The Kashrus status of breast milk and is it Milchig or Pareve

Is breast milk considered dairy or Pareve?[1]

A woman’s milk is considered Kosher once it is pumped out[2], and it may then [even Lechatchilah[3]]  be consumed by any person [if it is breast milk of a Jew[4]].[5] A woman’s milk is not considered real milk and thus does not contain a Basar Bechalav prohibition.[6] Nonetheless, due to its appearance of milk, and its potential misrepresentation to the onlooker, its use with meat contains certain restrictions as will be explained. [Practically, today people no longer drink woman’s milk and are repulsed by it. Accordingly, it is forbidden to drink the milk due to Bal Tishaktzu, and the following details only relate to the theoretical letter of the law.[7]]

Cooking/eating with domestic animal meat:[8] It is forbidden to cook meat with women’s milk due to Maaras Ayin.[9] [If the meat is not cooked together with the woman’s milk and one desires to eat them together cold, then some Poskim[10] rule it is permitted to do so.[11] Other Poskim[12], however, rule it is forbidden even in such a case due to Maaras Ayin.[13]]

Cooking/eating with chicken: Being that poultry is not considered a Biblical form of meat regarding the laws of Basar Bechalav, the Poskim debate as to whether it may be eaten with women’s milk without restriction. Some Poskim[14] rule it is permitted to cook [and eat[15]] chicken with woman’s milk.[16] However, other Poskim[17] rule it is forbidden to do so due to Maaras Ayin.[18]

If the milk fell into the meat:[19] If the breast milk [accidentally[20]] fell into meat, it is nullified and does not require 60x.  [Some Poskim[21] rule it does not even require majority against it. Other Poskim[22], however, rule that there must be majority of other foods against the milk. If the breast milk was intentionally placed into the meat, the food is forbidden for the perpetrator and those who it was intended to be eaten by.[23]]

 

Summary:

Pumped breast milk of a Jew is even initially permitted in consumption, although today it is considered repulsive to consume it, and is hence not to be done. Breast milk is considered Pareve, although may not be added to meat foods, due to Maras Ayin. If breast milk accidentally fell into a meat food, the food remains Kosher.

Q&A

May a bottle of pumped breast milk be washed in the meat sink, or in the meat dishwasher?

From the letter of the law, it is permitted to wash a bottle of breast milk in a meat sink even if there are meat leftovers inside, and there is no Maras Ayin prohibition against doing so.[24] This, however, only applies if one washes dishes using water that is below Yad Soledes, otherwise one is not to rinse this bottle in a meat sink that contains meat leftovers, due to Maras Ayin.[25] Thus, it is better not to place the bottle in a meat dishwasher which uses hot water for washing dishes.[26] Furthermore, it is proper to avoid washing the bottle in a meat sink even if cold water is generally used, in order to avoid possible confusion and mix-up from occurring as a result.

 

What is the law if some of the bottled breast milk sprinkled onto a meat food?

The food remains permitted, as stated above.

 

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[1] Michaber Y.D. 87:4

[2] It is forbidden for a person to nurse directly from a woman’s breast even if she squirts it into his mouth. Doing so is similar to nursing from a rodent. One who does so receive’ s Rabbinical lashes [Makas Mardus] for going against a Rabbinical decree. [Michaber ibid] The reason the Sages forbade it is because people will come to think its permitted to nurse from non-kosher animals just like it’s permitted to nurse from humans which are not-kosher. [Taz 81:9]

[3] Shach 81:3 and 17; ; So is also understood from Michaber 87:4

The reason: As consuming it does not involve Bal Teshaktzu. [See Shach 81:3]

[4] A gentile woman’s milk: Human milk of a gentile is Kosher just like a Jewish woman’s milk. However, a Jewish child should not nurse from a gentile, if a Jewish wet-nurse is available. The reason for this is because the milk of a gentile clogs up the heart and creates an evil nature in the child. [Rama 81:7; Hagahos Ashri]

[5] Michaber Y.D. 81:7; Kesubos 60a

Why is it permitted to drink human milk? Although human meat is not Kosher, nevertheless since it is only due to a positive command, we do not apply the rule of “anything which comes out from an impure animal is also impure” as this rule only applies to animals which are Treif due to a negative command. [Beir Heiytiv Y.D. 81:2]

[6] See Michaber 87:3; Mishneh Chulin 113a

The reason: As the Torah’s prohibition of Basar Bechalav only applies to Kosher animal.

[7] Kaf Hachaim 87:29

[8] Michaber ibid; Rashba

[9] This ruling is agreed to by all Poskim, as both foods are Kosher and hence able to be eaten [Taz 87:5] as well as meat is a Biblical food of Basar Bechalav [hence also Rama agrees]. However, according to Shach 87:7 in his second explanation, that there is never a prohibition of Maaras Ayin by merely cooking and rather only when eating the mixture, Maaras Ayin would not apply to merely cooking the meat in woman’s milk. Nevertheless, he concludes with his first explanation, that even by cooking it is forbidden due to Maaras Ayin, and that even the Michaber and other Poskim that wrote it is permitted to cook, agree with this ruling as they were referring to the letter of the law and not to Maaras Ayin.

