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Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc
Button, Oyster, Padi Straw and Shitake mushrooms are commonly eaten raw and therefore do not require bishul Yisroel.1 The status of Chanterelles (Golden), Cloud Ear, Mixed Wild, Morels, Porcini, Portobello and Wood Ear mushrooms is more complicated, as it appears that vegetarians and others who are used to eating mushrooms will eat these raw, but those who are not used to these varieties prefer the cooked taste.
At first glance it would appear that since eating these mushrooms cooked is merely a matter of preference, as opposed to other foods where the raw version is completely inedible, the mushrooms should not require bishul Yisroel, based on Shach 113:19. This view would be supported by the presence of a noticeable minority of people (i.e. vegetarians) who in fact eat these raw. On the other hand, it may be that as relates to these issues the vegetarians and non-vegetarians are viewed as belonging to different “communities”, in which the former considers it edible raw and the latter does not. This question requires further consideration.
Another mushroom question which must be investigated is whether some or all of these varieties are infested with bugs, and how they should be cleaned or checked.
As an ingredient, dehydrated mushrooms are free from bishul akum concerns because they are typically not cooked before (or during) the dehydration process and are essentially sold raw with the end user taking responsibility for cooking them. As such, the Rav HaMachshir at the plant cooking the dehydrated mushrooms would have to decide whether they are considered edible raw (and exempt from bishul Yisroel) or not. [As with other items, dehydration of mushrooms dries any bugs that might have been present, rendering then not-forbidden.]