Q. The OU certifies crackers and popcorn with parmesan seasoning. Since parmesan is a hard cheese that requires one who ate it to wait six hours before eating meat, do I similarly need to wait six hours after eating these snacks, before eating meat?
A. If the seasoning is primarily made from parmesan cheese, then one should wait six hours (or whatever one’s custom is). However, cheese seasonings are often made with enzyme modified cheese (EMC) which is mixed and essentially diluted with other bulkier ingredients, such as whey or blander cheese powders. In volume, the other ingredients constitute the majority of the seasoning.
Yad Yehuda (Y.D. 89, 30) writes that a hard cheese which is blended into another food and softened through cooking does not necessitate waiting six hours. Similarly, in the case of enzyme modified cheese, Rav Hershel Schachter explained that since it is actually a soft cheese (albeit with a very strong flavor), once it is diluted to become a fraction of the seasoning, one would not have to wait after eating.
This column comes from OU Kosher’s Halacha Yomis dedicated in memory of Rav Chaim Yisroel ben Reb Dov HaLevy Belsky, zt’l, Senior OU Kosher Halachic Consultant (1987-2016). Subscribers can also ask their own questions on Kashrus issues and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. These questions and their answers may be selected to become one of the Q and A’s on OU Kosher Halacha Yomis.