Passover Kashrut Questions/Answers (5783)
Rabbi Aaron Alexander – Adas Israel Congregation
Chair, CJLS Kashrut Subcommittee
*Questions often based off of: https://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/story/pesah-guide-5783
*Lots of theory behind decisions, here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/3560800387344180/
*Passover Source Sheets: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/0s9i252tv42hcaef484yk/h?dl=0&rlkey=ryyom0gqgjj7sqrhtvgqepbps
Q: I’m hoping you can clarify the status of packaged seeds such as pumpkin, celery, sunflower, sesame etc for those who eat kitniyot on Pesach.
A: Raw — fine.
Roasted, probably best to look for certified GF. For both, purchased before passover.
A company like this works well. https://www.mygerbs.com/gerbs-story/
Q: Pesach question for you. Enameled Steel Sinks are stainless steel sinks covered with a enamel coating, which has been fired at a high temperature. Kasherable for Pesach purposes? Having trouble finding a guide that addresses this directly.
A: Yes, hagalah--after washing well with a strong soap and giving 24 hours before pouring the boiling water over—this is sufficient. Some poskim advocate for hagalah 3 times (kind of like earthenware for those who permit that), but that’s only if you are feeling uncomfortable with the 1 pour.
Q: Do you have common-sense guidelines for tofu on Pesach, assuming modern Conservative / Sephardic-friendly rules? I assume in our area at least there's no such thing as kosher for Pesach tofu, but it is a processed food with additives, etc. Any quick thoughts about tofu on Pesach?
A: If you find certified GF Tofu, buy it before Passover and it is totally fine (for kitniyot eaters).
Q: I wanted to ask about the rationale of permitting canned Tuna without a Passover Heksher before Passover as described in the RA guide. Below is the OU statement on the subject. Even if one did not hold the Kitniyot oils to be a problem, how do you get around the equipment processing?
Thanks and Chag Sameach
A: Appreciate the question. I've been in touch with lots of companies and the "may" seems to be very, very unlikely. But even if it did happen, it'd be a case of nat bar nat d'heiteira—therefore totally fine if purchased beforehand. The OU, for whatever reason, just won't go there. Hope this helps.
Follow up Q: Two follow up questions –
1. If you don’t eat Kitniyot, are you saying that Tuna packed in only water has no Kitniyot issues?
2. My impression of Noten Taam Bar Noten Taam was that it is related to questions of Basar B’Chalav. Is it generally applied to Hametz as well?
A: 1. Yup, in water no issue. And most oils for tuna are vegetable, though you may also see some kitniyot oils (most likely soy). They’d be on the ingredient list.
2. Here’s a little bit of Rav Ovadia’s paper (Yechaveh Daat 1:11) on purchasing cheeses/jams before Passover. The concept does transfer beyond Basar B’Halav:
נוסף לזה, י"ל שאפילו היו הכלים של חמץ בני יומן, הואיל והמרקחות נעשו בזמן היתר החמץ, הו"ל נותן טעם בר נותן טעם דהיתרא, שפסק מרן בש"ע יו"ד (ר"ס צ"ה) להתיר אף לכתחלה.
On top of this, one could claim that even if the equipment is used within 24 hours (and this is known for certain), since the jam/jelly is produced at a time when hametz is permitted, what we have is the principle of a secondarily transmitted taste of something permitted, which R. Karo permits outright (l'khatchila).
Q - I was hoping to receive some clarification on a couple items that do not require hechsher (when bought before the chag) in this year’s guide but were not on the list last year – butter, dried fruit, and canned tuna. Could you help me understand what has changed in either our knowledge of how these foods are processed or the Kashrut committee’s halachic perspectives?
A - Over the course of the pandemic we spent lots of time researching specific kinds of products to ease some restrictions of the past, including some general products that had long been in certain categories without any updates. So any change from “needing KP supervision at all times” to “okay to purchase beforehand w/o KP” means that in looking more deeply at a product, it was determined that they’d be free of hametz, or at the very least, any accidental addition to hametz in the product was negligent, halakhically.
Q - I have questions based on the new RA Pesach guide regarding non Pesach hechshered cream cheese, plain yogurt and cottage cheese which were allowed during the height of the pandemic. Have those leniencies been removed for good?
A - cream cheese and cottage cheese fall under plain cheeses that are in the "no KP, okay to buy beforehand" column. Good question. Not including plain yogurt there is a mistaken omission from draft to final version. But it remains okay to buy beforehand.
