How does Basar SheNith'alem Min Ha'Ayin (meat that has disappeared from view) apply vis a vis restaurants/delis/supermarkets/butchers that have closed for the night/weekend/holiday? I was just skimming these Halachoth the other day, so I'm no expert - but it seems to me that the Shulḥan 'Aruch, the RaM"A, the Tur and the Nosei Keilim are in general agreement that meat that is left unattended overnight is not permitted to be eaten, but there is some discussion as to whether it may be eaten if it was locked up and clearly marked (i.e. when you get back in the morning you see it in the same place with the markings you left on it, and you can assume it is your Kosher meat and not some other, non-Kosher meat). I believe it is explained that the primary concern is that an animal might have dragged away your Kosher meat and left a non-Kosher piece in its place.

  1. Is my understanding correct (it may be overly simplified, but is it generally correct)?
  2. How does this play out in a place where there is a large quantity of Kosher meat left overnight in a freezer or meat locker? Can large cuts of beef be left hanging in a large freezer overnight at the butchery or in a large restaurant's kitchen? Assuming the answer is yes, the kitchen/freezer is locked, what about where there is a non-Jewish security guard with a key? Especially assuming that the primary concern is an animal, is there also a concern with trusting the security guard?
  • Idk, I think so much transliterated hebrew makes it less likely for people to click on it.
    – HodofHod
    Jan 3, 2012 at 2:13
  • Ok, I think I'll change it, then delete my comments. youre welcome to delete yours if you like.
    – HodofHod
    Jan 3, 2012 at 2:28

4 Answers 4


I don't have an halachic source-text for this, but I know that this issue of unsupervised meat is avoided by having the meat doubly sealed. This is why airline meals have two seals, as well as why special tape and stamps are used to ship processed meat.

Also, I have in the past worked as a mashgiach in a meat processing plant. In addition my father used to own a deli/butcher shop, so this is what I've seen firsthand.

The raw meat in the processing plant was usually sealed in a combine (large cardboard or metal container). It was taped up and tagged in a way that only the mashgiach could do, and any tampering would be readily evident. The freezer or cooler in which it was kept is also locked, and only the mashgiach had the key. No security guard had access. The plant manager and quality control manager had access to the plant, but not to the cooler. Processed meat was doubly sealed in their shipping boxes, and any tampering would be readily evident.

The processed meat in the butcher shop was sealed in its labeled packaging. The unprocessed raw meat was usually sealed inside the shipping boxes it came in. That is one seal, and for the second, the door was kept locked, to both the cooler and the shop. Nobody else had a key.


there is a restaurant in London who place a seal on the door to the building. If there is entry the seal will be broken. this is one way around the issue.

  • Moshe, what would they do if they found the seal broken? Would they discard all the meat in their freezer?
    – Seth J
    Dec 1, 2011 at 14:16
  • good question - no idea. maybe theyu have other seals etc on freezers. Seems a bit silly to chuck out all the meat if someone breaks the door to steal money from the till Dec 1, 2011 at 14:26
  • @MosheYitzhak wouldn't be simpler to place a lock on the door? That's what they do in the places in America when I worked as Mashgiah... Dec 25, 2011 at 0:44

Basar shenisaleim min ha'ayin is only on foods such as meat that have been sent with a non reliable messenger. Not on foods that sat in one place and are still where they are supposed to be. The siman slips me at the moment, but its wherever its supposed to be; take a look at the Aruch HaShulchan on the matter.

  • 1
    Welcome to Judaism.SE and thank you for your answer! I haven't read it, but the Aruch HaShulchan discusses Basar SheNitaleim min HaAyin in Yoreh De'ah 63. Looking forward to seeing you around.
    – Double AA
    Dec 25, 2011 at 0:31
  • Actually, RB2, there are two prohibitions. One is, as you say, on meat sent via a gentile. The other, which AFAIK Ashk'nazim do not hold is a problem, is on meat that has not been guarded, even it was not sent. (Consult your rabbi for practical guidance, as always.) This question seems to be about the latter. See also judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/5771.
    – msh210
    Dec 25, 2011 at 3:49

From what I understand of the Shulchan Aruch Y"D 63:1, we are not concerned for basar shenitalem min ha'ayin in the following cases:

  • The meat was inaccessible by non-Jews and animals
  • There was a seal which allows you to know that the meat wasn't switched
  • You recognize the meat
  • There's some sort of "siman" or sign that it is yours: e.g. you always cut your meat in unique slices

In your question you assume that the primary concern is a wild animal. This is how the gemara in Hullin 95a understands, but Maran ruled like the Rambam (Ma'achulot Asurot 8:10-12) that we are concerned for non-Jews too, based on the Yerushalmi Sheqalim 7:2. The Ram"a seems to be more lenient if you find the meat in the exact spot you left it.

In a restaurant or butcher shop, I would assume that at least one of the criteria above is met, and therefore basar shenitalem min ha'ayin would not be a problem, even according to Maran.


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