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Alcohol

I see that some items I buy in the pharmacy contain alcohol; does that mean they are or may be chametz? **

The answer to this question depends on which type of "alcohol" one is discussing, as follows: Benzyl alcohol, methyl alcohol (a.k.a., methanol), isopropyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol are not made from chametz. Ethyl alcohol, a.k.a. ethanol, can be made from chametz, and isoamyl alcohol is often a byproduct of whisky. These may also appear on an ingredient panel as part of a compound such as ethyl acetate or isoamyl butyrate.

Denatured alcohol, a.k.a. SD Alcohol, is ethyl alcohol which has been blended with other materials to render it not potable; there are different opinions as to whether such alcohol is forbidden on Pesach. In general, the cRc follows the strict opinion on this matter. However, alcohol manufactured in the United States is likely not chametz at all (but rather just kitnios) and, therefore, as relates to that type of alcohol the cRc relies on the lenient opinion that denatured alcohol is permitted. Accordingly, the bottom line is that if the denatured alcohol is in a product manufactured in the United States, one can use the product.

Perfume

Does perfume have to be specifically approved for Pesach? ** The status of perfume depends on whether denatured ethyl alcohol is or is not considered inedible. For more on that issue, see the FAQ on "alcohol".

Toothpaste

I know that you tell people that toothpaste needs a hechsher for Pesach, and would love to understand the rationale behind that recommendation.

There are those who take the position that toothpaste is considered inedible, since any food that tasted like toothpaste would never be served as a meal-item. This is the justification for why many Rabbis permit the use of any toothpaste (year-round) despite the possibility that the glycerin contained in the toothpaste is made from non-kosher animal fat. Other argue that toothpaste is halachically considered edible, and they are supported by the fact that people put toothpaste into their mouths every day (and that young children choose to eat it). Some follow that position all year-round and will only use a toothpaste that is certified as kosher (or free of glycerin).

The cRc accepts the lenient approach as relates to year-round use, but recommends that one be machmir for the strict opinion as relates to Pesach. Therefore, for Pesach we recommend that one only use a toothpaste that is known to be chametz-free.

What ingredients in toothpaste might be chametz? Just about every variety of toothpaste contains sorbitol, which is created by "hydrogenating" glucose. Glucose can be derived from chametz, kitnios, or completely innocuous ingredients, and [although most glucose and sorbitol in the United States is not made from chametz] we cannot recommend toothpaste unless we know what the glucose is made from. Toothpastes also commonly contain other minor ingredients which raise chametz concerns.

Allergen Statement

How come the food I bought for Pesach says "may contain wheat" on the label? Isn't wheat chametz?

Foods that contain an "allergen" must declare that on their label. Wheat is an allergen, and if the label says, "contains wheat", the food is presumably chametz. [Although, bear in mind that items made with matzah meal may be kosher for Pesach even though they obviously contain wheat]. Some manufacturers go one step further and add a "precautionary" statement, such as "manufactured on machinery that processes wheat", or "may contain wheat". These types of statements are not required by law and are voluntarily included out of an abundance of caution.

The fact that the food was produced in a facility that also houses or processes wheat is not a reason for consumers to be concerned that the product is chametz. This is because in most cases there is no realistic chance of mixing of chametz into other foods. Even if a small amount of airborne flour (for example) did get into the chametz-free food, that is not of halachic significance, and the food may be eaten on Pesach.

There are some cases where there is a legitimate risk of contamination. One example of this is quinoa, where some factories that package quinoa also package other grains, and it is possible that kernels of wheat or barley will be mixed into the quinoa. In these types of cases, cRc will recommend that the food only be eaten if specially certified for Pesach, which ensures that the food is free of chametz and kitnios.

BHA & BHT

Why do nuts which contain BHA or BHT require hashgachah for Pesach?BHA and BHT (Butylated hydroxyanisole and Butylated hydroxytoluene respectively) do not inherently pose a Pesach concern, but they are often applied to nuts (and other foods) in a soybean oil base. Soybean oil is kitnios and therefore we cannot recommend items with BHA or BHT unless they are specifically certified for Pesach

Bottled Water

Is bottled water acceptable for Pesach without special certification? If it is just plain, uncarbonated water, then it can be used without Pesach certification. The same is true if it also contains minerals such as calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, magnesium oxide, magnesium sulfate, potassium bicarbonate, potassium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, or sodium chloride. If it contains vitamins and/or citrates (e.g., calcium citrate), then it should only be used if certified as kosher for Pesach.

Breastmilk

May frozen or fresh breastmilk from before Pesach be used on Pesach? *** Yes, but it should be stored in a Pesach (or new, disposable) container, because if it is kept in a chametz container the milk will absorb chametz ta'am/taste (via kovush) and become forbidden. The pump that you used to express the milk should not be washed together with Pesach dishes or in a sink that is kosher for Pesach.

Brown Sugar

Why does your Shopping Guide say that brown sugar has to be certified for Pesach? Genuine brown sugar is, as you describe, a precursor to white sugar and does not require special Pesach certification. However, nowadays much of the brown sugar sold in the market is actually white sugar which is colored brown with molasses or caramel color. Those two ingredients are potentially not acceptable for Pesach (for reasons that are beyond the scope of this document) and therefore we recommend that consumers only purchase brown sugar that is certified for Pesach.

Buy Before Pesach

I see that you recommend certain items for Pesach but say they should be bought before Yom Tov. If they do not contain any chametz, why can't I also buy them on Chol HaMoed

First a bit of background before we can directly answer your question. The prohibition against eating chametz on Pesach is so strict that if the tiniest amount of chametz is mixed into food on Pesach, the food cannot be eaten. In other words, the standard rules of bitul b'shishim do not apply. But that is only true if the chametz was mixed in on Pesach; if it happened before Pesach, the food is permitted assuming the chametz was batel b'shishim.

There are a handful of items - milk, eggs (in the shell), bagged salads, baby carrots - where [a] additives are used which might be chametz (although they likely are not), [b] the additives are in such small proportions that they are surely batel b'shishim, but [c] these foods arrive at stores very soon after they are prepared. As a result, the milk, eggs, etc. which you buy on Chol HaMoed, might have been produced on Pesach with a chametz additive which cannot be batel (since it was added on Pesach). Accordingly, we recommend that if these items are not available with Pesach certification, one should purchase them before Yom Tov to avoid these concerns

Coatings on Fruits & Vegetables

Are there any kitnios or chametz issues regarding the coatings put on fruits and vegetables? No. One exception is dried fruit, such as raisins, which may have a kitnios coating to keep the fruit from sticking to one another and should only be used with Pesach certification.

Decaffeinated Coffee

Why does your guide say that decaffeinated coffee has to have hashgachah for Pesach? Why is the coffee more problematic if the caffeine was removed? There are a number of different methods of removing caffeine from coffee beans and a common denominator between them is that the beans come in contact with a (hot) liquid which draws the caffeine out of the bean. The liquid used for decaffeination may be water, a chemical solvent (i.e. ethyl acetate, methylene chloride, carbon dioxide), or a combination of the two, and sometimes water extracts the caffeine from the beans, and then the solvent is used to extract the caffeine from the water before the water is reused. In cases where the chemical solvent has direct contact with the beans, the beans are often soaked in hot water or steam to soften them before the solvent is applied. The Pesach issues with these processes are that (a) ethyl acetate may be derived from chametz, and (b) the water used in the process is sometimes purified (hot) on a carbon bed, which is in turn purified with hot ethyl alcohol, which may be derived from chametz. Due to these concerns, decaffeinated coffee is only recommended on Pesach if it bears a reliable kosher certification, which guarantees that the decaffeination process has no traces of chametz or kitnios. [In addition to the issue of decaffeination, instant coffee and flavored coffee, require hashgachah for Pesach.]

