The Prohibition of Eating Food Cooked by a Gentile

  1. There is a rabbinical prohibition to eat food that is cooked by a gentile.
    This prohibition applies to all forms of cooking. It does not apply to food
    which is salted or pickled.

  2. Microwave cooking was, of course, unknown in the time of the Rabbis.
    Modern Poskim have determined that the prohibition of bishul akum also
    applies to food cooked in a microwave.

  3. If a gentile pours hot liquid from the pot in which the liquid was heated
    (irui kli rishon) onto food, the food is not prohibited. Irui kli rishon
    cooks only the uppermost layer (the “shell”) of the food. Since this
    shell alone would not be served to an honored guest, the food is not
    prohibited.

  4. Hot liquid that has been poured from the vessel in which it was heated
    into a second vessel (kli shayni) does not cook the food placed into the
    second vessel even though the liquid is still hot. Therefore, if a gentile
    places food into a second vessel, the food is permitted even if the liquid
    in the vessel is boiling hot.

  5. The prohibition of bishul akum applies only when the gentile heats food
    with the intention of cooking it.

  6. The prohibition of bishul akum does not apply to foods that are normally
    eaten raw. But if a gentile intends to cook a food that is ordinarily eaten
    raw and he does not realize that it is combined with food that is eaten
    cooked, the prohibition of bishul akum applies.

  7. The prohibition of bishul akum does not apply in doubtful cases, for
    example where it is unclear whether or not a gentile has cooked the food.
    Such food is therefore permitted.

  8. If a Jew lights the fire under a pot and a gentile then places food into
    it to be cooked, Rabbi Yosef Karo (the Mechaber) forbids the food, while
    Rabbi Moshe Isserlis (the Rama) permits it. If a Jew places food into a pot
    and afterwards a gentile lights the fire, these authorities agree that the
    food is prohibited.

  9. Owners of restaurants and hotels which have a clientele of Jews who
    conduct themselves according to Rabbi Yosef Karo (the Mechaber) should make
    certain that the food cooked in their kitchens is permitted also to them,
    i.e. they should conduct the kitchen according to the more stringent opinion
    of the Mechaber.