Question:

I’ve been wanting to deliver for a food delivery app for a while (to make a little extra cash on the side) and just realized that there may be some halachic issue with doing so. I understand that one isn’t supposed to receive benefit from non-kosher food, but technically I am only being paid for the delivery part of the transaction. The all works like this: a customer places an order and pays money to the app, the app then dispatches a driver, and charges a special credit card with that money, the driver goes and buys the food with this card and delivers it, they are then paid for delivery by the app. Is this okay halachicly? Thanks!

Answer:

 

Your situation involves a number of potential issues.

  1. Is it considered doing business with non-kosher food by delivering the food and profiting from it?
  2. Is it considered like you bought the food and then reselling it to the customer, when paying for the food with the credit card?
  3. Another question is, if the food will be basar b’chalav, such as Mcdonald’s fries (which contain milk and meat ingredients for taste), or meat – cheese pizza which might be basar b;chalav d’orayso, is it considered benefiting from something that is assur b’hana’ah?
  4. Another issue would be marris ayin, because you are waking into a non-kosher restaurant and taking something non-kosher from them?
  5. Finally, if the recipient of the food is Jewish, is it mesayeya, because you are now helping him eat non-kosher?

Now let’s go through the various issues one by one.

  1. One of the reasons why it is forbidden to do business with non-kosher food is because we might come to eat from it, (such as working in a non-kosher food establishment). In our case this, this issue would not apply, because you are only making a delivery, and the, item is sealed, and there is no fear that you might just want to “taste” a little of what you are delivering.
  2. The way that you are describing the transaction doesn’t appear that the person doing the delivery is actually buying the food, but only transferring the credit card that has the payment on it from the customer to the seller, so that would also not be an issue. Therefore, if the food is not issur ha’naah these issues will not apply.
  3. If the food contains milk and meat that were cooked, baked or fried together, that is more of an issue. According to most poskim it is basar b’chalav d’orayso, and forbidden to benefit from it. There is a minority opinion that it is only d’rabonon, most poskim though hold that it is d’orayso. Additionally, there is an opinion that although the meat is from a kosher animal, since the meat was not properly slaughtered, that it would be permitted to benefit from it. This is also a minority opinion, however there are some that are lenient. In the final analysis there is a potential issue if the item being delivered is basar bchalav.
  4. Another issue would be Maris Ayin, since you are walking into a trief store and buying something trief, even if it isn’t basar b’chalav. For this however, there is a way to solve this issue by wearing a vest that says “delivery” or something else that makes it clear that you are not buying it for yourself.
  5. The last issue is also problematic, because it is possible that he person is Jewish and that you are now giving him trief to eat, which would be an issue of misayeya l’dvar aveiro.

 

To sum up, there are a number of potential issues here. However if  1. what you are delivering is not basar bchalav, and 2. you will wear a vest or something else to state clearly that the food is not for you, and 3. it is clear that the person is not Jewish, then it would be permitted.

Best Wishes

Sources:

  1. Igros Moshe Y:D 1-51,
  2. Since the delivery person never acquired the item with his own money.
  3. Toras Ha’osham 85-3, Kraeisi 87-1, Pri Chadash Y:D 87-2, R’ Akiva Eiger 87-1, Pri Megadim M:Z 98-1, Gr”a Y:D 87-13, Chochmas Adom 40-1, Yad Yehuda ( Kotzar) 87 -2, Chofetz Chaim (Nidchei Yisroel) 33-2, R’ Eliyashiv (Ashrei Ish Y:D 5-7), Livushei Oz, Pischei Halacha pg. 176. Shevet Halevi 6-105, Pri Megadim 87- 16, Shut Chasam Sofer Y:D 92, Gilyon Maharsha Y:D 87-3, Dagul Merivava 87-3, Badei Hashulchan 87-25. Commerce and Issurei Hana’ah pg. 46 ftnt. 11 in the name of R’ Shlomo Miller shlit”a, and pg. 215-216.
  4. R’ Y. Berkowitz shlit”a and other poskim.
  5. The fact that most people a goyim doesn’t help us here, since the person is getting the item delivered to his home, etc. therefore he is “kavuah”. Unless it is clear that the person is not Jewish, i.e. the person’s skin color etc., but a last name will not help us here because there is a lot of intermarriage and we can’t know. Heard from R’ Y. Berkowitz shlit”a.

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