Why is it So? more than 2000 words to say so little
The following article appeared in a local well read Jewish newspaper.
Another classic example is the milchig classification on certain brands of orange juice [by some Kashrus agencies]. The explanation is as follows: like milk orange juice is pasteurised. The facility may have had spare capacity in the mornings so dairy farms would send their milk for processing. Since the manufacturer does not kasher the machinery between the milk and the juice the juice is deemed milchig. Not every ingredient is listed on the label. The major driving force behind companies going kosher is the consumer. With sufficient pressure manufacturers may alter processes to enable a product to become kosher - but only if demand provides for changes which may increase manufacturing costs. However the cost of certification is small when a company thinks that it will capture more customers.
The article elicited the following enquiry: Was just wondering about your article; orange juice may be milchig. This was brought up at a shiur (lecture) I give and someone pointed out that in Forst's kashrus book [a well recognized and accepted authority in these matters published by Artscroll] this was only recorded as "Some are of the opinion" and even then it "may be drunk after eating meat", clearly indicating that it is not truly Milchig.
Rabbi Binyomin Forst, page 243 of 'The Laws of Kashrus' ArtScroll Halacha Series writes, "Some are of the opinion that while orange juice packaged by a dairy company may be used after eating meat it should not be used with meat."
He explains in the footnote, "It seems reasonable [to assume] that the machinery was used for milk production within the previous 24 hours [this is a reason to deem the juice to be "dairy" and thus prohibit using it after meat]. However, even though the heat of the cleaning process required by law is not sufficient to effect kashering, some companies do clean the machinery with a heat of Yad Soledes Bo [meaning that in fact the machine is Kosher and will not taint the orange juice with any milky flavour]. Thus the possibility exists that the orange juice is not dairy at all. [permitting the juice to be used not just after but even together with meat]
Thus since in the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch Nat Bat Nat is permitted [an absorbed flavour that is reabsorbed - in this case milk flavour absorbed into the machinery which in turn is exuded from the machinery and absorbed into the juice, is no longer significant] we may be lenient in cases of doubt. [the doubt is that the machine perhaps was not used that day and is therefore not tainted by dairy flavour. Since the risk, at the worst, is that the juice is Nat Bar Nat, this weak prohibition should be ignored in circumstances of doubt] In addition when all the orange juice is combined it contains more than sixty times the milk that was absorbed into the machinery.
Incidentally one who considers non-Jewish milk to be Chalav Akum and prohibited by decree of our Sages may not drink this milk ever since this will be a case of Nat Bar Nat De'issura."
The following response (1022 words part A & 1585 words part B, 2607 words in total) was received: I am not a boki [an expert] in Rabbi Forst's book - I prefer to use the original sources: Shulchan Oruch and nosei keilim [the super-commentaries] One thing I can say though is that I am sure that Rabbi Forst would not pasken halachah lemaaseh [for practical purposes as opposed to debating a matter in theory] against what every person who has learnt Shulchan Oruch Yoreh Daiyo should know regarding the well known sugya of "Nat Bar Nat" (Sh Ar Y.D. Sim. 95). That includes that any pareve item cooked in a fleishig or milchig pot should not be eaten with a product of the other type. Although there is a daiyo that does pasken that bedieved (i.e when the Pareve item has already been cooked in such a pot) it may be eaten together with the other type, in practice I have only seen this brought down by the Kaf HaChaim i.e. by Sephardi poskim. Even this daiyo however holds that this should not be done lechatchilo to enable the pareve product be eaten with meat.
Our community, as an Ashkenazi community would obviously be bound by the Ramo (or is there a suggestion that we should, for example, also give Kosher L'pesach hechsheirim to Kitniyois for our general community because the Sephardim happen to allow it...?.). So I wouldn't have hedged or fudged but would have asked the person who claimed that only "some" are of the opinion that the orange juice pasteurized in a milk pasteurizer should be classified as problematic, that he show exactly where Rabbi Forst says this [In fact he did show exactly where Rabbi Forst's says this; it is not hard to find, a quick look in the index under Orange Juice lists "packaged by dairy company"] - because I cannot understand how he would have said something that is contradictory to the general psak Halacha LeMaaseh that every responsible posek in our European/Ashkenazi communities that I know of subscribes to. [this should have alerted him to the fact that he had misunderstood and should have troubled himself to look up the rulings of Rabbi Forst, who by the way is a very well respected rabbi and Halachic authority]
It is not just the Chareidishe hechsheirim/poskim that rule this way. The OU and many other major "main-stream" authorities list products that are made on dairy equipment at least as DE (Dairy equipment). Others list them outright as Dairy. [But Rabbi Forst is not describing a juice produced on equipment which is certainly dairy but equipment which is only possibly dairy and as a consequence such juices are according to the Halacha, not at all dairy] Even in cases where one could say that the milk residue is Botul (or pogum - ie because the keilim are not ben yomo) their policy is not to rely on such Bittul Lechatchila (See, for example, the OU's Daf HaKashrus Vol 5 page1 re Pro Sobee). In most cases that I have heard of, where dairy pasteurizers are used for fruit juices, bittul actually does not take place and the pasteurizers are usually ben yomo - used for milk in the morning and for other products during the rest of the day. [Rabbi Forst is describing just such a case and rules that the juice is not Milchig] (BTW there are also cases of pasteurizers used for fruit juices also used for grape juice - which raises another problem re why one needs to investigate seemingly "innocent" fruit juices - although re grape juice there are other leniencies that come into play re the issur of stam yaynom that may indeed make it easier to find a heter depending on the circumstances.)