Q - I see that whole (unground) spices are OK. But I wonder if spices with a hekhsher that have no other ingredient need to be KP?
( ex: just ground cinnamon or just ground nutmeg and nothing else)
A: They likely are. But often anti-caking agents are used for ground spices. So depends on brand, etc. You can always ask a brand if they do or not. If they don’t, perfectly fine to buy beforehand.
3. Are hekhshered canned fruits and vegetables OK? (ex: can of Dole pineapple slices lists: pineapple, pineapple juice and citric acid)
4. The RA list has under No Pesach hekhsher required- "olive oil (and other pure oils)" Under Hekhsher always required- "oils (olive oil, see above)" Can you please clarify?
A: Flavored oils are potentially problematic, and more common now.
5. No Pesach hekhsher is needed for frozen fruit and vegetables. Does it make a difference if they are whole, sliced or chopped?
A: Nope. Those are okay too.
Q - I see that unground spices do not need a Pesach hechsher. It is not clear to me from the guide if you would permit ground spices purchased before Pesach, specifically: turmeric, cumin & cayenne. If not , can you suggest a source that is kosher of Pesach.
A - The reason I can’t blanket permit those is because in ground spices there are sometimes anti-caking agents added—and those can be hametz. If you ask a particular company if they use them (or which they use) it can be pretty easy to determine whether or not it could be purchased beforehand without KP. My guess is there are some good options for the spices you listed. If you have a specific brand you can pass it along and I can look into it. Or you can also just email the company. I usually get responses when I do that…
Q: I am curious that raisins require either an OU or a StarK hechsher. What is the problem with TriangleK?
A: It’s less about a specific issue with Triangle-K raisins, and more what we are able to (and asked) to verify. I’ve not looked into them before but will see what I can find. I suspect they are okay, but will see if I can confirm that.
Follow up: The issue is potential kitniyot dertitives being used in a spray they receive before packaging. So if you eat kitniyot, no problem. I don’t eat kitniyot, but I’d still get these personally before Passover (If I ate raisins!) because a derivative spray like this, to me, isn’t problematic. But for others it might be...
Q: I am trying to determine if Lactaid (the milk version in the carton or jug) requires a Kosher l'Pesach certification if purchased before the start of the holiday or if it can be treated like white milk in which case it wouldn't need such certification.
A: It’s likely they don't do specific KP hashgacha because of potential shared equipment, which then wouldn’t be cost effective. But that's not a concern for us, especially because their products are GF (except a few weird specialty flavors...I'd stick to the plain milk).
Q: The RA approves buying “Plain, non-flavored almond milk” before Passover. Does that approval cover Silk original almond milk (whose label says it has “natural flavor” but no “flavorings”)?
A: Yup, totally fine.
Q: If low-moisture mozzarella cheese in the form of a block is bought before the holiday, is a regular Kosher certification sufficient, or does it need a KP?
A: Fine with year-round hechsher to buy beforehand.
Q: If one normally does not eat kitniyot on Pesah, would it be OK to eat kitniyot on that Shabbat (even after 11 AM)? I'm trying to think of a way so that Shabbat won't end up being like a 9th day of Pesach. Any other ideas will be gratefully accepted.
A: In fact, it would be prohibited to prohibit yourself from eating them as a matter of law. You can choose not to eat them, but that would not be a halakhic choice, just a personal preference. It is totally and entirely permitted. And, since kitniyot don’t transmit flavor or anything prohibited to your already pesadic stuff/dishes/cookware, nothing needs to happen after you do eat them, and you can prepare them on your Passover ready kitchenware.
Q: The first question concerns dried fruit. If I have a package (bearing a year round OU certification) that contains only one ingredient, such as dates, cherries, prunes, or raisins, and there are absolutely no other ingredients listed on the package — no preservatives, no oils of any kind, etc — may this be used if purchased before Passover?
A: Anything labeled “no additives” and certainly GF brands are totally fine to buy beforehand. There are lots of options in those categories.
Q: May a package with an OU certification containing only shelled walnuts be used for Passover?
A: Without preservatives, yes, totally fine. With preservatives, it depends on the preservatives. But usually okay, still.
Q: Must countertops be kashered (cleaned, left for 24 hours, boiling water), or just cleaned thoroughly?
A: Clean thoroughly, let them sit for 24 hours without putting any hot food on them. Throwing some boiling water over doesn’t hurt (always good to do if possible), but unless you plan on cooking food directly on the counter, the cleanse and 24-hour wait is sufficient.
Neither of the gelcaps are flavored or chewable, both are gluten free. (One uses cornstarch in the capsule.)
