Q. Some marshmallows are made with fish gelatin. Can one roast a marshmallow with fish gelatin on a skewer that was previously used for a hot dog, and some of the meat residue remains on the skewer? The issue is whether kosher fish gelatin may be served with meat, or does the sakana (danger) which is associated with mixing fish and meat apply to fish gelatin as well?
A: This question was a matter of dispute between Rav Yisroel Belsky zt”l and ybc”l Rav Hershel Schachter, shlita.
In a previous column here on Matzav, we learned that gelatin obtained from the hides of kosher cows is considered pareve. However, that leniency is based on the fact that cowhides are inedible. Fish skins, which are much softer, are edible. Although fish gelatin is processed with strong chemicals, Rav Belsky zt”l was uncertain if this was sufficient to consider the extracted gelatin to be a completely different substance that would no longer be subject to the restriction of mixing fish and meat. As such, Rav Belsky, zt”l discouraged eating fish gelatin with meat. However, Rav Schachter, shlita felt there was a basis to be lenient, particularly since Magen Avraham (Orach Chaim 173:1) questions whether the sakana of mixing fish and meat exists nowadays at all. Though in practice we do not follow the Magen Avrohom, we can consider the Magen Avrohom’s view to be an added consideration for leniency.
As such, one can be lenient to use the same skewer for hot dogs and marshmallows made with fish gelatin, but there is room to be stringent.
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.