It is interesting that Reb Moshe z"l and other gedoilim originally came out with strict cautions about printing Halachah books in English due to the fact that the rulings contained in them could be misinterpreted or misquoted by the English reader who, more often than not, is not an expert in the workings of Halachah - particularly re the intricacies of how and when to apply alternative opinions etc. [Our Sages in Pirkey Avos, 1:1, advised rabbis who are offering a ruling to review the case very patiently and ensure they have all the facts straight because even slight variations can make a significant difference] In general it has evolved that there is probably more good than harm in publishing such books but we still need to be wary about the non-expert drawing erroneous or incomplete conclusions. I think this case of the individual quoting Rabbi Forst's book appears to be a good example of how Reb Moshe's fears can become reality. [He has not yet seen the relevant passage, why assume it has been misquoted or misunderstood?]
Bottom line is that, while, technically, fruit juice cooked in the milchig utensils which are ben yomo could indeed nevertheless, in many circumstances, be used after or before meat without having to wait, however, such products are not able to be used with meat at the same time. This is Halalchah L'Maaseh - I don't know what he is referring to re Rabbi Forst's book and I would be most interested to indeed see [he could have saved plenty of ink and time by asking for the citation - although it is not particularly difficult to find in the index] a valid dissenting view to this psak for our non-Sephardi communities in particular. Most consumers are also not boki in these laws and in the subtle distinction of drinking it before or after the meat rather than actually with the meat etc so in order to avoid a possible michshol [stumbling block], the responsible agencies either list these products as DE or D i.e to be treated as Milchig. Hence I believe that you [he is confusing the person who wrote the original newspaper article and the individual who made the enquiry about it being incorrect] were definitely correct in bringing this possibility to the attention of consumers. I have seen that the OU has also done so in a number of their publications.
Some further discussion prompted this (1585 words) response: I have just read Rabbi Forst's comments. I am not surprised to see that he actually does rule, in the course of his earlier discussion in that chapter, quite explicitly, that according to our prevalent Ashkenazi rulings pareve products cooked in a fleishig or milchig utensil cannot be eaten with a food of the opposite type. [he seems to be having a problem admitting that Rabbi Forst actually says that the orange juice is not Milchig] I got the impression, perhaps [??] mistakenly, that you were implying that he stated that only some were of this opinion in this basic law. I see now that he does use the expression "some are of the opinion" [Rabbi Forst is in fact saying that others are of the opinion that the juice may even be used together with meat and only "some are of the opinion" that it may not be used together with the meat but only after eating meat] that it is milchig but davka regarding the case of orange juice produced on milchig lines only. [what other case could Rabbi Forst possibly have been discussing?]
But here we see the wisdom of those gedoilim who caution regarding learning psak Halachah from Kitzurim (eg the well-known comments about not paskening from Kitzur Shulchan Aruch) as he himself writes regarding his own sefer on page 18. Indeed, if one looks at his footnotes on this psak one sees that his sevorois justifying a ruling lekoolah [leniently] are based on the doubts involved because of what he considers are unknown factors. [The only unknown factor that concerns Rabbi Forst is the temperature at which the machinery is cleaned. In more recent times the standards have been raised requiring more aggressive cleaning regimens at higher temperatures.]
I see that this sefer was printed in 1993 and was a translation of his sefer that was originally printed in Loshen kodesh years before that. That is a long time ago in the modern world of food production with its ever changing technology and economic rationalisation. My experience in this field leads me to conclude that most of the points he raises as doubts [only one point of doubt, see above] are not really doubts in the reality of current industry practice. (see below) Obviously I am not alone in this as all the other Kashrus authorities who also rule lechumrah must believe this too. [The majority of K authorities agree with Rabbi Forst as he points out, that only some consider the juice to be dairy. The respondent has confused this case with different circumstances.]
The accepted ruling in this regard (as brought by Rav Shachter (the ou posek) for example in the OU Daf HaKashrus Vol 7, Nos 8&9) [from the rabbi who prefers to use "original sources: Shulchan Oruch and nosei keilim"] is that if the company allows and is not perturbed by this "taste" being absorbed then this davka proves that it is NOT considered as a dovor hapogeim al pi Halachah in such a case.