The other supplements are in tablet form, hechshered, and gluten, wheat, and soy free.
Can I continue to take these vitamins and supplements during Pesah?
A: All are fine for Passover.
Q: Are cottage cheese, cultured skim milk, cream, salt, and Vitamin A Palmitate Kosher for Passover?
A: Yes. Safest to buy certified Gluten Free cottage cheese, or check label for (a very rarely used) modified wheat starch, sometimes barley-based.
Q: Are these items Kosher for Passover, with purchase before Passover? Canned sweet potatoes with year round hechsher (Ingredients: sweet potatoes, water, sugar)
Q: Are these items Kosher for Passover? Canned crushed pineapple and canned pineapple juice with year round hechsher (Ingredients: pineapple juice, clarified pineapple juice, pineapple juice from concentrate)
Q: Are these items Kosher for Passover? Juices: ascorbic acid and malic acid
Q: May I purchase plain greek yogurt before Passover, for use on Passover?
A: Yes. Greek yogurt is simply dairy and live-cultures. For any (unlikely, but) potential cross-contamination concerns, purchase a certified GF brand, of which there will be many options. This website has lots of possible options. (Greek-style yogurt may use thickeners, which present other concerns.)
Q: How do I kasher le crusette dutch oven for Pesach -- it has an enamel coating inside…
A: Clean it. Extremely well. As if inis new. No foodstuff at all. Let it sit 24 hours. Then immerse in boiling water in it 3 separate times (hagalah). You could also place it in the oven and bring it to its highest possible heat for about an hour.
Q: I understand that pure black, green, and white teas do not need a K for P hecksher. Is Oolong considered a black tea?
A: It’s like black/green tea in terms of processing, so no need for special KP.
Q: I bought some kosher for pesach flour from a guy in upstate NY. I've been scouring the internet for matzo recipes. Many use olive oil. Is there a halakhic reason to avoid the olive oil?
A: If you use oil, you will have matzah ashira. Fine for eating throughout passover (please save some for me), just not the mitzvah matzah after motzi/al achilat matzah at seder.
Q: Whipped cream cheese OU but not KFP, to purchase before Passover?
A: Yup, and lots of GF options out there. I have checked on Philidelphia before and that’s okay.
Q: Is nutritional yeast K for P?
A: Yes. And I still recommend GF brands, of which there are many. (Brewers yeast, however, very hametz-y)
Q: I noticed you added decaffeinated coffee to your not needing a KP list this year if it uses the Swiss Water Process. Is that a normal method?
A: So glad you noticed. Definitely look out for brands that use this method. Google’s your friend here. (https://www.luckybelly.com/swiss-water-process-decaf-coffee-brands/)
As for other decaf coffees, I feel the urge to comment further. The Swiss Water Process isn’t the most widely used method. Most coffees use a direct or indirect chemical solvent process to remove the caffeine. The reason decaf coffees require a KP, at least according to the hashgacha industry, is because Ethyl Acetate can be used, and it may contain corn or wheat. Nevertheless, I still can’t quite figure out how it could be a problem, especially for decaf bought before Passover. It literally diminishes the flavor of the coffee to use this to decaffeinate. If it is corn based, it’s fine even for kitniyot eaters. Even if it is wheat based, it is minuscule. Like, very much so. There are other chemicals, too. It may not even be wheat! Seems pretty darn hard to prohibit, unless you really want to be prohibitive.
All that to say, this year, until I can learn a bit more as to why they are so prohibitive, I’m sticking with the Swiss Water Method as outright permitted. I’m fairly certain all decaf is fine to purchase without a KP, but will wait until next year to officially add it.
Q: May I purchase unflavored half & half before Passover?
A: Yes, half and half can be bought before Passover.
Q: Can I use heavy cream, purchased before Passover, that lists gellan gum as the other ingredient besides for milk?
A: Yep, fine.
Q: May I buy bamba before Passover (we eat kitniyot)?
A: So, two answers. There is a KP version you can buy, likely produced for Israeli kitniyot eaters.
As for non KP marked bamba, here’s what I know. It isn’t certified GF, though it is actually GF. There are potential (very unlikely) shared equipment concerns which is why it is listed as an allergen. But even if it did share equipment, that isn’t a concern (for possible trace amounts) if bought before Passover.
Q: Is hummus KP if purchased before Passover for kitniyot eaters?
A: Hummus that is certified GF, like Sabra — no problem to buy before Passover. If you have a question about a non-certified GF brand, I can look into it.