Egg Matzah

The Pesach egg matzah in the store says that it can only be used by the elderly or infirm. Why would it say that? Either it is kosher for Pesach or not? *****
The Ashkenazic custom is that healthy people do not consume "egg matzah" (i.e., matzah made with liquids other than water), but anyone who is incapacitated or sick and would benefit from eating egg matzos is permitted to do so (Rema 462:4). The decision whether one may consume egg matzah should be made in consultation with a Rabbi. [Even when egg matzah is permitted, it must bear a reliable Pesach certification]

Eggs

Is there anything I need to know before buying eggs fr Pesach?

Raw eggs that are still in the shell, can be used for Pesach even if they are not specifically certified for Pesach. This is true of both white and brown eggs, and also applies to eggs which are pasteurized in-shell. However, if you will be using eggs which are not specifically certified for Pesach, we recommend that you buy them before the holiday so as to avoid the small chance that there was chametz in the ink used to mark the eggs or as an additive to the water used to wash the eggs. [Such chametz would not pose a concern if it was present before Pesach.] In contrast, liquid eggs (refrigerated or frozen) and cooked eggs require special Pesach certification because they may possibly contain sensitive ingredients or have been processed on equipment used for other items

Frozen Fruit

Your Pesach Guide says that frozen fruit may be used without hashgachah if it is not sweetened or cooked. What if the ingredient panel says that it contains ascorbic acid, citric acid or sugar? Ascorbic and citric acid can be chametz or kitnios (or innocuous), and we therefore cannot recommend anything uncertified that contains these ingredients. However, since sugar does not pose a Pesach concern, fruit sweetened with sugar (without any other ingredients) is acceptable for Pesach.

Frozen vegetables

Why do frozen vegetables require Pesach certification? Frozen vegetables sold as "raw" are in fact cooked for a few minutes, in a process known as "blanching". Some of the factories which blanch vegetables also blanch pasta/chametz, and therefore frozen vegetables should only be used with Pesach hashgachah. This guarantees that the vegetables were not cooked on equipment which had been previously used for chametz.

Gluten-Free Foods

If food is labeled as being gluten-free does that mean I can eat it on Pesch
People who are celiac or otherwise choose to avoid gluten will not eat items that contain wheat, rye, spelt, and barley, and at first glance it would seem that anything labeled gluten-free is automatically be suitable for Pesach. The simplest reasons why this is not accurate are that (a) oats can be gluten-free, yet oats mixed with water is chametz, and (b) corn, rice, and beans are all gluten-free but are not eaten by Ashkenazic Jews due to the custom of avoiding kitnios. Even more surprising to most people is that in recent years, companies have started producing gluten-free wheat flour (e.g. Molino flour) which people use to bake bread and challah which is obviously chametz! [The flour itself is also chametz since it is processed with water; it must be discarded or sold before Pesach] ***

In addition, in order to qualify as gluten-free, the FDA requires that the product be shown to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. This may be an appropriate standard for people suffering from celiac but such tests will not show whether the product was produced on hot equipment used for chametz/gluten (which was not kashered) or whether the gluten-free products had incidental contact with gluten-containing grains during transit or processing. Such issues have been observed by Mashgichim overseeing kashrus for items claiming to be gluten-free. ***

However, there is a more fundamental reason why gluten-free products are not necessarily acceptable for Pesach: the standards for gluten-free and chametz-free are not the same! *** The term "gluten" is used to refer to specific proteins (gliadin, hordein, and secalin) found in certain grains and any item free of those proteins can be labeled gluten-free. Of course, these grains also have other components such as starch which may be gluten-free but are most definitely chametz. Thus, for example, in some countries wheat starch which is converted into glucose, later becomes alcohol, and finally ferments into vinegar, may be labeled "gluten free" yet the product is clearly not suitable for Pesach. A real-life example of this is Benefiber powder which is made of pure wheat dextrin and is chametz but since it is free of wheat protein it is labeled as being gluten-free (see http://bit.ly/1ckR3ng). Similarly, Scotch whisky is made of malted barley and is surely chametz, yet the Scotch Whisky Association proudly reports that it is acceptable for coeliacs (the English spelling of celiac) (see question #90 at http://bit.ly/HiBrG5). These examples reflect the fact that the standard for gluten-free is not the same as the halacha's standard of chametz-free. Accordingly, we recommend that people wishing to purchase food for Pesach check that the item is certified as being kosher for Pesach and not merely rely on a company's gluten-free claim.

Ink used to mark meat

The government and Shochtim mark meat with special edible inks. The USDA regulates the exact ingredients allowed in the ink, and several them are possibly chametz, but - in the United States - the sensitive ingredients are most likely kitnios. The sensitive items include dextrose, (denatured) ethyl alcohol, and glycerin. As no one has been able to obtain approved inks which are certified as being kosher for Pesach, many Rabbonim recommend that people should cut the "ink mark" off of the meat which they cook on Pesach. [It cannot easily be washed off]. It is likely that the letter of the law is that the ink does not have to be removed (since the kitnios is presumably batel b'rov in the ink, the sensitive ingredients are batel in the meat, and the alcohol is denatured and also likely evaporates when the meat is stamped), but nonetheless it is an appropriate practice to remove the ink-mark before cooking the meat.

Invert Sugar

Does invert sugar require special Pesach certification? Yes; the process of "inverting" sugar (i.e. increasing the percentage of fructose as compared to glucose) requires an enzyme or a food-acid, and those ingredients and the process require Pesach hashgachah.

K-Cups

We bought a new Keurig coffee maker which we will keep just for Pesach, and I'm wondering which K-cups we can buy to use in it. *** We recommend that you only use K-cups which are certified for Pesach (or which the year-round hashgachah says are approved for Pesach use). This is because there's a chance that even if the coffee is not decaffeinated and not flavored, the company might add starch as a processing aid in the agglomeration of the coffee (a process that is sometimes done for coffee grinds in K-cups).

Kamut

Is kamut chametz? Kamut is a variety of wheat which - just like all other wheat - can become chametz if mixed with water and left unattended for 18 minutes. Accordingly, kamut and kamut-based products are not recommended for Pesach.

Milk Substitutes

Is there any type of milk alternative on Pesach for those who are allergic to milk protein or sensitive to milk sugar (lactose)? Rice milk and soy milk are common milk substitutes. Both of these beverages are kitnios and are therefore surely not permitted for Ashkenazim who are in good health and can manage without these items. A more serious concern is that these items often contain chametz either in the enzyme (a barley-based beta amylase) or in the flavoring. Similar concerns apply to almond milk, cashew milk, and coconut milk (although these three are not inherently kitnios). [Both the enzyme and flavoring comprise less than 1/60 of the beverage, but cannot be batel because they respectively serve the role as davar hama'amid or milsah d'avidah lit'amah]. Please check the cRc website or app for details as to which brands are acceptable for this Pesach. Some people react negatively to lactose-containing milk because their bodies do not produce sufficient amounts of lactase, the enzyme which digests lactose. These people can drink milk without any complications if (a) the lactase enzyme is mixed into the milk or (b) if they take a pill of lactase together with their milk. [Lactaid is a popular brand for both of these forms of lactase.] The Pesach concern with this solution is that lactase is commonly created through a process known as Koji fermentation, which uses wheat bran as a primary ingredient. Therefore, the cRc policy is that one may use milk containing lactase if the lactase was added by the company before Pesach, and one may use non-chewable lactase pills on Pesach. However, one may not add lactase-drops to milk on Pesach, and one may not use chewable lactase pills (even if the person swallows them).

