Laws of Foods of a Non-Jew

bishul-akum

#1

Bread:

  1. Bread, cake, cookies, crackers, and the like, all fall into the category of “Pat Akum,” bread of a Non-Jew, which is more lenient than the cooked food of a Non-Jew, “Bishul Akum.”
  2. Bread of a Non-Jew, even though it is from only Kosher ingredients, is not permitted when baked by a private person, but is permitted from a restaurant, bakery, and of course packaged in a supermarket. These are termed “Pat Palter.”
  3. If a Jew lights the oven, it would be permitted, even for Sephardim.

Cooked Food:

  1. Cooked, stewed, fried, microwaved, and the like, are all included under “Bishul Akum,” the food cooked by a Non-Jew.
  2. This prohibition only pertains to foods that are not eaten raw. Example: Hot water, cooked carrots, and apples would be fine.
  3. If there are combinations of ingredients and some would be OK, while some would be a problem, we would go after the main item(s) if cooked together by a Non-Jew.
  4. However, if after an item was cooked by a Non-Jew it was mixed with other Kosher food, it would not be “Batel” (considered irrelevant), unless it was not identifiable by itself. Example: Beans in a soup are not Batel.
  5. Hot coffee would be OK, because the main ingredient is the hot water, which is eaten raw.
  6. If a Jew lights the oven, it would be permitted for Ashkenazim; but Sephardim cannot eat that food except when the Non-Jew is an employee at the house or restaurant of a Jew.
  7. Utensils, pots, and anything used in the cooking or baking of Bishul Akum or Pat Akum, do not become impure or Non-Kosher.

Wine:

  1. Wine or grape juice poured by or the wine itself touched by a Non-Jew is not permitted. Touching the bottle alone does not make it a problem.
  2. If the wine was cooked, “Mevushal,” prior to the touching or pouring, it is permitted.

Milk:

  1. Milk from a Non-Jew is prohibited, because we suspect it may contain a small percentage of milk from non-kosher animals, and it therefore must be supervised by a religious Jew, “Chalav Yisrael.”
  2. In civilized countries, where there are other guarantees that the milk is from cows only, it is permitted to drink regular milk from the store without Jewish supervision, and it is considered “Chalav Yisrael.” Other guarantees include any of the following:
  3. An FDA-type government organization policing the milk industry.
  4. A society where if people found out that other milk was included, they would stop buying the milk from that company.
  5. If milk from other animals where more expensive or harder to obtain than cow’s milk.

Butter:

  1. All 100% butter is permitted, since non-kosher milk was not commonly made into butter, the Rabbis did not feel it necessary to create a prohibition (Gezera).
  2. In countries where milk is a problem, butter can be a problem if purchased from a small farm or private establishment. It is very uncommon, but it is possible to make butter from non-kosher animals’ milk.

Cheese:

  1. Cheese of a Non-Jew is prohibited.
  2. Cheeses that are included in this category, are cheeses that normally have rennet in their processing. Soft cheeses and other cheeses that are not normally made with rennet are not part of this prohibition.
  3. Cheeses have their own prohibition; not like milk where we suspect there may be a non-kosher ingredient, but rather a “Gezera,” a Rabbinical Decree, that cheese must have supervision during the cheesing process by a religious Jew, even if we are 100% certain that there are no non-kosher ingredients used.
  4. There are some Rabbinical supervision agencies that certify cheeses without direct supervision, possibly due to misunderstanding these laws. It is imperative that we ask the supervising agency if the cheesing process was directly supervised, before eating their cheese.

#2

#3

Dear Ralph,

During the more or less fifteen years I have following this website, it has over and over again been explicit that not everything we today call “cheese” is included in the gezerat of Gevinat haKum.
If you google, it is still possible to find the messages of the of the old board such as these following answers from the forum:

“Hard cheeses need a heshsher. Soft cheeses like the Mozzarella do not need a Hechsher, but you need to confirm all the ingredients are good”

“Can you please tell me if the Shop Rite Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (Part-Skim) is kosher for passover? R: Ok”

"The key to use is that any cheese that normally was made with Rennet and needs a form of artificial rennet or vegetable rennet to replace the animal rennet, this type cheese is what we are calling hard cheese, and that is where the restriction of Gevinat [haKum applies]… "

“Is Friendship Brand low-fat whipped cottage cheese kosher for Passover? It is OU, but does not say anything about Passover… reply: yes CYA.”

Mozzarella, as an example, was invented during the times of the rishonim and does not use rennett in any form (it is coagulated by a chemical process), therefore, it has no problem of Gevinat haKum. This has been the psak of Rav Abadi as brought by his sons.

However, your otherwise excellent summary of the laws of foods of a non-jew seems to imply otherwise.

Therefore, I would like to ask for a clarification about the matter and in particular:

1 - Whether what you wrote regarding cheese was intended to include cheeses like cottage and mozzarella and, therefore, cottage and mozzarella are forbidden?

2 - If yes, is this your understanding of the halacha or Rav Abadi’s and his son’s?

3 - If the latter, did they change position regarding what has been said for more than one decade? If they did, I would be really thankful if they can provide their reasoning.

4 - If the former, do you consider that Rav Abadi and his sons are wrong? Furthermore, what is your reasoning to include in the Gezera cheeses like mozzarella which do not need rennet and did not even exist in talmudic times?

Thank you very much and Shabat Shalom!


#4

You are correct. This was a mistake. I reviewed everything, but somehow I missed that. It will be fixed now.


#5

I Harav - thank you creating the new website! This format greatly enhances access.
can you please elaborate on classifying mozzarella as soft cheese. I am no cheese expert so I don’t know nor understand the process. I did find a kof-k publication though that lists the amount of rennet typically used in cheese and indicates that mozzarella uses 85-90 ml which is more similar to other hard cheeses and dissimilar to cream cheese and others soft cheeses which uses only 1-2 ml

(Link was deleted)
Thanks


#6

We are in the midst of reviewing that whole issue again. In the interim, feel free to continue doing what you were told in the past.


#7

Harav - now that chag is over, and the deluge of questions have subsided, I was just wondering if you could revisit this issue.
Thank you!


#8

Yes. Working on it…


#9

What is the definition of “Soft Cheese”? Is goat cheese a soft cheese?


#10

To be determined


#11

any updates?


#12

Unfortunately not.