Q: Can a Nespresso coffee maker be used on Passover?
A: Yup. If you only use non-flavored coffee, it’s already set to go. If flavored coffee is used (I don’t recommend flavored coffee at any point, but that’s just me) then remove pod, fill with new water, run it through until the water comes out clear. Let it sit until the next day and it’s ready.
Q: Are products that contain citrus acid okay for Passover if bought beforehand?
A: Assuming all the other ingredients are okay, yes. There’s a fairly large debate on this, as some citric acids can be produced with wheat flour. But many authorities (like R’ Ovadia Yosef) have determined it's still not problematic, as the flour never becomes hametz, and eventually loses it’s status as food in production. I’d feel comfortable purchasing something with citric acid in it.
Question and Answer by Rabbi Hillary Chorny (TBA-LA):
Q: Is Impossible Meat Kosher for Passover?
A: Impossible Meat is certified pareve by the OU for consumption for general kashrut purposes. There is no ingredient in Impossible Meat that constitutes chametz. The two ingredients that might be of concern, maltodextrin and yeast extract, were confirmed by the company itself not to be derived from cereal grains. Still, those ingredient comprise less than 2% of the product and are nullified 1/60 if the product is purchased before Pesach begins.
There are two major kitniyot ingredients in the product: soy protein concentrate and soy protein isolate. The latter is listed by several major kashrut organizations as a confirmed kitniyot product; it comprises less than 2% of the product and therefore is nullified by the majority of the product being non-kitniyot in nature. The second ingredient in the product, after water, is soy protein concentrate. That product is a highly processed extract of soy flour intended for concentrate the protein content and remove the soybean flavor. http://www.fao.org/3/t0532e/t0532e06.htm
Given the specifics about this majority of this product consisting of a kitniyot derivative that does not resemble a grain and cannot be confused with chametz, we should not be concerned about the consumption of the product in any amount. To be cautious, we might recommend that the product only be consumed if purchased before Pesach such that any chametz that might exist in trace content be nullified, though the product is certified gluten free and the company itself has confirmed no grain content is used.
Impossible Meat: I hold permissible even to those who are lo ochlei kitniyot.
Q: Must the juices with ascorbic acid be bought before Pesach due to possibilities that it’s derived from wheat? Would unflavored apple sauces with similar ascorbic therefore be okay as well?
A: Yes, those should be bought beforehand. Even though the ascorbic acid is not hametz (no matter the derivation), my general rule is, unless circumstances are dire, best to purchase non-KP-marked food in which we rely on good knowledge of the product, and bittul for potential cross-contamination--beforehand. But this also creates a distinction important for Passover—to be as conscious as possible of food on the holiday itself. It creates a tangible distinction between before Passover and during Passover. So we recommend to purchase beforehand, even if may not be absolutely necessary.
Q - Is it a slam-dunk to use 100% pure kosher single spices (purchased before Pesach) without a K-Pesach designation? Or are there things to be worried about?
A - The only thing to worry about with single ingredient ground spices is the potential addition of an anti-caking agent, which, in theory, could be wheat-based. So the best thing to do is use a website like this which is protecting celiacs. If they can eat it, any potential addition of an anti-caking agent is going to be non-wheat based.
Q: Is Upton’s Jackfruit, purchased in advance okay?
A: The unseasoned pieces are fine. The canned, I'd need to know the source of their natural preservatives, which could be wheat based. The fact that they aren't certified GF (with all those other certifications) suggests it may be problematic.
Q: Does a block of cheddar or mozzarella cheese with a regular OU, doesn't need Pesach certification?
A: This is fine to buy beforehand, yes.
Q: Is normally hechshered pure–vegetable oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil okay if bought before Passover.
A: Yup. Best to stick to a pure, single-ingredient oil.
Q: Are liquid egg-whites with no other ingredients okay to purchase before Passover?
A: Yup, totally fine to buy beforehand as a single-ingredient item.
Q: Does almond flour require a heksher? The only ingredient is blanched almonds
A: There are a number of brands some of the kashrut agencies have already okay to purchase before Passover. I imagine most brands would be fine, but unless I have a specific one, I can't say one way or another. But for now:
Kirkland Almond Flour is okay.
Barney Basics is okay.
Mandolin is okay.
Blue Diamond is okay.
Q: What about a can of artichokes that are hekshered ( but not for Passover) and gluten free. It has citric acid which I believe is OK for Passover and also ascorbic acid. Is it OK for Pesach?
A: Yup, this is fine to purchase beforehand. (See above for question on citric acid.)