Netting and Twine

[A primary source for much of the information presented below, is Rabbi Yaakov Lach, author of Chullin Illuminated and manager of a twine and rope company.]
There is currently only one manufacturer in the United States who takes "dirty" cotton from the fields and converts it into twine. That manufacturer produces both regular and "polished" twine, and until a few years ago he would sprinkle flour onto the polished twine at the end of the process so as to help it dry. The application of flour was a very messy operation done in the part of the plant where the twine was wound onto the rolls, and invariably there would be a dusting of flour on the non-polished twine as well. Rabbi Wagshall (New Square) became aware of this and prevailed upon this manufacturer to switch from flour to ground marble (rock) powder.
There is no reputable information as to whether the same issue applies to twine manufacturers in other countries.
This type of twine is used by bakeries and is also sold to companies which use it to manufacture the netting which holds together pieces of meat. Due to concerns that the twine might have a dusting of flour on it, many hashgachos are particular that the twine used in a matzah bakery and the netting used in their packing houses, must come from sources which are known to be free of this chametz concern.
That said, the actual concern of flour/chametz having an effect on the person's food b'dieved, appears to be quite minimal if the person used netting made from unpolished twine. The halachic rationale for that position is that even if the twine was made in a factory that also uses flour, the ratio of flour to twine is assumed to be relatively small, and is likely decreased each time the twine is wound/unwound or handled (e.g. when creating the netting, packaging it, putting it on the meat). Thus, the only concern is that a miniscule amount of flour remains on the netting, and then if the meat is cooked on Pesach, it will affect the meat. However, it would appear that any bit of flour left on the netting would be treated as already being in a mixture which is designated as being "lach b'lach" - either because it is mixed/absorbed into the actual netting or into the meat - such that it was already batel before Pesach. Lastly, there is only a safek if there is any flour on a given netting or piece of twine, and when there is a safek regarding an issur mashehu, the general rule is that it can be batel even on Pesach (see Biur Halacha 447:4 s.v. shema).
While these lines of reasoning justify the permissibility of the meat made in a netting of unknown status, it is appropriate that a hashgachah should be careful to only allow "approved" twine and nettings to be used in certified bakeries, stores, and packing houses.
A secondary [year-round] issue which was raised by Rabbi Elisha Rubin (OK) is that there are some nettings companies that submerge the nettings in a kosher-sensitive liquid so that the netting will be "quick release" or have other special features. It is worthwhile to pay attention to these issues when selecting a netting to be used in a kosher packing house.

Olive Oil

I saw a report about how common it is for olive oil to be adulterated, and that makes me wonder how you can recommend extra virgin olive oil for Pesach even without special certification. What am I missing?

From time to time, questions are raised as to the authenticity and kashrus-status of extra virgin olive oil. These are primarily based on a study done by the University of California at Davis (UCD) in July 2010, as reported by a journalist named Tom Mueller. The cRc has considered these concerns and does not deem them significant enough to affect our recommendation that extra virgin olive oil may be used for Pesach and year-round without hashgachah. Many other hashgachos have independently come to the same conclusion. [Other oils and other forms of olive oil, require certification both for Pesach and year-round use]. The reasons for this are as follows:

• There is a certain amount of government oversight that product is properly labeled.

• UCD did a follow-up study in April 2011 and noted that the adulteration they are seeing falls into three categories - (1) oil which has oxidized due to heat, light or age, (2) intermingling of refined olive oil, and (3) oil with low quality due to overripe olives, improper storage, and similar issues. Issue #2 poses a small kashrus concern, but the others do not.

• UCD acknowledged that it is very rare for other oils to be mixed into extra virgin olive oil.

• Others have raised significant questions regarding the unfavorable aspects of the UCD reports:

o A group which filed suit against olive oil companies based on the UCD study, withdrew their lawsuit because they could not replicate the results (https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/518490/ucdavisstudyfails.pdf).
O NAOOA (North American Olive Oil Association) reports that in their repeated tests of retail samples of all types of olive oil, they have occasionally found adulteration, but it has consistently been in brands that have less than 2% of national retail market share.

O NAOOA further stated that, "U.C. Davis was only able to arrive at its much-publicized failure statistics through crafty combination of results from chemical tests rejected by the International Olive Council (IOC) and sensory analyses done by panels that stand to benefit from promoting domestic production. The tests used are referred to as PPP and DAGs; they've been considered and rejected by the IOC because of failure to produce consistent, reliable results.

Paper Bags

My mother says that when she takes hot Pesach cookies out of the oven, she likes to put them onto paper bags to cool off. Does she need specially certified paper bags for Pesach or can she use any kind?
Any kind is fine.

Pecans

Why do raw pecans require hashgachah for Pesach?

In most cases, when the pecan's nut is removed from its husk it comes out in two full segments - one from each side of the nut. When that doesn't happen, and the nut comes out in smaller pieces, that raises suspicion that the nut has been infested with the larvae of an insect called the pecan weevil. One way to separate the infested pieces is by putting all of them into a bath of ethanol or isopropanol; the nuts that are infested will float to the top, and those which are not infested will sink to the bottom. To avoid concerns that this may have been done with chametz or kitnios ethanol, we recommend that pecan pieces only be purchased if they have special certification for Pesach. [This concern does not apply to whole pecan segments, which are recommended even if they are pasteurized, unless they are blanched, roasted, or have other ingredients added.]

Rice Cereal

We've been told not to use commercially produced rice cereal on Pesach. What can we substitute for that? Commercial rice cereal is not recommended for Pesach because of the possibility that oatmeal flakes might inadvertently be mixed in, and because a chametz enzyme may be used in the processing. Instead, you can prepare your own rice cereal at home as long as you use specially designated pots and utensils (since rice is kitnios) and do not wash those items in the Pesach sink. The internet has plenty of recipes for home-made rice cereal, and a common one is to grind rice in a blender, and then cook it up at a ratio of 1 cup water to every quarter cup of ground rice.

Seltzer

Why does the cRc require a Pesach hechsher on unflavored seltzer

There are several ways to collect carbon dioxide used to create seltzer, and one of them is as a byproduct of the production of beer or whisky. Of course, beer and (just about all) whisky is chametz, and there is a difference of Rabbinic opinion whether the chametz status transfers to the carbon dioxide gas. Some are of the opinion that since carbon dioxide is a gas, and it is "scrubbed" of all chametz taste, it is permitted on Pesach even though it comes from a chametz source. The cRc follows the stricter opinion that treats the gas as chametz since it is direct result of the beer or whisky production.

Tonic Water

Does tonic water require special Pesach certification?

Yes. The carbonation might be derived from beer or whisky (see the entry on seltzer) and the flavor may contain chametz or kitnios components. Depending on the brand, the tonic water might also contain other ingredients, such as citric acid, which are Pesach-sensitive.

Vanilla Beans

Are vanilla beans kitnios?
No.*** You can purchase whole vanilla pods without special hashgachah for Pesach. However, vanilla extra and "spent" vanilla beans require certification for Pesach.

Vegetable Wash

Does vegetable wash require hashgachah for Pesach? Yes. Although there are a few kosher vegetable washes on the market, to the best of our knowledge most of them are not acceptable for Pesach. If consumers wish, they could substitute a small amount of dish liquid (any are acceptable) which will do the same job, if not better.

Vodka

Can unflavored vodka made from potatoes be consumed on Pesach without special supervision? No. The process of producing alcohol for vodka involves enzymes, such as malted barley, which may be chametz, and involves the use of hot equipment which may have been previously used for chametz alcohol. Therefore, we cannot recommend it without special Pesach certification.

Wheat Grass and Barley Grass

Are wheat grass or barley grass chametz? No. Only the wheat or barley berry/grain can become chametz when mixed with water, but the grass/stalk on which the grain grows cannot. It is however noteworthy, that wheat and barley grass are typically sold in a dried form, and we would not be able to recommend such a product for Pesach without verifying that no chametz was dried on the equipment used for drying the grass.

Baby Bottle

Do I need to buy new baby bottles for Pesach?
Either you should purchase new bottles or else kasher your existing ones before Pesach.
Please also bear in mind that if infant formulas - even those approved for Pesach use - contain kitnios. Accordingly, if you put infant formula into the bottle, you should not wash it in the sink used for Pesach foods, but should rather wash it in the bathroom or elsewhere.

