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I've seen prepackaged hard-boiled eggs in the grocery store with an OU. As eggs are relatively inedible raw, what is the heter vis-a-vis bishul akum for them? (Or are they having a Jewish mashgiach turn on the equipment in the factory?) Would we say they're not fit for a state banquet?

  • 2
    Have you tried asking the OU's Consumer Hotline? (I happen to have seen that product for the first time very recently myself.) – Isaac Moses Nov 3 '14 at 16:53
  • The halacha is that eggs are in the category of bishul akum so they must do some form assistance in the cooking. – sam Nov 3 '14 at 17:01
  • Who said it was cooked by non-Jews? – Shokhet Nov 3 '14 at 17:03
  • Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/41230 – msh210 Nov 3 '14 at 20:32
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    @SAH Rav Moshe Feinstein says that applies to homes, not sterile-feeling factories. – Shalom May 24 '17 at 15:20
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This is the response I received to my query from the OU.

Dear Gershon, Thank you for contacting the OU. They are bishul yisroel. Please do not hesitate to contact us again should you have any further questions. Sincerely, The Web(be) Rebbe Orthodox Union Kashruth Division

So there is no Bishul Akum Heter being used with supervised hard boiled eggs.

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These eggs are cooked by boilers that run constantly. The OU ensures that when the boiler needs to be restarted, it is done with a Mashgiach.

Source: I heard it from a Rabbi who asked the OU and got that answer. Of course we may not be talking about the same company, but the point being that the OU requires the Bishul Yisroel and makes arrangements for it.

It should be noted that the OU publishes 9 reasons why something may not be required to be Bishul Yisroel. Of particular relevance to this case is #8:

  1. Steamed in a factory’s specialized equipment: Foods cooked with direct steam and in a factory which uses equipment which is radically different than the type used in a home aren’t subject to the prohibition of bishul akum.

So in addition to the first point (which applied to one egg making operation, but perhaps not the one you are looking at), if the eggs are cooked with direct steam - if that is possible - then no Bishul Yisroel would be required, according to the OU. This is a position which many other certification agencies take, and certain types of manufacturing processes often use direct steam instead of traditional cooking, so it is a very common leniency.

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    It should be noted that #8 is the reason given for canned tuna, as I've heard (if memory serves me) from R' Hershel Schachter. – Seth J Nov 3 '14 at 20:36

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