Food Delivery - Broken Seal
QUESTION: I ordered French fries from a kosher restaurant. When the order arrived, the kosher seal was broken. May I eat the fries?
ANSWER: If the seal was broken and the delivery person was not kosher observant, it may be impossible to verify that the fries are kosher. If that is the case, the fries may not be eaten. French fries from a non-certified establishment are almost certainly non-kosher. French fries are prepared in a deep fryer and the same oil is probably used to fry chicken, cheese sticks and other types of foods. However, if one knows that the kosher restaurant always cuts their fries in an unusual manner (e.g., extremely long thin fries, or very thick short fries), these fries may be consumed if they conform to the unique shape. This is based on the Gemara (Baba Metzia 23b) which relates that Rabba bar Rav Huna would cut his meat in a triangular shape and send it with a non-Jew to his house. The Rosh (2:3) explains that although meat must be sealed before it may be sent with a non-Jew, if the cut of meat has a unique shape, that too can establish the kosher status of the meat. By the same token, if one can determine the source of the fries by their shape, they may be eaten.
The Gerald & Karin Feldhamer OU Kosher Halacha Yomis is dedicated to the memory of Rav Yisroel Belsky, zt"l, who served as halachic consultant for OU Kosher for more than 28 years; many of the responses in Halacha Yomis are based on the rulings of Rabbi Belsky. Subscribe to the Halacha Yomis daily email here.