Barbeque Grill

Can a barbeque grill be kashered for Pesach? What if the grates are new? The grates of a barbeque grill must be kashered with libun gamur, and the simplest way to do this by sandwiching the grill between layers of charcoal. Place a layer of charcoal on a cement surface, put the grate on top of the charcoal, and cover the grate with another layer of charcoal. Light all of the charcoal and allow it to burn for an hour. This will kasher the grates. [See https://bit.ly/KasherGrill for a short video about this]. Alternatively, you can purchase separate grates for Pesach. The rest of the grill can be kashered with libun kal, which can be accomplished relatively easily, as follows: If the grill comes with a cover, light the grill with coals or gas, close the cover, and allow it to burn on its highest setting (or filled with a considerable amount of coal) for an hour. If the grill does not have a cover, follow the same procedure, but make sure that all surfaces of the grill are covered with coals. As with all items being kashered, it is crucial that the grill be cleaned thoroughly of all food residue, which is often a particular difficulty in a barbeque grill. In fact, if the grill has too many holes, cracks, and crevices where food may get trapped, one should refrain from kashering the grill at all.

Braces

How should I clean out my child's braces after he or she eats chametz for the last time before Pesach? We have been told by orthodontists that [for those people who do not have a water-flosser (e.g. Waterpik)] the best way to clean braces is to use a "proxa brush" which has a narrow bristled end that fits between the different wires and brackets. It is an inexpensive and effective tool for removing all residue from braces and other dental appliances.

Convection Oven

How should I kasher my convection oven for Pesach?

A convection oven [or a convection microwave oven] functions much like any other oven but has an added fan that circulates air during cooking. This increases the oven's efficiency, encourages uniform temperatures in the chamber, and speeds the cooking process. The fan is typically located behind a grate or shield (that protects the user for accidentally touching it), but is close enough to the cooking chamber that food and vapor will splatter and reach the fan.

Thus, although a convection oven can be kashered just like every other oven, the cleaning which precedes the kashering is more intense and complicated. In most cases, the only way to clean the fan is to remove the protective shield from in front of it, and manually scrub the fan until it is free of all residue. Only then can the standard kashering of the oven begin.

Counter

I noticed in your article "Kashering the Kitchen" that you permit kashering countertops using irui unlike the ruling of Mishnah Berurah 451:114 who require an even m'lubenes. Can you please point me to the logic or source for rejecting this opinion? Shulchan Aruch 451:20 says that tables should be kashered via irui kli rishon. However, Mishnah Berurah 451:114 questions this ruling because occasionally a hot davar gush (solid food) of chametz might be placed onto the table, and we are machmir for those opinions that davar gush has the status of a kli rishon such that irui kli rishon would not be a sufficient kashering. Based on this question, Mishnah Berurah recommends that tables be kashered via irui kli rishon using an even m'lubenes so as to bring the level of kashering closer to that of a true kli rishon. Based on this, you wondered why our kashering guide says that a table can be kashered via a mere irui kli rishon and makes no note of an even m'lubenes. The answer to your question requires a deeper understanding of the halacha of "rov tashmisho", as follows: Shulchan Aruch 451:6 rules that - if a utensil is aino ben yomo - the method of kashering is determined by looking at the primary way the utensil is used (rov tashmisho) such that a table can be kashered via irui kli rishon because the primary use of the table is not for a hot davar gush. Rema agrees that the letter of the law follows Shulchan Aruch's ruling, but says that the Ashkenazic custom is to be machmir and choose a method of kashering that even suffices for the secondary uses (miut tashmisho) of the utensil. Accordingly, in the case of a table irui kli rishon isn't sufficient, and that is the basis for Mishnah Berurah's point. Since it is merely a chumrah to be concerned with miut tashmisho, one is not required to follow that chumrah in cases of b'dieved (as noted in the aforementioned Mishnah Berurah and in Rema 451:6) or in cases where that will mean it is impossible to kasher the utensil (see Sha'ar HaTziun 451:51, based in essence on the ruling of Rema YD 121:5). Accordingly, if one were able to kasher their table or counter via irui kli rishon with an even m'lubenes that would be the best way to kasher them, and in fact there are some people who do this. However, for most of the public this suggestion is impractical due to the (a) inability of many surfaces to withstand such heat and (b) the difficulty in properly using an even m'lubenes over a large surface. Therefore, we treat this situation as one where kashering based on miut tashmisho will mean that it is impossible to kasher the utensil, and rely on the letter of the law that one may kasher based on rov tashmisho (i.e. irui kli rishon without an even m'lubenes).

Counter Covers

Do you have any recommendations for covering non-granite or stainless steel counter tops instead of using disposable plastic shelf or lining paper? Some people have Formica-type covers professionally made to cover their counters for Pesach. Standard Formica is made of a very thin layer of laminate/plastic glued to a thick piece of wood, and the special Pesach covers are made from the same laminate glued to a thin piece of wood (to make it easier to maneuver and save from year to year).

Dishwasher

The cRc Pesach Guide says that one cannot kasher any dishwashers for Pesach, but I've seen other publications which allow the kashering of stainless steel models. Why are you taking such a strict stance? The first step in kashering any item is to remove all residual chametz. With this in mind, Rema 451:18 rules that any utensil which has small cracks and crevices where food might get trapped should not be kashered for Pesach because of the difficulty in getting the utensil perfectly clean. Our Guide presents the position of our Posek, Rav Schwartz ZT"L who holds that the racks, silverware holder, and drain/filter areas of a dishwasher are classic examples of Rema's ruling; since there is a concern that food might be left in these areas, a dishwasher cannot be kashered for Pesach. Others hold that Rema's ruling is limited to strainers and other items that (a) have smaller and many more holes and (b) come in direct contact with Pesach food.

Faucet With Spray Hose

The faucet in my new kitchen has a spray hose. Is the kashering of that faucet any different than a regular one?

The first step in kashering any item is to remove all residual chametz. With this in mind, Rema 451:18 rules that any utensil which has small cracks and crevices where food might get caught should not be kashered for Pesach because of the difficulty in getting the utensil perfectly clean. This poses a concern for many pull-out faucets because the hose is made of a ribbed material where bits of food can get trapped, and then fall out into the Pesach food. Accordingly, any faucet with this type of hose cannot be kashered for Pesach.

The good news is that the only concern is if the faucet is pulled out, thereby exposing the ribbed portion of the hose. Therefore, one may use the faucet on Pesach if (a) the hose is not pulled out, and (b) the rest of the faucet is kashered in the typical manner as described in our Pesach Guide and website.

Glass Stovetop

My Rabbi suggested that the proper way to kasher a glass stovetop would be t: (1) Clean and leave unused it for 24 hours. (2) Cover with water while the stovetop is cold until there is a sheet of water on the glass surface. (3) Lay a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil over the entire stovetop loosely forming a dome-like hood, and put a crumbled ball of foil in the middle of the burners to support this hood. (4) Turn all the burners on and wait until you see the water start bubbling. (5) Remove the tin foil to prevent potential cracking of the glass. What is your opinion of this suggestion which is very different than your recommendation? Unfortunately, we cannot agree to this creative suggestion because: [A] It assumes hag'alah is effective on glass, when in fact at least libun kal is required. [B] It is not clear that the suggested method will actually be successful in getting boiling water on all surfaces or will just result in pockets or puddles of boiling water with other surfaces unaffected. [C] One may not kasher if there is a fear that the process will break the utensil, as the person will be reticent to continue the kashering until completion; see Shulchan Aruch 451:1. That is plainly the case if one covers this type of stovetop with foil and turns on the burners. ** See the cRc Pesach Guide for Rav Schwartz's ZT"L suggestion for how one should kasher (part of) a glass stovetop and use it on Pesach.

Granite

Why is there a difference of halachic opinion as to whether granite tabletops and countertops can be kashered? It is well established that stone can be kashered (see Shulchan Aruch 451:8) and one would therefore imagine that all Rabbis would agree that granite can be kashered. However, granite is commonly sealed with a synthetic coating so as to prevent staining, and there is a difference of opinion whether that coating can be kashered. Some Rabbis follow the opinion that synthetic materials cannot be kashered and therefore rule that sealed-granite cannot be kashered. [A subset of this group is that some Rabbis follow this strict opinion for Pesach but not when kashering from non-kosher to kosher.] The cRc and most other hashgochos accept the lenient opinion that synthetics may be kashered and therefore our Pesach Guide provides directions for how granite and other sealed stone surfaces can be kashered. For more on the question of whether synthetics can be kashered, you may want to see Iggeros Moshe OC 2:92 & 3:58, Tzitz Eliezer 4:6:c, and Minchas Yitzchok 3:67.

