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Are Styrofoam Cups Kosher?

Question for the Rabbi: Can styrofoam cups be used since they contain zinc stearate derived from non-kosher animal fat? Full Story

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Styrofoam cups
December 29, 2015 5:59 am

I’m a NYS EMT. For years our protocol was to cover an injured eye with a styrofoam cup on the way to the hospital, both to prevent further injury and to keep it clean.
Ophthalmologist in the hospital found minute particles of styrofoam had degraded and fallen into the eye.
Styrofoam is no longer used!
And you would put FOOD into this? Not I.
Chaya Hurwitz, Jerusalem

Heterim Galore
December 28, 2015 6:02 pm

There are real heterim for considering Whey (liquid remaining after milk has been curdled) as parave. There are real heterim to consider all gelatin as kosher and parave (made from dried non-kosher animal bones). There are heterim galore – all within the guideline of halacha. But do we follow these heterim???

To 24
December 28, 2015 11:15 am

Read Post 18 and tell me if he did his “homework” Finally an educated analysis and it is completely ignored. Basically, the basis for the opinion is flawed. There is a clear misunderstanding. So instead of deciding that the “Rav” is infallible, and if you care about the community, you should immediately forward him comment #18 as he may be misinformed. Finally an educated comment. Much appreciated.

I'm amazed at #2
December 28, 2015 1:38 am

A Rav comes out with a psak and you start arguing? Wheres the respect? I’m sure he did his homework before posting.

question: what about paper hot cups? like the ones sold in Costco and others…

Yossi Teleshevsky
December 27, 2015 9:58 pm

Thank you Rabbi Braun for the halacha2go Thank you collive for putting up this halacha Boruch hashem our community was blessed with another Rov who all agree is a Gaon, Thanks to halacha2go (a group of devoted yungerlight and myself from the community we are teaching practical day to day halachos to over 10,000 people) every day a one minute video is sent out to our over 7000 subscribers our website has an archive where you can search through all the past 485 halachos As well we started a daily chizuk where Rabbi Braun also gives over a nekuda from… Read more »

December 27, 2015 4:04 pm

What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over. How many of us would still relish eating meat if we saw all the gory blood and guts preparation, etc before it was hygienically packaged for sale?

December 27, 2015 1:53 pm

If a squirrel ate a piece from your sandwich, or a worm was removed from your apple – the sandwich or apple is 100% kosher BUT YOU WON’T EAT IT!! Styofoam is made with shmattz – animal fats, don’t you get it!!! Fech!!

Does muttar mean we should eat it?
December 27, 2015 1:37 pm

Ask a rov if various shchita are muttar? Ask a rov if one may eat pas palter? Ask a rov if bishul yisroel is needed for various foods like potato chips? Point is, many foods are muttar, but not every food that is halachically muttar is allowed into your house.

December 27, 2015 1:10 pm

Thank you for posting them. Would suggest that either you post a psak without any of the explanations or if your going to give explanations you also post the sources. There were a lot of basic questions on the article if you have a basic Halachick back-round and without the sources the article had very basic questions.
The Rebbe was very passionate about attaching sources to everything

A Scientist's view
December 27, 2015 12:57 pm

When a posek renders a psak, the Rov applies prior halachic opinions to a metziyus. Differences in the end decision occur between poskim from quoting different halachic authorities and/or through their (mis)understanding of physical reality. The story of zinc stearate and Styrofoam cups originates with Rav Blumenkrantz z”l who in this Pesach Guide (this has nothing to do with chometz but his sefer was not solely for Pesach) switched his pask every year from 1996 until his pertirah; his “final” psak was assur as far as I recall. I will not focus on halacha directly…one can see the lengthy discussion… Read more »

K - half a story
December 27, 2015 11:56 am

Many of the heterim / kulos listed in this article apply equally to using medicine in capsules that contain gelatin and pills coated with a shiny exterior containing similar tarfus. Yes, many poskim are mattir these items – with same or similar sevoros, but many yidden are nizhar when possible to avoid such products (especially those that don’t want tarfus – eve when muttar – to become part of their body). This isn’t the forum to quote seforim and get into lengthy halachic debates, but before someone uses the article as psak – which it is, they need to be… Read more »

Storm in a styro cup
December 27, 2015 9:46 am

You should get out more!

did u read the article
December 27, 2015 6:12 am

To 1 If you read the article, you’ll find out that: Due to the high temperature of the purification process, the tallow is, in effect, denatured (the characteristic properties are destroyed, thereby removing it from the category of food). To number 2 Are you afraid to mention the names of the serious poskim who say there is a serious kashrus problem. In addition, since the number or serious poskim who permit its use are at the very least the majority, a rov is under no obligation to pasken according to an argument most authorities of note find non-convincing. This is… Read more »

December 27, 2015 5:55 am

Never warm up any food in a styrofoam cup,plate,dish
Its a known corcinegen
The chemical make up of the styrofoam will leak in to the food or drink
So never put in a microave

December 27, 2015 3:27 am

Interesting article, but it didn’t mention that there is vegetable based zinc stearate that some manufacturers use, and some of those sources are kosher certified.

