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Lard Oil.


In our last number we gave a statement of Judge Noah concerning the reported adulteration of vegetable oils with animal matter, and suggested the propriety of appointing inspectors to prevent such fraud. In connexion with this subject we have received a remonstrance from our learned correspondent Mr. Falkenau of New York, who contends that, since oils of gentiles have been allowed by the decision of the Beth Din of Rabbi [Judah the Prince], we have no authority in this country, not having any legal ecclesiastical courts, to prohibit that which has been allowed by the highest authority known under the Mosaic dispensation, to wit, the heads of the Jews assembled in a general council. He refers us to Yoreh Deah 103 §13, where it distinctly states that meat and fat spoil the oil, and it is a well known principle that “whatever spoils the taste of a substance does not make this prohibited if accidentally mixed therewith.” He also points out the decision of Maimonides Hilchoth Maahaloth Assuroth, 17 §22, which reprobates any one who prohibits in this regard what the Beth Din have allowed.

We confess however, that with all this weight of authority, we cannot see that we can do otherwise than abstain from the use of the common olive oil of commerce, whilst there is so much certainty that the admixture of the lard oil is introduced which, so far from spoiling the taste, is said by competent Judges to be equal to the pure extract of the olive. We think, that the authorities referred to speak of materials which actually deteriorate the oil פוגם את השמן whereas in the present case the reverse is the fact. With these few remarks we leave the subject for the present; but we mean to call the attention of the new Rabbi of London to the matter, as soon as we hear of his having been inducted in office.

In the mean time we thank Mr. Falkenau for his kindness in correcting our inadvertence and want of sufficient information in the depths of Talmudic learning, with which his mind is so deeply imbued.