Iron for Kashering

I have heard you can kasher granite countertops with a clothing iron. Is this accurate?-- One cannot kasher a counter with an iron without any water present. [The exact details as to why are beyond the scope of this forum.] Theoretically, hot water could be put onto the counter and then the iron could be used to bring that water to a boil, but it would be too difficult to know if every spot came into contact with boiling water (or if, instead, the water only hit certain spots), so we would not recommend it.

Kedairah Blech

Is it possible to kasher a kedairah blech for Pesach? Yes, it can be kashered with hag'alah. The kedairah blech, a.k.a. the "un-blech", has two parts, a pan and a cover. The first step is to clean the pan and the cover thoroughly, and not use them for 24 hours. The pan should then be kashered by filling it with water and bringing that water to a rolling boil. The top of the cover (i.e. the side which comes in contact with the pots) must be submerged into boiling water. One possible way to do this would be by placing the cover upside down in the pan as it is filled with water, which is brought to a rolling boil (as described above).

Mouth Guard

I wear a mouth guard at night (i.e., a nocturnal bite plate) to keep me from grinding my teeth, and my son wears something similar when he plays ice hockey. Can we also use them on Pesach? *** Yes, they should be thoroughly cleaned with a brush and soap, and then you can use them on Pesach

Ove Gloves

During the year, I use "Ove Gloves" to protect my hands from hot pots and pans. They are completely washable in the washing machine. Is this item like tablecloths and towels that can be washed in the washing machine and then used for Pesach?
Theoretically, the Ove Gloves or other oven mitts can be kashered just like a tablecloth or towel, but since (a) pieces of food often adheres to the mitts, and (b) they are used in close proximity to food, the common practice is to have separate oven mitts for Pesach.

Oven Mitts and Hand Towels

Does one need separate hand towels and oven mitts for Pesach or can one just wash the everyday ones and use them for Pesach?

Hand towels do not have to be replaced, and should just be washed on a hot-cycle in the washing machine before Pesach. Theoretically, the same would be effective for oven mitts, but since (a) pieces of food often adheres to the mitts, and (b) they are used in close proximity to food, the common practice is to have separate oven mitts for Pesach.

Paper Towel Dispenser

I have a free-standing paper towel dispenser on my kitchen counter all year round. Can I use it for Pesach?
Yes, just clean it thoroughly and put on a new roll of paper towels.

Pot Used for Kashering

Is it necessary to kasher meat utensils in a meat pot and dairy utensils in a dairy pot? No. The only requirements for the kashering pot are that it be clean and not have been used for 24 hours. Once those requirements have been met, you may kasher any dishes in it regardless of whether they or the pot were previously used for kosher, non-kosher, dairy, meat, chametz or Pesach. Some have a minhag to have a designated "kashering pot" which is used for nothing else aside from kashering; families with this custom should continue to follow it.

Quartz

You say that quartz countertops can be kashered with irui kli rishon (pouring boiling water on the surface). I was told that if I put a hot pot on the counter the heat will ruin my counter, so won't I damage the counter by pouring boiling water on it?

We asked Mr. Rick Glickman, of Dream Kitchens, about this and he said that thermal shock (sudden dramatic change in temperature) can cause a quartz countertop to have fissures or even melt the epoxy. That would happen if someone put a hot skillet right onto the counter or poked it with a hot poker. However, boiling water [which, obviously loses its "boil" pretty quickly even though it's just off the fire] and even steam will not have that effect and its perfectly safe to kasher with them. He further added that quartz countertops are 93-98% quartz which is the 4th hardest substance on Earth and surely wouldn't be affected by heat, and the only concern is the resin that makes up the final few percentages of the counter and which is more sensitive to heat

Rotisserie

I've been told that the spits, poles, and skewers in a rotisserie oven can be kashered with libun kal from kosher meat to pareve. If so, can I do the same when kashering from chametz to Pesach, since chametz is also kosher? No. In this regard, the kashering requirement after chametz is stricter than after kosher meat, because chametz is a forbidden item (issurah), (albeit only for 8 days a year), while kosher meat it is inherently kosher/permitted (hetairah). Accordingly, although libun kal suffices when kashering between kosher meat and pareve, a more intensive libun gamur is required to kasher the skewers from chametz use for Pesach. [The rest of the rotisserie chamber, can be kashered with libun kal regardless of whether it was used for kosher, non-kosher, chametz or anything else].

Sink Insert

My sink is porcelain, so it cannot be kashered, and therefore for Pesach I will wash dishes etc. in an "insert" that I put into my sink. Does the insert have to cover all interior surfaces of the sink?
No, but you should be careful to never put Pesach food, Pesach dishes, or any hot liquids into the space between the insert and the sink.

Steamer

Can I use a steamer to kasher my counters? -- The general rule (as per Iggeros Moshe YD 1:60) is that one must kasher with water which is in liquid form, and cannot kasher with steam. Accordingly, a steamer can only be used for kashering if two conditions are met: firstly, the steam must condense to the point that the whole area being kashered is covered with water, and secondly, that water must be at approximately the boiling point (212 F). Most steamers sold for cleaning purposes do not meet these criteria and cannot be used for kashering.

Time

How long does the silverware have to stay in the boiling water of hag'alah? How about if I'm kashering a pot?

The hag'alah water should be boiling before you put the silverware or pot into it, and once you put it in the kashering is "instant". One exception is that if the item is so heavy - such as something made of cast iron - that it cools the water considerably, you should leave the item in the water until the water once again reaches a boil.

Urn

I have an electric urn which I use all year for heating hot water. Do I have to kasher it before I use it for Pesach? Rav Schwartz ZT"L ruled that if it is the type of urn which is not brought to the table, is never used for anything but heating hot water, and is not washed with chametz items, it may be used for Pesach without kashering. If it is small enough to be brought to the table, is used to heat other beverages, you ever warm challah or other food on top of it for Shabbos, or you clean it with vinegar (to remove calcium buildup) or with the chametz dishes, then it should not be used for Pesach without kashering.

Warming Drawer

My wife uses our warming drawer every night to keep the food warm until I come home from the office, and we'd really like to kasher it for Pesach. How should I kasher it if it cannot get hotter than about 200 F? The simplest way to heat the warming drawer to the required temperature is to light one can of the type of canned fuel used to heat chafing dishes (e.g. Sterno cans) in the warming drawer. Make sure to leave the door of the warming drawer slightly ajar, so that there will be enough air to allow for combustion. One standard (2-3 hour) ethanol or methanol cans should be adequate to heat an average sized warming drawer to libun kal temperatures for about 2 hours. [Wicked-cans that use diethylene glycol as a fuel, should not be used for kashering.] As with all kashering, before you begin, the warming drawer must be thoroughly cleaned and not used for 24 hours.

Water Dispenser

Can we use our water-cooler for Psach? -- If the spout only dispenses cold water, then you can use it for Pesach after you clean it well on all sides (especially around the spout). If it dispenses both hot and cold water, then the spout and the area around it will also need to be kashered via "irui kli rishon". To accomplish that you should [a] clean the entire cooler thoroughly, as noted above, [b] not use the cooler at all for 24 hours, [c] remove the carboy/container that holds the water, [d] tilt the unit onto its side, and then [e] pour boiling water over both spouts and the area surrounding them. Once this is completed, a fresh carboy/container of water should be installed, and the dispenser can be used for Pesach.

Water Filter

Do we need a new Brita water filter for Pesach or can we just clean the pitcher and put a new filter cartridge in?
The pitcher should be cleaned well on the inside and outside, because it is used all year round at meals where chametz is served, and it would be commendable to use a new filter cartridge for Pesach. [Placing your "chametz" cartridge in water for Pesach will allow you to reuse it after Pesach.] There is no need for a hot kashering of the pitcher.