To 1 and 3
December 27, 2015 2:14 am

Be aware! styrofoam is not microwave safe.

The Sources
December 27, 2015 2:12 am

שאלה זו עלתה על שולחן מלכים, מאן מלכי רבנן, בשנים האחרונות. ויצאה ההוראה להקל. וראה מש״כ בס׳ ״על הפרק״ שי״ל לאחרונה ע״י מערכת קובץ אור ישראל, ובכלל דברינו דבריהם. והנה, בפנים הובאו כו״כ טעמים בדבר. ולהלן יבואו פרטי הדברים: הנה, לכל לראש מקום להתיר משום שפנים חדשות באו לה (וע״ד ד׳ תר״י ברכות לא, ב (בדפי הרי״ף) ור״ן ברכות טז, ב (בדפי הרי״ף) בנבילה שנפלה לדבש. וראה שו״ת אחיעזר ח״ב סי״א סק״ה). ואף להאוסרים (ראה סברה״נ לאדה״ז פי״א ס״ה. ושם שבענ״פ יחמיר לעצמו באיסור ש״ת. ועפ״ז באב״י (וכיו״ב) אין מקום להחמיר גם לבענ״פ) – הנה בפמ״ג סרט״ז במ״ז סק״ב להתיר… Read more »

To 1 and 3
December 27, 2015 2:03 am

Be aware! styrofoam is not microwave safe.

Not healthy!!!
December 27, 2015 1:20 am

I wouldn’t use them for hot food either way!!! It leaches chemicals into your food every time you put hot food or liquid in it (or worse warm up food in the microwave with it!!!) I will stick to using real or paper plates:)

To #2
December 27, 2015 12:50 am

I couldn’t agree more – if the article was printed in a Halachik periodical serving the Greater Jewish Community.

However, when a Rav answers a shaala as to whether a particular chicken in question is kosher, it is completely unnecessary and even superfluous to cite the opinions contrary to his psak.

The same applies here when the Rav of a particular community answers a shaala to the people of his community who follow his Halachik decisions.

December 26, 2015 11:11 pm

A The first and last time I tried to heat up liquid in a styrofoam cup via microwave it melted
B the heating process in a microwave is not same as a Fire it heats from the inside out for example a frozen roll if not in for the sufficient amount of time would be hot on inside and cold on the outside
C if you really want you can get the cups that Muslim’s manufacture without the problematic ingredients

Go halacha 2 go!
December 26, 2015 11:01 pm

If you have not yet signed up, you can do so at http://www.halacha2go.Com it is a very valuable short daily opportunity for Torah study

To number 2
December 26, 2015 10:56 pm

Please post who these poskim are and what their opinion is (in its entirety ) and how each one of the multiple reasons brought do not stand.

(You can also put your name)

Kli rishon
December 26, 2015 9:30 pm

These cups r used as kli rishon

K - half a story
December 26, 2015 8:25 pm

There are serious poskim who disagree and say there is a serious kashrus problem with Styrofoam cups and plates – as is well known to all bnei Torah. I am shocked that the article does not mention these reliable opinions who say it IS a problem. When a community has many kashrus chumros like only using their own shchitah (to the exclusion of many good shchitas like OU Glatt) – surely they would want to avoid the possibility of tarfus and have a right to be fully informed.

Few questions....
December 26, 2015 6:51 pm

A) nosen ta’am lifgam – is not permitted L’chatchilah?

B) irui mikli rishon – is m’vahel so whats the heter?

C) ein mvatlin issur l’chatchillah – once you know that there is issur in the cup your intention is ALSO to mvatil the issur every morning with your coffee?

D) The non-kosher food element is not b’ein (visible)…. So? It still needs bitul? Whey are you allowed to mivatel it every morning l”chatchilah with your coffee?

Whats the heat level for something to be denatured? I looked up the process and they only heat it to around 200 degrees?

December 26, 2015 6:20 pm

If the styrofoam cup is filled with water and placed in a microwave, is it then a kli rishon and would we then be concerned with the amount of non-kosher ingredients?