There is usually a cleaning/sterilisation but of a temperature/concentration that, while doing a good cleaning job, cannot be considered as Hagolloh/pegimah that could be of significance al pi din. The very least required in this regard for a proper hagolah lechatchilah is around (90 deg C) [Rabbi Forst clearly states that Yad Soledes is adequate and by all opinions this is far less than 90 deg C. Today there would not be a single dairy in a first world country that does not clean at temperatures greater than Yad Soledes] according to the most lenient ruling of R' Moshe - no dairies sanitise to this temperature. The chemical concentration of the sanitising agent in dairies is also not considered pegimah al pi din as I have in many cases literally verifed by actually personally tasting the type of solution usually used! The keilim therefore must initially be suspected as still being Halachically Milchigs unless one knows for sure that any particular cleaning process is different to the norm. He also doesn't take into consideration the prevalent use of recirculated heating water and regeneration pasteurisers which add considerably to the halchic problems regarding milchig contamination of the plant and equipment.
You are presumably discussing reasons to be able to find a heter in the particular case or circumstance of orange juice, which, as I have mentioned above, may or may not be valid in the current circumstances. But presumably you are maskim [agree] concerning the basic problem - that if there would indeed not be room for claiming questionable circumstances, we should indeed consider the juice milchig. [On the contrary, Rabbi Forst makes it quite clear that in cases of doubt we should consider the juice to be utterly non-dairy and that it may be used with meat]
I believe from my experience that these extra issues you raise are also very tenuous in light of practical reality. Firstly, all dairies work seven days a week. The other products are usually processed between the daily milk pasteurisation - which usually takes place early mornings - and the rest of the morning and day are then available for other products and that is precisely why there is such a problem. [It is clear from the newspaper article, "The facility may have had spare capacity in the mornings so dairy farms would send their milk for processing." that this facility is not a dedicated dairy plant but a juice plant that has spare capacity. Besides, Rabbi Forst's ruling is about dairy farms and assumes that the plant was used within the previous 24 hours and Rabbi Forst nevertheless indicates that the juice is not at all dairy] The sheer size of holding tanks, plant and equipment in modern dairies make it very debatable to say that bitul could be a valid consideration. [Rabbi Forst is quite specific that "when all the orange juice is combined it contains more than 60 times the milk absorbed into the machinery"] Therefore the extra issues that you raise (which are actually rewording or extensions of Rabbi Forst's issues) are also very debatable in fact. You may have room to argue the last point and say that one may validly claim that it is quite possible, perhaps even probable, that any particular orange juice was not processed in a dairy establishment, however the other valid reasons for having to be cautious are just too real and present to be ignored. [Any one of these considerations is sufficient to determine that the juice is not dairy]
Let us agree for arguments sake that perhaps there are ways that one can rule lekoolah using some or all the heteirim that you mention. But that is not really the point. The article, which reflects the opinion and words of many others in the field, is not saying that all orange juices have to be treated as Milchig. He was saying that there is a possibility in certain circumstances of this being so. He was, in this way, highlighting the need to have expert information in the field of Kashrus, that nothing can be taken for granted, and by way of example he used the possibility that milchig pasteurisers may be used to process fruit juice, which in turn could very well make the juice following it also milchig. [This is precisely Rabbi Forst's ruling: in cases of even less doubt than described here the Halacha determines that the juice is not dairy at all.] Such a possibility was simply brought as a very good example of something that would probably not even be suspected by the vast majority of the community. While some may indeed be quite happy in finding koolois to permit such products as you have attempted to do, others may, quite validly, not be that prepared to do so. Isn't it the duty of a Kashrus organisation therefore to inform the community that there is a problem in the first place? If someone was to tell you that a certain sweetener was carcinogenic wouldn't you want to know which articles could possibly have that ingredient in it. Or would you say that because not all do (or even the majority don't) or it may be nullified etc therefore let's not tell anybody of the possibility. Why should our attitude to kashrus be any different? [There is something uncomfortable and perhaps even unsavoury in a local manufacturer telling us that rival imports are potentially unsafe]
Anyway, I don't understand the logic. Perhaps the conclusion that should have been reached is that the questioner either didn't fully understand the parameters of Rabbi Forst's psak and/or, [it is clear that the questioner did understand the ruling of Rabbi Forst] as I have suggested, that Rabbi Forst's psak was based not on Halachah per se but on his personal assessment of the situation which may or may not reflect current reality or majority/ valid opinion - why therefore the need to conclude that the information in the article is wrong?
(By the way. The latest news is that the OU are phasing out the use of DE on pareve products and are labelling all such items produced on Milchig equipment as outright D because of the confusion that the two categories have caused re their use with Fleishig. Note that they have considered them Milchig rather than going lekoolah and confirming their original Pareve status- perhaps this serves to show that my position as expressed above is not a marginal or extreme one.)