Can a product with a non kosher ingredient ever be kosher?
Can a product with a nonkosher ingredient ever be kosher?
Although there is a well-known principle of bittul b’shishim (that a lesser substance is considered halachically nullified when mixed into another substance that is sixty times greater in volume), there are a number of limitations to this principle, among them: an ingredient that’s used for adding taste; or a davar hamaamid (an ingredient used to solidify a mixture) such as a coagulant, stabilizer, or thickening agent which, even if added in a minute amount, never becomes nullified due to its significance within the mixture. Moreover, ein mevatlin issur l’chatchilah (one cannot use the principle of bittul to preemptively and deliberately overwhelm a nonkosher ingredient).
There’s a common scenario where a non-Jewish manufacturer without a specific Jewish clientele base includes a minute amount of a nonkosher ingredient in a product, and none of the above limitations are applicable (it wasn’t added for taste, etc.). Nevertheless, it would be inappropriate for a kashrus agency to provide a hechsher (declaration of kashrus) for such a product based on the principle of bittul, and condone its sale to Jews. Moreover, the Rashba is of the view that bittul also doesn’t apply if derech asiyaso b’kach (the nonkosher ingredient is one of the regular ingredients of the product), an opinion which many poskim maintain is the halachah. Accordingly, the product should be considered nonkosher due to the presence of the nonkosher ingredient. #536?1