Amaranth and Quinoa

Are amaranth and quinoa kitni? *** Amaranth and quinoa are seeds which are similar enough to wheat and barley that they theoretically would be kitnios, and in fact some Poskim do treat them as such. However, Rav Schwartz ZT"L accepts Iggeros Moshe's (OC 3:63) position that foods which were not consumed by Jews at the time the minhag of kitnios began are not forbidden on Pesach. At the time when the minhag began (6-7 centuries ago) no Jews lived in the South American and Far Eastern countries where these grains grew, and therefore amaranth and quinoa are not considered kitnios and may be consumed on Pesach if one can be certain that no chametz-grains are mixed in. This last caveat poses a particular concern for amaranth and quinoa, as these small seeds are often packaged on the same equipment as other small grains such as wheat, barley and oats, which means that they can only be used after being carefully checked that no chametz grains are mixed in. Accordingly, we recommend that people only use quinoa which is specially certified for Pesach, which ensures that it is free of other grains.

Anise

I was surprised to see that the cRc shopping guide lists a few varieties of anise (caraway, cumin, coriander, dill and fennel) as kitnios. Can you explain to me why that is the case? Rema 453:1 rules that anise and coriander are not kitnios. Some of the later Poskim (Taz 453:1 & 462:3, and Chok Yaakov 453:9) basically accept this psak but suggest that these spices be checked carefully to make sure none of the five grains are mixed into them. Other Poskim (Magen Avraham 453:3) take a stricter approach and are of the opinion that one should avoid these spices since it is so difficult to check whether grains are mixed into them. Rav Schwartz ZT"L accepts the ruling of Mishnah Berurah 453:13 to follow the stricter approach. Accordingly, these spices are listed in our shopping guide as "kitnios", although a purist could argue that even if they are forbidden the term "kitnios" does not apply to them.

Canola and Safflower Oils

Why is it that Canola oil is kitnios, but safflower oil is not? Many food items potentially qualify as kitnios, but we accept the rulings of Chok Yaakov 453:9 and Iggeros Moshe (OC 3:63) that only those items used for food and considered kitnios in previous generations (when the minhag was established) are forbidden, but others are not. We do not have record of safflower oil being used for food purposes at the time of the minhag starting or subsequent generations, and therefore assume it is permitted. Others, particularly those from Eretz Yisroel, who do not accept Chok Yaakov, may hold that safflower oil is forbidden. On the other hand, canola oil has quite a history of being used and treated as kitnios, as follows: Rapeseed oil was (and is still) used in Europe for hundreds of years, was likely even used when the minhag was first beginning, and in a well-known teshuvah of the Maharsham 1:183 regarding oil of kitnios he assumes that raps, the German word for rapeseed, is kitnios. Thus, we see that rapeseed was treated as kitnios even in earlier times. Rapeseed oil was/is banned from food use in the United States due to high levels of erucic acid found in the oil. In the 1970s, Canadian researchers bred a form of rapeseed that had low levels of erucic acid, and that oil was approved for use in the United States in the 1980s. In order to differentiate this new breed of rapeseed oil they named the new breed "canola" which also showed off their civic pride for having created a "CANadian OiL". Thus, canola oil is really a form of rapeseed oil (and is actually also known by the acronym LEAR - low erucic acid rapeseed), and since rapeseed is kitnios, the canola version is also forbidden on Pesach.

Corn Starch

My cousin has child with a very rare genetic disease which requires her to eat corn starch regularly. Since she is a child and also has a chronic illness, it is clear that she can eat kitnios on Pesach, but we do not want her to be eating chametz. There is a medical preference that she should stick with the brand she is used to, so here is my question: do you know if the Argo or Kingsford brands of pure corn starch, certified year-round by the OU, contain chametz? We contacted the OU, who informed us that those products are produced without any chametz additives, and are suitable for use by anyone who may eat kitnios on Pesach. It is worth verifying this information before each Pesach to make sure nothing has changed in the factory.

Leaves and Tendrils

While peas and beans are not allowed for Pesach, how about the leaves and tendrils of the pea plant? There are no pods, just the tender greens from the tips of the new plant, before the pea plant flowers and the pods begin to form. Rav Schwartz ZT"L has ruled, based on Yad Yitzchok 3:92, that only the bean or seed portion of a kitnios food is forbidden but the stalk and other plant material is permitted. Therefore, one would be permitted to eat the leaves or tendrils of a pea or bean plant on Pesach. However, once the bean begins forming that part of the plant is forbidden. For example, alfalfa sprouts commonly have miniature/immature beans at the end of each sprout, and that bean portion is forbidden. Thus, for all practical purposes one may not eat alfalfa sprouts on Pesach because although the sprouts per se are permitted, the bean is not.

Mustard

On your website you mention that spices are not kitnios. Why then is mustard listed as one of the species of kitnios? Wouldn't that indicate that spices can indeed be kitnios? *** You are correct that mustard is treated as kitnios for Pesach, and it is an exception to the rule that all spices are inherently not kitnios. An indication to this is that the minhag of kitnios is discussed in Rema 453, but the minhag not to eat mustard is not mentioned in that location but rather in Rema 464. Furthermore, Rema in 464 says that mustard is "like kitnios" which further implies that it is not a standard kitnios item.

Sorghum

I see you consider sorghum kitnios, but yet you approved of the certified sorghum whisky. How can it be approved if it is kitnios?

As with other forms of kitnios, only the "grain" or seed is forbidden, but the stalk and other plant material are permitted. Whisky is made from the sorghum stalk and therefore, although we cannot eat sorghum grain on Pesach, we can drink sorghum-based whisky if it is certified as kosher for Pesach.

Antibiotics

My doctor prescribed antibiotics. Is it okay to take them on Pesach?

The cRc recommends all medicinal items in pill form, which includes most of the antibiotics that adults take. The same does not apply when dealing with liquid or chewable medicines, which are considered "edible". Since there is a chance that they contain chametz, they should only be used if they are known to be free of any concerns.

However, antibiotics are an exception that rule. Generally, antibiotics are given to treat ailments which, if left untreated, can lead to a situation of sakanah (danger to life). Therefore, one may consume antibiotics regardless of the ingredients used in creating them

Chewing a Pill

My grandmother has a difficult time swallowing pills. May she chew a pill which is generally swallowed (and for which we have no information whether it contains chametz)?
Yes.

Coated Pills

It says on your website that one can take any pill medication that is swallowed. Does that include coated pills such as Advil? Most pills which one swallows are coated with a glaze, wax or shellac which makes the pills easier to swallow, and some of these coatings have some form of simple sugar (e.g. sucrose) mixed in to make it even more pleasant to swallow the pill. None of these ingredients pose a Pesach concern. Once in a while a pills is coated with sweeteners which are Pesach sensitive (e.g. sorbitol or mannitol) or which contain a flavor; such items would be listed as one of the inactive ingredients, and we would not recommend those for Pesach. [This occurs so infrequently, that our general recommendation remains that all pills are permitted.] An example of this issue is the Advil brand family of tablets and caplets. The (inactive) ingredient panel of the standard Advil tablets shows that they contain pharmaceutical glaze (i.e. shellac) and sucrose, and one who swallows an Advil pill notices that they have a more pleasant/sweet taste than pills coated with a non-sweetened coating. These do not pose a Pesach concern. However, the ingredient panel on the "Film-Coated" Advil tablets and caplets indicates that its coating contains mannitol and a flavor, and that variety is therefore not recommended.

Colloidal Oatmeal

What is colloidal oatmeal? Can I use it on Pesach? *** Colloidal oatmeal is finely ground oatmeal (plus other minor ingredients) for use in the relief of itchiness; it should be treated as chametz. However, when it is sold in cream-form (e.g., Aveeno) it does not pose a Pesach concern since we consider creams to be inedible. [The status of plain colloidal oatmeal does revolve around the nuances of a lesser-known principle called "yichdo l'yeshivah"; that topic is beyond the scope of this format, and for more information about it you can listen to the shiur on that topic on the cRc website].

