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Swallowing Skin From Peeling Lips

Is the skin of a human lip considered unkosher. If someone has chap lips do they have to worry about the skin being eaten? If the skin fell into food does one need bitul or is there no issur?


Human skin is not kosher, just as human flesh is not kosher (Rema 79:1, based on Rambam; authorities dispute whether there is a Torah or a rabbinic prohibition). However, Rav Chaim Kanievsky has stated (Derech Sichah p. 345) that one need not be concerned for eating with chapped lips, because skin (from the inner part of the lips) that might enter the mouth would be considered as blood that has not emerged from the mouth, and does not fall under the prohibition.

See also Kaf Hachaim (79:11), who quotes from Ben Ish Chai that one should not peel one’s lips with one’s teech, out of concern that one would swallow the skin. [Kaf Hachaim writes that this is only a stringency, but he bases this on a teaching of Rashba that would appear to refer to a different prohibition.]

If the skin should fall into food, it would not be kosher, and the usual principles of bittul would apply. Under ordinary circumstances, if the piece of skin is not noticed, or gets lost in the food, it would be batel, due to its miniscule size.

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