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Worcestershire sauce is labelled "OU Fish", presumably so that people who don't know there are anchovies in the recipe will know not to put it on meat.

Given that "OU Fish" is a thing that exists, why aren't kosher marshmallows labelled the same way?

The gelatin in kosher marshmallows is typically made from fish bones. Regardless of whether those bones are considered edible, I thought they're the whole reason fish and meat can't be in the same dish / on the same plate.

Thank you for any illumination you folks can offer.

  • tvunah.org/… – wfb Sep 4 at 22:08
  • The information provided by the first answer is informative, but mostly in that it states that the OU lets companies label things "OU fish" to make things easy, regardless of the religious requirement to do so. I think that means that the marshmallow companies could certainly ask the OU for permission to use the "OU fish" labeling but since the OU is lenient and the manufacturers don't care to press the issue... Do I have that right? Is that the full answer? – sikorsky Sep 4 at 23:42
  • Also, I was thinking S'mores, but let's not forget American Thanksgiving, a day in which marshmallow on top of sweet potato often ends up on a plate next to or on top of turkey. We mix this item with a fish ingredient with meat every year. – sikorsky Sep 4 at 23:45
  • @sikorsky just another reason to not celebrate American holidays – Double AA Sep 5 at 1:03
  • @sikorsky - The OU seems to only allow this labeling when the same item - Worcestershire sauce - has some that are batul and some that are not batul. In the case of gelatin, all gelatin would be batul in their opinion. – פרי זהב Sep 5 at 16:46
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This article from Star K says in part:

Similarly, fish gelatin must be produced from a kosher species of fish if it is to be considered kosher. The use of fish gelatin with meat foods poses an interesting question. As previously noted, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 116) prohibits the cooking of meat and fish together due to health concerns. We tend to be more stringent when dealing with possible health issues than with concerns of Issur (prohibited substances). Therefore, there is a question among the commentaries as to whether or not the rule of one in sixty nullification applies to unhealthy substances just as it does with prohibited substances. The custom is that unhealthy substances become nullified at a ratio of 1 to 60 (see Nekudas Hakesef, Yoreh Deah 116 & Pische Teshuvah).

There are many reasons for leniency in the use of fish gelatin together with meat.

Many rabbinic authorities are of the opinion that the nature of some foods has changed, thus rendering the mixture of meat and fish no longer unhealthy (see Magen Avrohom Orach Chaim 173:1, Teshuvos Chasam Sofer vol:1 #101).

Furthermore, there is a rationalization that not all fish would be considered a dangerous mixture with meat. It may be that only the type mentioned in the Gemora (Binita) is unhealthy (see Pische Tshuvah, Yoreh Deah 116:3). It may also be maintained that the unhealthy aspects of fish cooked with meat are found in the flesh gelatin is made). [I suggest the author meant to write, “It may also be maintained that the unhealthy aspects of fish cooked with meat are found in the flesh while gelatin is made from the skin and bones.”]

Since gelatin may not have fish flavor, it may not harbor the harmful effects that fish may carry (see Pische Tshuva, Tshuvos Sride Eish vol:2 #67 re: cooking beef in fish oil).

With this same reasoning, we can say that gelatin can be batel (nullified) with a majority of other food ingredients and can be eaten with meat (according to R’ Aharon Kotler, zt”l regarding animal gelatin and milk).

For these reasons, it may be acceptable to use products containing fish gelatin with meat, or use the same reasoning to allow products containing animal gelatin with fish.

Thus there is no practical point in labelling marshmallows as OU fish.

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OUKosher writes here:

"Darchei Teshuvah cites two opinions as to whether the principle of bitul b’shishim applies to meat and fish – some hold that it does, while others argue that the halachos of sakanah/danger are stricter than those of issur/forbidden foods and bitul b’shishim doesn’t apply. This (and other related issues) lies at the crux of whether one may eat fish-based marshmallows with meat. Some Rabbis follow the lenient approach and rule that since the fish gelatin is batel b’shishim in the marshmallow, one may mix or cook it with meat, while others rule that bitul b’shishim doesn’t apply to these halachos. [Of course, if the fish gelatin isn’t batel b’shishim in the marshmallow, all opinions would agree that it can’t be eaten with meat]."

Regarding the Worcestershire sauce, OUKosher writes here:

"We noted in the past Halacha Yomis that there is a dispute whether fish is nullified in 60 parts. The OU follows the lenient position. As such, Worcestershire sauce that contains anchovies at a ratio of 1:60 may be labeled OU, without a fish designation. However, if the anchovies are more than one part in sixty of the sauce’s components, the product must be labeled OU-Fish."

"For simplicity’s sake, some companies prefer to label all their Worcestershire sauces with an OU-Fish symbol regardless of whether the amount of fish is nullified or not, and the OU accommodates such requests."

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