We have one electric cooktop for both fleishig and milchig. We generally use the left 2 burners for milchig and the right 2 burners for fleishig. While making scrambled eggs (pareve) in a milchig frying pan, the metal spatula (slotted turner) fell onto the cooktop area between the burners. The cooktop itself may have been hot (as it often is when the oven underneath is on) and the spatula was hot and dirty with eggs. The cooktop wasn’t spotless, but there was no obvious residue on it in the area where the spatula fell. What is the status of the spatula?
Also, as scenarios such as this one are not infrequent, can you give me some general guidelines as to when I need to be concerned about utensils, pots, food, etc. that fall onto a cooktop that is used for both milchig and fleishig?
The spatula is permitted to use.
The reason is since there wasn’t any noticeable residue in the cook top, therefore we are only dealing with an issue of nat bar nat, meaning that any taste that went over had to first go into the cook top, then into the spatula. this is together with the fact that the cook top was clean therefore we can assume that there wasn’t anything that fell on that part of the cook top in the last 24 hours and therefore any taste that was there has already gotten spoiled, and therefore it will not assur it.
It is very hard to give guidelines to these complex halachos, I can however suggest that you but the book “The Laws of Kashrus”, or “The Kosher Kitchen”, By R’ Binyamin Forst to get a clearer idea of the various Halachos