According to this article it is forbidden to do business with non-kosher food. Does this apply to "returning" non-kosher (md'oriassa) to a grocery store in exchange for a store credit (and/or a kosher/permitted item)?

(Assuming the grocer is a large publicly held company (i.e a non-jewish affiliated business))

  • 2
    Why would returning an item be considered doing business? I'd imagine that only denotes doing it regularly for profit.
    – robev
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 0:50
  • A better question might be if it’s Basar B’chalav does this constitute benefitting from it, though I assume the answer is the same negative.
    – DonielF
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 0:52

2 Answers 2


Unless it's meat-cooked-in-milk, it's fine. And let's assume you bought the non-kosher stuff by mistake.

The primary source cited by that article is the Gemara Pesachim, 23a:

תנן ציידי חיה ועופות ודגים שנזדמנו להם מינין טמאין מותרין למוכרן לנכרים שאני התם דאמר קרא לכם שלכם יהא אי הכי אפי' לכתחלה נמי שאני הכא

We teach: trappers of wild animals, birds, and fish who happen upon a non-kosher species [in their traps], are allowed to sell them to non-Jews. This is permissible because the verse reads of yours. If so, could one plan to sell non-kosher species as a business? No, that's different as the verse says ...

So if I intended to buy the kosher vegetarian can of soup, and mistakenly bought a non-kosher one that contains pork (let's assume it doesn't also contain milk), that's entirely analogous to our hunter who only wound up with non-kosher by mistake: he may absolutely get his money's worth out of it through a non-Jew.

  • 1
    Were it to contain pork, there would be no issue of basar bechalav, as pork is a beheimah temeiah Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 1:03
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt And, I would assume that most kosher meat / milk mixtures would use the batel beshishim rule. So, the likelihood of actually having a bonafide meat / dairy mix for typical grocery products may be minimal.
    – DanF
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 1:42
  • @Shalom what if it wasn't by mistake?
    – Fei23
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 4:00

The keyword here is "returning" - there's no such term in Halachah (Kinyanim), you either sell it back or invalidate the deal (as you never bought it in the first place).

  1. Selling back means you're allowed to "take pleasure" in that stuff (מותר בהנאה). For most non-kosher food it is allowed to possess it and therefore to sell it further (there are some regulations though, but they are not מעיקר הדין).

  2. If there was some sort of a fraud, for both sides, the deal can be invalidated, as it never happened in the first place, and therefore the non-kosher food never belonged to the Jew.

Therefore, either way, unless the food is "forbidden to enjoy" (like Chometz on Pesach) it's pretty Kosher to return (or sell back) any food to a store.

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