[10] Understanding of Rama ibid as explained in Shach 87:6; Rama in Toras Chatas 62:1, brought in Taz 87:4 and Shach ibid; Kneses Hagedola 87:8; Mateh Yosef 2:7; See Kaf Hachaim 87:29

[11] The reason: As the Rama ibid rules that by Rabbinical mixtures we do not apply the prohibition of Maaras Ayin and cold meat with milk is only Rabbinical.

[12] Shach 87:6; Rashba 3:257; Erech Hashulchan 87:14; Kaf Hachaim 87:29

[13] The reason: As the prohibition of Maras Ayin applies even by Rabbinical prohibitions. [Shach ibid]

[14] Rama 87:4 “This prohibition to cook women’s milk with meat applies specifically with animal meat, however with poultry which is only Rabbinical there is no need to suspect.”; Rama 87:3 regarding almond milk; Taz 87:4 regarding letter of law; Peri Chadash 87:7 and Kraisi U’plaisi concur that the main ruling goes according to the Rama that regarding poultry one does not need to place almonds by the food.

Opinion of the Taz: The Taz ibid rules that the ruling of the Rama is correct and that so is the custom, however [regarding almond milk] if almonds are available the Taz rules that one is to place them near the mixture, as one should try to fix the situation when possible. However, when no almonds are available it remains permitted to cook and eat them together. [Taz ibid] Accordingly, it would seem that according to the Taz ibid it is permitted to cook poultry in woman’s milk, as it is not possible to fix.

[15] Taz 87:4

Opinion of Beir Heiytiv in Rama: The Beir Heiytiv 87:7 rules that even according to the Rama it is only permitted to cook chicken with women’s milk, although to eat them together is forbidden according to all. The reason for this is because if they are simply cooked together, even if an onlooker were to come to cook chicken in milk together due to what he saw, he will not transgress any true prohibition, as cooking chicken even in real milk is only forbidden due to Maaras Ayin and not from the actual decree of the Sages. There is thus no reason to decree against Maras Ayin because one may come to do a transgression of Maras Ayin. However, one may not eat the chicken with woman’s milk as the onlooker may come to eat chicken with real milk which is an actual Rabbinical prohibition. [Beir Heiytiv ibid] This explanation of the Beir Heiytiv ibid answers all the questions posed by the Shach against the Rama. He explains that the Rama agrees that we suspect for Maras Ayin even by Rabbinical prohibitions and hence one may not eat chicken with almond milk unless he places almonds in the vicinity even according to the Rama. However, the Rama is referring to cooking the mixture together without eating in which case the worst-case scenario he will cook chicken with real milk which itself is only prohibited due to Maaras Ayin. [Beir Heiytiv ibid] To note however that the Taz 87:4 explicitly states by almond milk that the chicken may be eaten, hence negating this explanation of the Beir Heiytiv in the Rama.

[16] The reason: As chicken itself is only Rabbinical, and thus we do not make a decree of Maaras Ayin on it. [Rama as explained by Shach 87:6; and Taz 87:4]

[17] Shach 87:8 and 6 [He writes that so rule the Achronim such as the Beir Sheva and so is the opinion of the Michaber]; Rashal in Perek Kol Habasar 52, brought in Shach ibid, Taz 87:4 and Toras Chatas; Taz ibid concludes like Rama from letter of the law, although writes that it is best to place almonds; Peri Toar 87:9; Halacha Pesuka 87:3; P”M 87 S.D. 6; Chochmas Adam 40:3; Aruch Hashulchan 87:16

[18] The reason: As they rule that the Sages forbade due to Maras Ayin also Rabbinical matters, as is evident from many various laws which involve Rabbinical matters [such as the case on Shabbos of the cow with the bell collar {Shach 87:6}] and were nevertheless decreed against due to Maaras Ayin.

[19] Michaber ibid; Rashba in Teshuva

[20] Chidushei Rav Akiva Eiger 87:3; Kaf Hachaim 87:31

[21] Peri Toar 87:10

[22] Erech Hashulchan 87:15; Kaf Hachaim 87:30

[23] Chidushei Rav Akiva Eiger 87:3; Kaf Hachaim 87:31

[24] The reason: As many Poskim rule it is permitted even initially eat animal meat with cold breast milk, and some Poskim suggest that there is never a Maaras Ayin prohibition if one does not plan to eat it, as stated above, and thus certainly here where one is not planning to eat the food, there is no Maras Ayin prohibition involved.

[25] The reason: As we rule that Maaras Ayin applies even to cooking foods together, and hence if Yad Soeldes water is used, it may not be done.

[26] Nonetheless, one who is lenient has upon what to rely. See our Sefer “The Practical laws of Basar Bechalav” Chapter 7 “Dishwasher”

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