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Kashrus of Lanolin Oil

Is lanolin kosher? This is oil from sheep wool?

Answer:

Most kashrus authorities permit the use of lanolin oil, which is extracted from the hair of the sheep/secretion from skin, and not from its body parts. One who is lenient in this matter certainly has what to rely on.

The kashrus concern here is that lanolin is extracted from the wool/skin of a living animal, and as something derived from a living animal, perhaps it will receive the prohibition of ever min ha-chai, the limb of a living animal. However, according to several authorities (Shach 81:5; Peri Toar 81:9), there is no such prohibition, as we may derive from the permission to drink milk.

Although others are stringent, in this case there is further room for leniency, because the initial secretion/extract is not suitable for consumption (human, and perhaps even for animal consumption), which is further cause for leniency (see Achiezer 2:11).

Therefore, one may be lenient in this matter.

For a lengthy analysis of the question, see Shut Ma’aseh Choshev, Vol. 5, no. 2.

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