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A recent OU kashrut alert that I found on Kashrut.com says:

Kirkland Nature's Three Berries: Rader Farms, Inc.: This product bears a Half-Moon K symbol and should be used only for cooking and pureeing.

Why would cooking or pureeing be OK but other uses (presumably raw snacking) be not OK?

  • Now a major motion picture: youtube.com/watch?v=2AAOoGWZZ7A – Isaac Moses Mar 4 '10 at 6:48
  • it's shaatnez!! – Joel Spolsky Jun 17 '11 at 3:33
  • @Joel, Well, according to R' Hirsch, shaatnez represents the separation of the animal part of ourselves, "vital forces of cognition, will and striving," from the vegetable part, "nourishment, procreation, and all the stimuli, drives and actions associated with these," such that neither is subservient to the other. Of course, that doesn't normally stop us from mixing meat and vegetables in a culinary, rather than sartorial context. Actually, here, Shalom points out that more mixing, such that the animal is fully subsumed within the vegetable, is better. – Isaac Moses Jun 17 '11 at 14:34
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My guess is that it's a bug issue. Yuck.

If one bug was pureed (or cooked, assuming cooking breaks apart the bug) with several cups of berries, the ground-up bug is nullified ("batel") 1:60 by volume and you can eat the puree. This minute quantity of non-kosher ingredient, which isn't a flavoring, coloring, stabilizer, or enzyme, is not a problem.

However, as long as the bug remains whole, there's the rule that complete organisms ("berya") don't get nullified in large mixtures. There's a chance if you snacked raw that you'd consume a whole bug, hence a problem.

While we're on yuck factors -- there are notes online from Rabbi Tendler's lecture that the carp and whitefish back in Eastern Europe often contained parasitic worms. If you wanted to eat whitefish filet, you had to break apart the flesh to find the worms (which is what Rabbi Moshe Feinstein did). Conveniently, if you grind everything up and make gefilte fish, no more whole organisms, no problem.

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