Must Twizzlers and other candies be Bishul Yisrael?

Must Twizzlers and other candies be Bishul Yisrael?

The recipe: The Twizzler candy produced by Hershey corporation contains as main ingredients: Corn syrup, wheat flour [25%], sugar, and cornstarch. These ingredients are cooked together for several hours and then cooled to form the Twizzler candy.

The general law: All foods that are cooked are subject to the laws of Bishul Akum, with exception to Mezonos products that are baked, which are subject to the laws of Pas Akum.[1] The prohibition of Bishul Akum only applies to foods that cannot be eaten raw, and are of importance to be served at a kings table. All foods that are edible raw, or are of unimportance and hence not served at a kings table, are not subject to the laws of Bishul Akum, and may hence be cooked by a gentile.[2] If however the food is eaten on a kings table and is not eaten raw, then it is prohibited due to Bishul Akum even if the food is not eaten together with bread, but rather as a desert or appetizer.[3] [However, some Poskim[4] are lenient and rule that only foods that are eaten with bread are prohibited due to Bishul Akum, and thus even if the food is eaten on a kings table and is not eaten raw, if it is not eaten with bread it is exempt from the prohibition of Bishul Akum. Aside for the above discussion, it is questionable as to what is the exact definition of an “important food which is served at a kings table?” Some[5] suggest it refers to any food that is not normally served at a wedding meal or in the White House dinner, and so is the approach followed by the OU and Star K. Others[6] suggest it is any food that will be put out in front of guests to eat, such as on Shabbos, or even during breakfast, but not foods that are only eaten as a mere snack. Others[7] ascertain that due to the complexity of defining this matter, all cooked foods should be treated today as important foods that can be eaten at a kings table, and so is the approach of some Mehadrin Hashgacha’s in Eretz Yisrael, such as the Eida Hachareidis and others.[8] Regarding the definition of “cooked by a gentile” there is discussion in Poskim[9] as to whether electric machinery which is used to cook in food plants is considered cooked by a gentile or not. Practically, the Poskim conclude stringently in this regard.[10] In addition to all the above, some Poskim[11] rule a Torah scholar is not to eat any food cooked by a gentile, even if it is not prohibited due to Bishul Akum.[12] Other Poskim[13] however argue that it is not necessary today for a Torah scholar to be stringent in this matter. Practically, one who desires to be stringent, should be stringent upon himself, while one who desires to be lenient is not to be protested.[14]

The law by Twizzlers and other candies: Twizzlers are cooked and are made of ingredients that cannot be eaten raw, therefore making it applicable to the subject of Bishul Akum rather than Pas Akum. The same applies to call candies made through cooking. Nonetheless, there exist several joint reasons to exempt the Twizzler and other candies from the prohibition of Bishul Akum. 1) According to most approaches the Twizzlers and candies are not an important food that is fit to be served at a kings table, and the flour is a secondary ingredient, and hence is not viewed on its own regarding this matter. 2) The Twizzler is not eaten together with bread, and thus according to some Poskim is exempt from Bishul Akum, even if it were eaten at a kings table. 3) The batter is not directly cooked by a gentile but rather through automatic machinery that is turned on by a gentile. Practically, based on all this, it is permitted to eat Twizzlers and other candies cooked by a gentile, and so is the widespread custom of Jewry as well as majority of all Hashgacha agencies [including Mehadrin Hashgacha’s].[15] Nonetheless, there is room to be stringent in this matter if one desires, and so is the initial policy of some Mehadrin Hashgacha’s in Eretz Yisrael, to require initially that even candies be Bishul Yisrael.[16]

 

Summary:

Twizzlers and other candies are not required to be Bishul Yisrael, and so is the widespread custom and ruling. Nonetheless, there is room for those who desire to be meticulous in this matter

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[1] See Michaber 112/1; Taz 112/6; Shach 112/18; Toras Chatas 75/12; Beis Yosef 12 in name of Rav Yechiel; Peri Chadash 112/17; Beis Lechem Yehuda 112/11; Kaf Hachaim 112/35; See Hakashrus 19/2

[2] Michaber 113/1; Avoda Zara 38a

[3] Implication of Michaber 113/1 “Or to eat as a Parperes” as writes the Peri Chadash 113/3 and so conclude the following Poskim: Chochmas Adam 66/1; Aruch Hashulchan 113/7; Kaf Hachaim 113/7

[4] Peri Chadash 113/3

[5] Many Rabbaonim and Kashrus organizations including: Rav Yisrael Belsky of the OU; Rav Heinman of the Star K; See Kashrus Halacha Lemaaseh p. 373;

[6] Beis Vaad Lachachamim p. 303 and onwards; See Kashrus Halacha Lemaaseh p. 373

[7] See Beis Vaad Lachachamim p. 303 and footnote 39 in name of some Rabbonim and Mehadrin Hashgacha’s; Opinion of Rav Moshe Yosef, the Rav Hamachshir of Badatz Beit Yosef; See Igros Moshe Y.D. 4/48 regarding potato chips; See Aruch Hashulchan 113/18 that food sthat are only eaten by the poor are defined as Eino Oleh; See Kashrus Halacha Lemaaseh p. 373

[8] So I was told by a representative of the Vaad Hakashrus of the Eida Hachareidis that they ae initially careful that the boiler for the candy production be turned on by a Jew.

[9] See Kashrus Halacha Lemaaseh p. 380-384

[10] See Shevet Halevi 6/108-6; Minchas Yitzchak 3/26; Yabia Omer 5/9; Igros Moshe Y.D. 4/48 rules stringently although says the world is accustomed to be lenient and are not to be protested

[11] Shach 152/2; Shabbos 51a; Arizal Shaar Hamitzvos Vayeilech regarding Turmisin, even though they are not Oleh Al Shulchan Melachim; Divrei Yosef 45; Maharikash 113; Rashbatz 1/89; Chida in Birkeiy Yosef 113 Shiyurei Bracha 4; Mizmor Ledavid 113; Kaf Hachaim 113/12; Shevet Halevi 6/108-3

[12] The reason: As when people see him being lenient they will come to be even more lenient than him. [Rashi ibid]

[13] Kneses Hagedola 113/14; Peri Chadash 113/3; Lechem Hapanim 113/2; Peri Toar 114/9; Erech Hashulchan 113/3; Bach, based on omission of Rof and Rambam, brought in Shach ibid; Minchas Yaakov 75/30; Degul Merivava 113/1; Aruch Hashulchan 113/11; Zivcheiy Tzedek 113/10; Yeshuos Yaakov 113/1

[14] Zivchei Tzedek ibid; Ben Ish Chaiy Chukas 16; Kaf Hachaim 113/21; Panim Meiros ibid “A Baal Nefesh should be stringent not to drink any coffee or tea made by a gentile.”

[15] So I was told by Rav Padvah, a known Kashrus Authority.

[16] Besides for the unclairty in the exact definition of Eino Oleh Al Shulchan Melachim, it is also a Hiddur for a Talmid Chacham not to eat food cooked by a gentile even if not forbidden due to Bishuil Akum.

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