The concern of basar shenitaleim is that, somehow, kosher meat, unguarded and not recognizable, could be replaced with non-kosher meat. However, chicken, fish, milk and cheeses, and even vegetables all have analogues which look like the kosher version but are not necessarily kosher.

Does this only apply to (red) meat and if so, why?

  • Perhaps it’s easier to tell the difference between treif milk and kasher milk (one’s more yellowish) than treif meat and kasher meat (which might look identical as the meat was from a neveilah)? But then why isn’t it a concern by poultry? (Is it not a concern for poultry? I’ve never heard of it as such, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t.)
    – DonielF
    Feb 6, 2019 at 19:42
  • I recall hearing that part of the reason we're worried about Basar Shenisaleim Min Haayin is that we're afraid that someone may have wanted to try a good piece of Kosher steak, and replaced it with a cheaper non-Kosher alternative so that the taking wouldn't be noticed. For (generally and relatively) non-Expensive foods like milk and cheese, we're not worried that someone would take it if they could easily and cheaply get their own food legitimately. Feb 6, 2019 at 20:01
  • @Salmononius2 the difference between two pieces of cheese may not be at all visible (and cholov yisroel looks the same as non-cholov yisroel -- should people who are medakdeik there be concerned?)
    – rosends
    Feb 6, 2019 at 21:30
  • I seem to recall that either the prohibition of meat hidden from sight or the prohibition of meat entrusted to a non-Jew — I forget which — applies according to some to fish also. And maybe cheese?
    – msh210
    Feb 6, 2019 at 22:20
  • @rosends I probably wasn't clear, but the point I was trying to say is that we're worried that someone would steal an expensive Kosher piece of meat, and in order to cover his tracks, will replace it with a similar but cheap non-Kosher meat. But we're not worried that someone would steal and replace Kosher cheese, since the minor extra expenses for one to buy Kosher cheese vs non-Kosher cheese is not worth resorting to theft and deception. Feb 6, 2019 at 23:02

1 Answer 1


It applies only to red meat(like cow, sheep, goat, deer, bull, ox, etc) and poultry(like chicken, turkey, duck, etc); and not to fish, milk, cheeses, fruits/vegetables, or other food items.

The concern is either a financial one in that since kosher meat is harder to come by and process, that it may have been switched for a cheaper, non-kosher version; or, a circumstantial one where ravens or rodents may have switched it. Even in a place where only kosher meat is available or they cost the same, the rule still applies mi'd'rabanan. See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 63 for more information.

Regarding simanim for kosher foods that were sent in the hands of a non-Jew; lechatchila we need two for meat, chicken, and wine, and one for fish. B'diavad, one may accept them with one sign and no suspicion of tampering(in cases of need).

See here for some more(but not inclusive) information:http://www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/halacha/Issue6.pdf.

For a practical ruling, please contact your local orthodox rabbi.

  • that information sheet calls forth the talmudic concern about the bird replacing the meat and mentions the financial concern regarding those items which require two seals which includes more than just meat ("Wine requires two seals because everyone likes wine and there is a concern of switching it for non-kosher wine"). I don't see where it isolates meat as a financial/quality concern. Is there a clear source that that is the reason and limitation?
    – rosends
    Feb 7, 2019 at 19:05
  • We are more strict with wine because it borders with avodah zara(like bitul b'shishim, not that it costs more). Regarding the financial reason, there are many clear sources(I just don't recall them; I need to work on sourcing. I just felt it was more important to remember the concept as opposed to where I read it). The "bird" reason was mentioned in seif 2 of siman 63 in SA YD for pieces of meat, but not for the prohibition. I assume some poskim attributed the underlying reason for the prohibition to that ta'am. If I find a clearer source, will add it iy"H, b"n. Feb 7, 2019 at 19:13
  • See edit including "bird" reason. I didn't find a source claiming a financial reason, yet. It was a reason I heard about six years ago that made sense to me as the real reason behind the restriction because of all kosher foods, meat is the hardest and most expensive to produce, so it made sense that that could be the reason. Feb 7, 2019 at 19:30
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    The problem I see is that the bird reason would not be logically limited to red meat and there is still the issue of that quote in my earlier comment indicating that there is a similar concern of switching with wine.
    – rosends
    Feb 7, 2019 at 19:33
  • You're right...which is why the financial reason made sense to me. See Ba'er Heitev 6 on SA YD 63 for the financial reason. Feb 7, 2019 at 19:36

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