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We read in Ma'achalot Assurot 17:22 that :

The oil of gentiles is permitted. One who forbids it commits a great sin, for he rebels against [the teachings] of the [High] Court who permitted it. Even if the oil was cooked, it is permitted. It is not forbidden because of gentile cooking, because we partake of oil uncooked. Nor is it forbidden, because of prohibited foods, because meat impairs [the flavor of] oil and spoils it.

שֶׁמֶן שֶׁל עַכּוּ''ם מֻתָּר. וּמִי שֶׁאוֹסְרוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹמֵד בְּחֵטְא גָּדוֹל. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמַּמְרֶה עַל פִּי בֵּית דִּין שֶׁהִתִּירוּהוּ. וַאֲפִלּוּ נִתְבַּשֵּׁל הַשֶּׁמֶן הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר. וְאֵינוֹ נֶאֱסָר לֹא מִפְּנֵי בִּשּׁוּלֵי עַכּוּ''ם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנֶּאֱכָל כְּמוֹת שֶׁהוּא חַי. וְלֹא מִפְּנֵי גִּעוּלֵי עַכּוּ''ם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַבָּשָׂר פּוֹגֵם אֶת הַשֶּׁמֶן וּמַסְרִיחוֹ

[Question] Does Ma'achalot Assurot 17:22 establish any type of cooking Oil is kosher?

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    @Chatzkel That's true, but maybe you can give an example of how cooking oil on the shelf at the store could possibly be not otherwise kosher, given this Rambam? Let's say then any bottle of oil in the store that is labeled with the name of a vegetable. Corn. Peanut. Canola.
    – Double AA
    Aug 19 '21 at 15:29
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    Vegetable oil is kosher as long as there's no other ingredient. However there's oils that have lard and other ingredients that are not kosher. I've never actually looked and checked but the ou seems to say it exists.
    – Chatzkel
    Aug 19 '21 at 15:42
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    @Chatzkel So there's no need for a hashgacha on a plain bottle of corn oil that just lists "corn" as the ingredient since it can't possibly be treif?
    – Double AA
    Aug 19 '21 at 15:44
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    @DoubleAA Because it could have had a product using lard (as an example). Aug 19 '21 at 16:05
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    @sabbahillel That wouldn't be a problem... Did you see the source in the question that we're discussing?
    – Double AA
    Aug 19 '21 at 16:07
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My understanding is that what the Rambam is really telling us here is that

  • there is no concern of bishul akum with oil (i.e., food cooked by non-Jews which is normally forbidden) because oil can be consumed raw (e.g., together with bread) and such products are exempted from the interdiction of bishul akum
  • oil that was cooked by non-Jews in their dishes is not forbidden due to the taste absorbed from the utensils, because that taste would be detrimental (the assumption being that the utensil wasn't used in the last 24 hours)

The Rambam bases his statement on the gemara in Avoda Zara 38b, see there with commentaries.

What the Rambam is NOT telling us here is that any type of cooking oil is kosher per se. Oil from animal fat wouldn't be, or oil from vegetable sources with forbidden additions.

For a very good synopsis on halacha in relation to modern oil production methods see here, and for more on what can happen in extreme cases with vegetable oil see here and here.

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    Are you saying that vegetable oil produced on equipment that wasn't kashered is fine according to this rambam?
    – Double AA
    Aug 19 '21 at 15:49
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    THAT is something that, if accurate, actually would answer the question!
    – Double AA
    Aug 19 '21 at 15:55
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    @חִידָה that is a question for your Rav in the country you live in ... I know in Switzerland and France virgin olive oil were permitted without checking. But sometimes they had grape seed oil which can be problematic
    – mbloch
    Aug 19 '21 at 15:59
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    @Double AA I spoke with an RC who deals with oils and he says the main problem is residue of lard and other treif ingredients on the line that get mixed in with the heat when they process the vegetable oil. Why would the Rambam permit that?
    – Chatzkel
    Aug 19 '21 at 16:12
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    @Chatzkel Lol I don't think anyone here expects anyone else to actually believe that kitchen hygiene standards were better 1000 years ago, but at least now you're finally trying to grapple with the source instead of pretending it doesn't exist. Rambam is explicitly talking about blios; I don't know what you mean there.
    – Double AA
    Aug 19 '21 at 16:30

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