We don't eat chocolate bars with no hechsher. What are we afraid might be in them, whether through the equipment or directly? Let's take the case of a dairy chocolate bar that wouldn't be served in the White House, to avoid bishul akum. And I'm assuming R' Moshe's heter for chalav stam.

In theory, there could be Israeli tevel cocoa beans or idol worship products, but as far as I know the only ones that are actually likely in the US involve products derived from meat.

The problem is that if the meat comes from a kosher animal, when the chocolate is heated to melt it this would become basar bechalav on a Torah level. We would have to avoid benefiting from the chocolate bar, not just eating it. I don't see any reason to expect that products derived from cow are much less likely to be there than products derived from pig, for instance, which wouldn't pose this problem.

Am I wrong, and pig products are much more common than cow products? Or is the reason we need a hechsher for chocolate bars something other than meat? Or do we require a higher standard of knowledge for eating than for benefit?

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    Who is "we" here?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 23:11
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    @DoubleAA For needing a hechsher to eat it, common practice that I've seen, and this website mentions chocolate chips scrollk.org/guide-to-kashrus-does-it-need-a-hechsher. For not needing a hechsher to benefit from it, also common practice. I've never heard of anyone being makpid on this, but correct me if I'm wrong.
    – Heshy
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 0:12
  • theguardian.com/business/2014/may/28/… Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 0:53
  • @joshwaxman that strengthens the question: why are we worried about possible pig DNA but not cow DNA? Is there any reason pig would be more likely to be there?
    – Heshy
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 1:07
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    Lard is a common oil additive, no? Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 1:08

1 Answer 1


There are many Biblical issues with food additives, both pig and cow based, which would prohibit consumption.

The food might contain a non-kosher species, such as pig or insect. The food might also contain a cow which was not slaughtered properly in accordance with the laws of shechita, which is a neveilah. Or it might contain forbidden fats, namely cheilev. These would be Biblical prohibitions for eating. (There are other possible eating concerns not mentioned.)

What about basar bechalav? According to the Dagul Merevava, based on the Rambam (Maachalos Asuros 9:6), one prohibition cannot apply on top of another prohibition. So if the cow is a neveilah (most likely), then there would be no prohibition of basar bechalav, and thus no prohibition of benefit.

So it seems fairly farfetched to assume an unlisted ingredient of prohibited material, plus that that material is specifically a kosher cow, in quantities that would render it a problem of basar bechalav.

  • I agree, according to the Dagul Merevava the question doesn't start. Do we follow him? I was always told that we can't benefit from a McDonald's cheeseburger, and I highly doubt they use kosher meat.
    – Heshy
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 11:25
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    that case, where we might act in accordance with Chasam Sofer and Pri Megadim, is one where we are certain that there is basar bechalav. Here there is only suspicion that it might be there. Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 11:56
  • @Heshy The Dagul Merevava is a pretty small minority opinion, who most don't rely on alone. The notion that in case of doubt one can rely on him lekhatchilah is made-up by the OP here AFAICT.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 16:40
  • @DoubleAA ok, that fits better with what I've heard. But what joshwaxman says is the first thing I've heard that justifies the common practice, so I'll leave it as accepted unless someone finds something better.
    – Heshy
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:16

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