Years ago, some brands of Worcestershire sauce as well as a few salad dressings were marked "OU fish". This meant that one was not allowed to use this sauce on a piece of meat or have it on the same plate with meat. Apparently, the Worcestershire sauce contained a trace of anchovies. The salad dressing had a trace of salmon or some other type of fish.

Wouldn't the trace amount of fish in the sauce or salad dressing be nullified by the less than 1/60 (bitul beshishim) rule that similarly applies to mixtures of meat and dairy? Also, the meat with fish is a minhag which seems less stringent than the meat with dairy concern. Why would there be a concern, then regarding using the sauce or dressing with meat?

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    How do you know it was trace amounts and not 2%?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 18:03
  • If someone mixed less than 1/60th of poison into your food, would you eat it?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 18:05
  • Bizarrely enough the Kitzur Yalkut Yosef (Inyanei Shmirt HaGuf V'hanefesh) writes that one utilizes bittul in 60 IIRC.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 18:57
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/62406
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 19:22
  • @msh210 the embedded sources within the answer to the related question may provide suitable info to answer this one. I don't have online access to those sources, otherwise, I'd be answering my own question.
    – DanF
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 19:49

3 Answers 3


As always, the answer is: "it's a machlokes!"

Open up a Shulchan Aruch to Yoreh Deah 116:2, where it says not to mix meat and fish.

The Taz's opinion is that because meat-and-fish is a health concern, we are stricter about it than normal kashrus prohibitions, therefore if you pour one ounce of fish juice into a hundred ounces of beef broth, you may not eat it.

The Nekudos HaKesef (written by his buddy, the Shach, and his son) argues. If the Talmud never gave any different guidance (as it does for all sorts of things that "aren't even batel in a thousand"), we default to the batel-by-60 policy. Okay, actual venom is not batel, but it never said anywhere that fish-with-meat is quite that dangerous!

Broadly speaking, we tend to follow the Shach (& co.) over the Taz in situations like this. And that's the OU's position.

Next time you go to the supermarket, take a careful look: the name-brand Worcestershire sauce is marked OU-Fish, while the generic brand is not. Both contain anchovies. The former has more than 1.6% anchovies by volume (i.e. is not batel), the latter does not.

Some Chasidim, however, follow the Taz's opinion. Tropicana makes (or at least made?) an orange juice with "extra Omega-3" derived from fish oil. It's marked OK-Fish. The OK put out a statement that the fish content is nowhere near 1.6% by volume so it's totally batel; however, the Fish warning is for those who follow the Taz's stringency that fish is not batel.

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    We were taught not to call earlier generations buddy. There's even a Gemoro about it. Just saying. Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 12:52
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    @DannySchoemann chas v'shalom I would call the Shach my buddy. I refer to him as Taz's "buddy" in a colloquial sense as he is the Taz's contemporary, peer, and baal plugta. Rabbi Zeira referred to Rabba's Golem as being "of chavrai"; Rashi says of the Biblical root chover chaver, "sorcery." But others translate: "you were made by our peers [lit.: pals]!"
    – Shalom
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 13:59
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    @DannySchoemann Where is that Gemara?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 15:40
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    @DoubleAA my guess (yes I'm putting words in Danny's mouth) is Sanhedrin 102b: רב אשי אוקי אשלשה מלכים אמר למחר נפתח בחברין אתא מנשה איתחזי ליה בחלמיה אמר חברך וחבירי דאבוך קרית לן?! מהיכא בעית למישרא המוציא אמר ליה לא ידענא א"ל מהיכא דבעית למישרא המוציא לא גמירת וחברך קרית לן א"ל אגמריה לי ולמחר דרישנא ליה משמך בפירקא א"ל מהיכא דקרים בישולא א"ל מאחר דחכימתו כולי האי מאי טעמא קא פלחיתו <לעבודת כוכבים> {לעבודה זרה} א"ל אי הות התם הות נקיטנא בשיפולי גלימא ורהטת אבתראי למחר אמר להו לרבנן נפתח ברבוותא
    – Shalom
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 15:52
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    @SethJ generally the Shach is considered sharper than the Taz (Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveichik used to comment about how sharp the Shach was), and he had the chance to respond to the Taz's comments. In an "even fight" between the two, I learned the tendency is to follow the Shach. Now if many more Achronim endorse the Taz on a given opinion, or if on a particular issue the Taz's arguments make a lot more sense, that's a different story.
    – Shalom
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 0:02

Bittul b'shishim only works when the ingredient is not essential to making the thing and is not intentionally added.

  • I don't see how this answers the question (and it's not so obviously true).
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 1:48
  • This is the Rashba's opinion. It's a good chumra but not the base halacha for most of us today.
    – Shalom
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 9:19
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 1:23

Obviously, intentionally adding an ingredient to a product is because it adds a beneficial flavor. "Notain ta'am lishvach'. In which case the concept of nullification by 1/60th is not applicable. The original intent was to indicate insignificance if the dilution occurred accidentally. The question posed earlier whether one would eat a dish that had less than 1/60th of poison added to it would depend on whether the poison would make one ill (or dead) and whether it added a beneficial flavor.

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya Dave! Thanks for sharing the answer.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 15:37
  • A couple of points here could be tightened up. For example the claims that ll additions are for flavor. In reality, some additions are for consistency. Adding the source for your other statements would be beneficial as well. Oftentimes one doesn't realize that something may not be so simple until one tries to find the source for it. Even if something is idea a clear cut halakha, adding sources for it strengths an answer. Hopefully you'll choose to stick around the site.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 15:40
  • You may be adding in the sauce only for the flavors from the other 98% of the ingredients.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 15:52

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