Colonoscopy

To prepare for my colonoscopy scheduled for Chol HaMoed Pesach, my doctor said I should drink a special solution. Are those drinks kosher for Pesach? It appears that the primary solutions used to flush the patient's colon are polyethylene glycol based (e.g. GoLYTELY, NuLYTELY, MiraLAX). The ingredients used in the unflavored versions of these solutions do not pose any Pesach concern and may be consumed on Pesach. These solutions are also available pre-flavored or with a "flavor pack" that one adds to the solution, and these are not recommended for Pesach. In recent years, another option has become available - sodium phosphate tablets (e.g. Osmo-Prep, Visicol). As with all other inedible tablets which are swallowed (as opposed to chewed), these tables may be used on Pesach regardless of which ingredients they contain. If someone is unable to drink the unflavored solution, and their doctor recommends that they not use the tablets, they should consult their Rabbi and doctor as to whether they may take the flavored solution and/or reschedule the procedure for before or after Pesach

Contraceptives

Can I use a chewable contraceptive pill such as Femcon FE? Femcon FE contains ingredients which are likely kitnios or innocuous but may be chametz (maltodextrin and spearmint flavor). Since the pill is chewable it is considered "edible" and therefore, we cannot recommend them for Pesach (even if you swallow the chewable pill), and the best choice would be to have your doctor prescribe an alternative non-chewable contraceptive. If that poses a particular difficulty for you, you might want to discuss the issue with your Rabbi and doctor. It is worth noting that it may be possible to avoid the issue of taking the chewable pills on Pesach by scheduling the "off" week (i.e. brown pills) for the week of Pesach.

Dental Tape

Is dental tape the same as dental floss? Yes, as with dental floss, all dental tape is acceptable whether it is or is not waxed, as long as it is not flavored.

Fever for a child

What does one give their children on Pesach if they get fever?
Each year, the cRc researches different fever-reducers and pain relievers to see which are suitable for use for Pesach. Some of the results are ready in time for inclusion in the printed cRc Pesach Guide and the rest can only be found in the cRc app, or at www.ASKcRc.org.
You may notice that our recommendation for many of these items is that they are "possible chametz", which means that they contain ingredients which are sensitive for Pesach but in all likelihood do not pose a Pesach concern. You might want to consult with your Rabbi before Pesach so that he can direct as to when it is appropriate to give "possible chametz" to a sick child (or adult).

Glucose Tablets

May I take glucose tablets on Pesach as needed for my diabetic condition*** Yes. Although there is a small chance that the common ingredients in glucose tablets (dextrose, ascorbic acid, citric acid, and flavors) might well be chametz, the likelihood is that they are not, and - in light of the seriousness of controlling one's diabetes - it is permitted to take them on Pesach. If one's doctor permits one to substitute some other item (such as dried fruit) for glucose tablets, and those items are known to be kosher for Pesach, it would be preferable to use that substitute.

Hand Sanitizer

Do alcohol-based hand sanitizers require Pesach certification? Alcohol-based hand sanitizers such as Purell, typically contain at least 62% ethyl alcohol, which may possibly be chametz. However, Rav Schwartz ZT"L checked a sample of hand sanitizer and said that it is as inedible as other liquid soaps and may therefore be used on Pesach regardless of the source of alcohol.

Intravenous

My upcoming due date is Erev Pesach. What do I need to know about being hospitalized and giving birth on Pesach in terms of kashrus? Is an intravenous acceptable or do I need to make arrangements for some other medication in advance? What about the possibility of egg matzah instead of regular matzah? Is a woman in labor or a new mother allowed to eat it? You may allow yourself to be given any intravenous fluid because (a) it is unlikely that they contain chametz and (b) even if it did, there is halachic rationale to permit any incapacitated person (even without a condition as serious as yours) to use it. The Ashkenazic custom is that healthy people do not consume "egg matzah" (i.e. matzah made with liquids other than water), but anyone who is incapacitated or sick and would benefit from eating egg matzos is permitted to do so (Rema 462:4). Therefore, if you feel that after you give birth it would be beneficial or easier for you to eat egg matzos instead of other Pesach food, you are permitted to do so assuming, of course, that the egg matzah bears a reliable Pesach certification.

Laxatives

Which laxatives may I use on Pesach?Any laxative which comes as a pill which one swallows (as opposed to chewing) is acceptable, as it is considered inedible. However, most laxatives are sold as powders which one mixes with water or another beverage. These are therefore considered edible, such that one must have information as to whether the powder contains chametz (or non-kosher ingredients). See the cRc website for updated information as to which laxatives are acceptable for this Pesach.

Oats in soap

Can soap that contains oatmeal be used on Pesach? *** Yes. Oats mixed with liquid are chametz and one cannot even have any benefit from chametz on Pesach. For that reason, you cannot put a mixture of oats, water, and honey, onto a sunburn to relieve the itching on Pesach. However, when the oats are part of an inedible soap, body wash, or lotions, the restrictions of chametz do not apply, and therefore you can use those products on Pesach.

Tums

Why does the cRc Pesach Guide say that all Tums aren't acceptable but others list certain types as acceptable? The reason for the difference in policy is a Rabbinic difference of opinion as to whether one must refrain from consuming products which contain flavors of unknown kosher and Pesach status. Some Rabbis take a lenient position due to the fact that most of the flavor-contributing chemicals are not chametz, no single chemical's taste is perceived in the final product (i.e. zeh v'zeh gorem), and the flavor is used in tiny proportions. Other Rabbis argue based on halachic and factual grounds which are beyond the scope of this document. The cRc follows the latter, stricter approach to this question. We are unable to determine whether the flavorings used in Tums are acceptable for Pesach, and therefore cannot recommend them. Others who list certain Tums products as acceptable for Pesach are aware of this but accept the lenient approach outlined above, which rules that flavors of unknown status do not compromise the Pesach status of the Tums. It is noteworthy that there is corn starch in every variety of Tums which we looked at, which means that even according to the lenient approach the Tums should only be consumed by those who are Sephardic or ill and permitted to eat kitnios.

"Real" Chametz

My family's custom is that before Pesach we eat or destroy all "real" chametz, and only perform mechiras chametz for items which are probably not chametz anyhow. How should I know what is "real" chametz? Can we sell flour and oatmeal?

We recommend you read the article, "Which Foods are Chametz" in the cRc Pesach Guide, which details the chametz concerns of different foods, and should help you determine which foods are "real" chametz and which are just possibly chametz. Briefly, you will see there that bread, pasta, pretzels, beer, whisky, and many breakfast cereals are unquestionably true chametz, others such as flour, oatmeal, and non-Pesach matzah, are safek (possibly) chametz, while many others such as yeast, vinegar, vitamins, and flavors could be chametz but in the United States are likely just kitnios.

Certified Bread on Pesach

Why do I see fresh-baked bread with a cRc in the supermarket on Pesach? Chametz owned by a Jew on Pesach is not kosher and would not be certified as kosher by the cRc or any other reputable hechsher. There are three possible explanations for what you are seeing in the supermarket: (1) The bakery which manufactures the bread is owned by non-Jews(2) The bakery is owned by Jews year-round, but is sold in its entirety to non-Jews for Pesach. To avoid such sales from being absolute shams, most hashgochos will only allow this if special conditions are included in the sale (e.g. the non-Jew is actually paid the profits the bakery earns over Pesach). (3) The bread was sold to the supermarket before Pesach, and they froze or otherwise stored the bread for sale on Pesach. A 4th possibility is that the bakery is usually kosher-certified, but is owned by a Jew and manufactured the bread on Pesach, and the company agreed to leave the cRc symbol off the packaging for the duration of Pesach. In such cases, the hechsher does not actually appear on the label, and a Rabbi verifies that the company complies with its agreement. After Pesach consumers should be careful to purchase only those packages which bear the kosher symbol.

