If the taste of something is like the thing itself, why are things flavored to taste like treif often Kosher-certified?

For example, Ritz crackers has a kosher bacon-flavor.

I understand that the thing you're tasting is not itself the treif item, but if taste is what is important, why does this matter?

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    Because it's not the taste of non kosher food, but the taste of kosher food which just happens to supposedly be the same flavour as that non kosher food. The principle in question applies to enough of the non kosher substance to taste. – mevaqesh Dec 3 '17 at 7:25
  • How can we ever eat kosher beef if it tastes just like Nevelah? – Double AA Dec 3 '17 at 12:25
  • the taste being refered to here is taste that comes from the forbidden item For example if treif is cooked in a pot the taste becomes absorbed by the pot. Then even though that pot no longer has the treif in it the pot is still not kosher b/c it retains the taste from the trief until it is kashered. – Laser123 Dec 4 '17 at 1:06

An item is not forbidden because of its taste. The taste of the item is only used to recognize what it is. Since the item itself is kosher, there is no problem. As we see, kosher items that tasted like non-kosher items were known in the time of the gemara.

The gemara Chullin 109b explicitly says that there are kosher fish or animals that taste the same as non-kosher animals.

Chabad.org cites this

Alternatively, according to the Gemara (Chullin 109b), for whatever Hashem forbids us in the Torah, there is something similar that is permissible. For instance, though we are forbidden to eat pork, it is permissible to eat the brain of a fish called “shibota” (mullet), which tastes exactly like pork.

Art Scroll Chullin 109b3

Yalta said to Rav Nachman, her husband: Now, let us see, - whatever the Merciful forbade us, He permitted us something corresponding 11

11 For every food or act which the Torah permitted, there is another food or act from which the same pleasurable sensation as that resulting from the forbidden food or act can be derived, and yet is permitted (as Yalta will proceed to illustrate). This was purposely planned by Hashem, so that we would recognize that His intention was not in order to deny us the pleasure inherent in that item. (Chochmah L'Mussar 2:27, cf. Maharal, Chidushei Agados, Shelah, BeAsarah Maamaros, Maamar 3 and 4, Michtav MeEliyahu* vol. 1 pg. 263)

  • Why would a hashgacha do away with the issue of maris ayin? I recently asked the OU about their policy re maris ayin and the best I could decipher from their answer was that they are only interested in certifying the ingredients, not the final product. I would suspect that many mainstream kashrut organizations are no better. – Loewian Dec 3 '17 at 14:30
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    @Loewian I gave the example of the nondairy creamer with the container on the table. Since the hashgacha is there and visible there should be no problem with someone thinking that it is not kosher. Consider the example in the gemara of almond milk with the almonds floating in it. – sabbahillel Dec 3 '17 at 14:39
  • What does the hashgacha then have to do with anything? It could be uncertified and still clearly non-dairy? Also, how would a tiny symbol printed on a nearby box be equated to almonds floating in the "milk"? I think your answer as it stands makes it sound like one can eat fake crab just because there was a symbol printed on the already discarded package. – Loewian Dec 3 '17 at 14:56
  • @Loewian OK I will remove the reference to ma'aris ayin if it is confusing. since the question does not deal with it at all. The idea was that the hashgacha shows that the contents are kosher. Someone wanting to purchase it, would then be able to recognize that it is kosher. The container was just put there to show that the caterer was being careful and the mashgiach knew about it. – sabbahillel Dec 3 '17 at 15:03
  • On the contrary, I think maris ayin is closely related and certainly worthy of mention. I was only saying that the way you presented it, one might be led into thinking that there is no concern of maris ayin if there is a kosher symbol on the package (i.e. kashrus agencies take the laws of maris ayin into account when they certify a product as "kosher"). Unfortunately, this does not necessarily appear to be the case. – Loewian Dec 4 '17 at 3:44

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