shmuel Brin May 1 '12 at 16:23
    
@ShmuelBrin I'm not sure what you're asking. –  msh210 May 1 '12 at 16:36
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