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There are a number of manufactured fruit drinks that have trace amounts of grape juice that are less than 1/60 of the volume of ingredients. (A way to tell is when the product label states the percentage of grape juice.)

This Star_K article says:

Avoda Zara – An idol, or anything used in the service of idolatry including wine,31 is not batel.

But Note 31, there says:

This is known as yayin nesech. For conditions and details, see Y.D. 134. Note that the halachos of wine that is prepared or touched by an akum (stam yaynam) are different.

So, my question - Considering that the grapes are most likely pressed by machinery in the processing plant, it's doubtful that a Gentile has touched the grape juice at all. Would this, then be considered stam yaynam, or what? In short, can a Jew drink this juice product?

Assuming that the grapes were pressed by non-Jews, can Jews use the product if the juice is less than 1/60 of the volume?

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    relevant: oukosher.org/blog/kosher-professionals/… – mbloch Feb 7 at 7:13
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    @mbloch Thanks. Very good, useful article. – DanF Feb 7 at 15:36
  • I was at a whiskey tasting where the expert was talking about bitul yayin. He said that actually with yayin stam, it's 1/6, not 1/60, and that serious British and American poskim allow wine to be intentionally added to scotch/whisky respectively (but not the other one -- that is, there are American poskim who allow wine in whisky, but not in scotch, and British poskim who allow in scotch and not whisky...) I don't have a source for any of this so I'll leave it here as a comment – Charles Koppelman Feb 8 at 3:37
  • In a case where the juice is able to become botel the typical rule of 1/60 isn't needed but 1/5 would be a sufficient ratio – Dude Feb 8 at 13:17
  • "touched by an akum" ... "a Gentile" Is it really necessary to call all Gentiles AKUM— Obhde Kokhabkim U Mazzaloth ("worshipers of stars and planets") in this day and age? That Gentiles can't touch anything without 'contaminating' food is .. sufficient. – SolaGratia Feb 9 at 15:51
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One should note that the bitul you are referring to can only take place if the grape juice (as in your example) was added accidentally. In the case that you mention, the grape juice was a deliberately added ingredient and any attempt to calculate bitul is invalid.

As an example we see the Vaad of Denver Does it need a hechsher

Juices – Apple, cranberry, grapefruit, orange, and pineapple juices, shelf stable requires reliable certification. Refrigerated, fresh or from concentrate, does not require certification at the present time, provided that they do not have any added questionable ingredients, such as flavorings, colors, grape juice or glycerin. However, we recommend that you purchase juices that do bear reliable certification, since changes in ingredients or production procedures can take place at any time. Grape, prune and tomato juices require reliable certification.

Rabbi Kaganoff, for example, points out

Ein Mevatelin Issur Lechatchilah

Although prohibited substances that spill into food are sometimes nullified, this applies only when the mixture occurred unintentionally. One may not deliberately add prohibited food to permitted food in order to nullify the banned substance. This prohibition is called ein mevatelin issur lechatchilah. Bitul is something that happens after the fact and cannot serve as a premeditated solution .

Indeed

Because of the above rule, if non-kosher food accidently fell into food at a rate too great to be nullified, one may not add extra kosher food or liquid in order to nullify the prohibited substance. This act is also prohibited under the heading of ein mevatelin issur lechatchilah. Here too, someone who knows that this act is prohibited and intentionally added permitted food to nullify the forbidden component, may not consume it because he violated ein mevatelin issur lichatchilah (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 99:5).

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    Luckily, the producer didn't try to nullify the prohibition. They likely weren't even aware of it. So it wasn't done on purpose in this case. – Double AA Feb 7 at 3:03
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If grape juice is indeed 1/60 of the mixed juice, the fruit juice is permitted. In our times, poskim consider only wine actually used for idol worship to be yayin nesech, the standard wine produced by akum for non-sacramental purposes is stam yayin, which is treated as a standard non-kosher ingredient rather than one connected to Avodah Zarah.

Ain Mevatlin is not an issue for commercial products made by gentiles for gentiles, from the same article you cited, "However, if a gentile company adds a non-kosher ingredient and the non-kosher ingredient is batel, a kosher consumer may buy this product as there is no prohibition of “ain mevatlin” for the gentile.( Darchei Teshuva 108:20. ) This is only true if it was not done explicitly for Yidden."

Finally, in terms of distinctive taste, grape juice is not so strong tasting a juice that it would come through in the taste of a fruit juice mixture in which it was 1/60 of volume (unlike, say, Balsamic vinegar made with stam yayin). As such, the juice is certainly permitted.

  • "grape juice is not so strong tasting a juice that it would come through in the taste of a fruit juice mixture" Source? Were that so, why do manufacturers bother including it? – Double AA Feb 8 at 3:15
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    @double as often the reason for including a small amount of real juice to a drink is so they can use the term "natural flavors". It has more to do with us labeling laws. This came up before as a discussion in regards to a company that wanted to add grape juice for this exact reason. I don't recall what the Rabbi told me was the outcome though at the moment – Dude Feb 8 at 13:20
  • Being the way juice is often hot packed on equipment that produces lots of things including non kosher items (most) juice requires hashgacha. As such juice with a kosher supervision would be produced for Jews to consume it – Dude Feb 8 at 13:22
  • @Dude that's only relevant for grape juices to be able to say grape juice. Grape added to "apple strawberry banana cocktail" is indeed for flavor – Double AA Feb 10 at 13:42
  • Except even in those cases they are relying on a flavoring for the actual flavor. The juice simply allows them to say they are using natural flavors. It's a convoluted set of rules for labeling. I'm not saying it is muter btw but this concept does exist within the juice industry – Dude Feb 10 at 14:47

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