General Medicine Guidelines

The following is a summary of the cRc's medicine guidelines:
- All pill medication - with or without chametz - that one swallows is permitted.
- Rav Schwaz ZT"L has ruled that, as a rule, vitamins do not qualify as medications and are instead treated as food supplements which require hashgachah for Pesach. If a doctor prescribes a specific vitamin which does not have Pesach supervision, please review your specific situation with your doctor and Rabbi.
- Liquid and chewable medications that may contain chametz should only be used under the direction of a doctor and Rabbi, who will judge the severity of the illness, the likelihood that the medicine contains chametz, and the possibility of substituting a swallowable pill. Important: Do not discontinue use of liquid, chewable or any other medicine without consulting with your doctor and Rabbi.
- Liquid and chewable medications that contain kitnios may be consumed by someone who is ill.
- For laws of taking medicine on Shabbos and Yom Tov, please consult your Rabbi.

Mechiras Chametz

How can one sell liquor and prescription medicines to a non-Jew in a mechiras chametz, if the Illinois law is that the sale of those items requires a special license? The Poskim discuss similar questions regarding other parts of the mechiras chametz (i.e. transfer of real estate or stocks), and rule that the mechirah is valid because they understand that local governments do not restrict small private sales of this sort, especially if they are done for religious purposes.

Medicinal items not listed

A person who desires to use a medicinal item for which the cRc does not have a recommendation, should discuss their situation with their local Orthodox Rabbi who can advise them. If a Rabbi is not available, Rav Schwartz's ZT"L general guidelines are that if a doctor says that it is absolutely necessary for the patient to have the particular medicine then they should use the product, but be careful that the medicine (and utensils used with it) is not accidentally mixed into the family's Pesach food.

Salt in a Pesach Project

A teacher wanted to know what to do since she accidentally glued salt with iodine into the kids' Haggados (on the karpas page). Should she tear out the page? There are a few reasons why there is no need to worry. Firstly, even if the glue doesn't render the salt inedible, this case may qualify as "yichdo leyeshiva", a halacha which states that under specific situations, there is no prohibition to own chametz which is designated for non-food use, even if the chametz remains edible. For more on those halachos, see Shulchan Aruch 442:9 and/or listen to the shiur at http://bit.ly/1omEHHI. In addition, the iodine in salt is not inherently chametz but rather is not used for Pesach (without special Pesach certification) because it is typically mixed with starch which may be chametz. The starch is surely batel b'shishim into the salt, and therefore we l'chatchilah wouldn't eat iodized salt on Pesach without special certification, but there's nothing wrong with owning such a product.

Compostable Bags

My fruit store started using compostable bags which I was told can be made from wheat. Is that a problem for Pesach?

No. It is true that compostable or recyclable plastic bags can be made from chametz or kitnios. However, they are not edible and, therefore, it is permitted to own and use them on Pesach. They may even be used to hold food.

Contact Lens Solution

Which contact lens solutions are okay to use on Pesach?
We reviewed the ingredients used in a number of popular brands and did not see anything which was sensitive for Pesach. But we did not get to see every single product, so to be sure yours is okay please send a copy of the ingredient panel to [email protected] so someone can evaluate your specific product.

Disposable Gloves

Is there anything wrong with using disposable gloves on Pesach?

Disposable gloves do not pose an inherent issue for Pesach, but some are coated with a powder to prevent the gloves from sticking. The powder is likely made from kitnios or an innocuous material, but it is possible that it will be chametz. For example, a company recently began marketing disposable gloves which are dusted with colloidal oatmeal to help hydrate the skin they come in contact with. Accordingly, we recommend that people only use powder-free gloves, or ones that are otherwise known to be free of concern.

Ethanol as Fuel

If ethanol may be made from chametz and one is not allowed to own or benefit from chametz, does that mean that I shouldn't use ethanol to fuel my car on Pesach? You may use ethanol to fuel your car on Pesach because: (1) In the United States, the overwhelming majority of that type of ethanol is produced from corn, which is kitnios (and one is permitted to own and benefit from kitnios on Pesach). (2) In the United States, ethanol is rarely used as a fuel in a pure state. Rather, it is mixed with 15-90% gasoline, and the gasoline mixed in renders the fuel completely inedible (nifsal mei'achilas kelev) such that it is permissible to own and benefit from it on Pesach.

Flower Food

Q: We bought flowers for Yom Tov, and they came with a little packet of "flower food" that is supposed to be added into the vase. Is this okay to do on Pesach?

A. The powdered flower food is basically dextrose/sugar mixed with some minor ingredients (e.g., citric acid), and - although they are not designed for human consumption - they are not "inedible". The likelihood is that the ingredients are made of kitnios; accordingly, one is permitted to own them, and have benefit from them on Pesach. However, there is a small chance that some of the ingredients are made from chametz; therefore, Rav Reiss shlita recommends that (a) people should avoid using the flower packets on Pesach or after the time of "burning chametz" on Erev Pesach, but (b) it is perfectly fine to put the flower food into water before Erev Pesach and then keep it over Pesach. [The status of liquid flower food may be more strict that the common powdered variety discussed here.]

Kitnios for Pets

Why is one permitted to serve kitnios to a pet on Pesach? Ashkenazim have a custom to not eat kitnios, but are permitted to own and benefit from kitnios. (Rema 453:1 and Mishnah Berurah 453:10) Therefore, they can serve kitnios to pets, and must only make sure that there is no chametz in the feed.

Mealworms

Can I feed mealworms to my pet gecko on Pesach? Mealworms are a living creature which is not chametz and can be used as-is. However, they are commonly sold in a bed of wheat flakes or oatmeal, which are chametz and may not be owned or used on Pesach. Accordingly, it is typically not realistic to use mealworms on Pesach. [Some have had success feeding crickets to their geckos for Pesach.]

Pet Food

The pet foods recommended in the cRc Pesach Guide are not available where we live. What do we need to do to be able to use other brands on Pesach? Can we check the ingredients and just be sure to purchase before Pesach? **

On Pesach, a Jewish person may not eat, own, or derive benefit from chametz which is fit for human or canine consumption, and owning chametz pet food to feed to an animal (even if the animal belongs to someone else or is ownerless) is a violation of the latter two of those restrictions. Ashkenazic Jews have a custom to not eat kitnios, but they may own and derive benefit from them (Rema 453:1 and Mishnah Berurah 453:10). When the cRc "certifies" pet food for Pesach, it means that we visit the factory to determine which formulas are chametz-free, which relieves the consumer of that responsibility. However, if no certified pet food is available, you would have to carefully read the ingredient panel so as to determine if the product contains any chametz (and many pet foods, in fact, do). The following are some pointers when reading the ingredient panel: **

[1] In addition to checking for the five chametz grains - wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt - you should also be on the lookout for brewer's yeast (a common flavoring agent, which is chametz), grain distillers dried yeast (likely chametz), malt (a barley-based sweetener), pasta, xanthan gum (a thickener which may be fermented from chametz) and other generic words which may refer to a chametz ingredient (e.g. flour, gluten, middlings, starch). **

[2] Many varieties of animal feed contain a multitude of vitamins, minerals and amino acids some of which may well be chametz and there is no realistic way for a consumer to determine which of them are problematic. [Aside from items listed as being a vitamin (e.g. Vitamin D3), the following is a limited list of "vitamins" included in pet foods (and covered by the statement made in the text): ascorbic acid, beta carotene, biotin, d-pantothenic acid, folic acid, menadione, niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and thiamine.] However, the good news is that vitamins comprise such a small percentage of the animal food that the vitamins are batel. Therefore, it is generally accepted that if the animal food was created before Pesach it may be used on Pesach. **

[3] Some common ingredients used in pet food which do NOT pose a Pesach concern are: [a] Meat, poultry and fish products. [b] Vegetables, such as alfalfa, asparagus, beets, and carrots. [c] Assorted kitnios foods, such as buckwheat, corn products, lentils, millet, peas, rice, peanuts, sunflower seeds and soy products. [d] Other items such as barley grass, BHA, BHT, carrageenan, cellulose, colors, eggs, gums (other than xanthan gum), kelp, lactose, linseed, milk products, molasses, oils, psyllium, and whey. **

By no means do these pointers cover all of the ingredients used in pet food, and you might want to be in touch with a kashrus professional if you are unsure about any of the other ingredients in a given pet food. **

It is also worth noting that one is also forbidden from feeding basar b'chalav (a mixture of milk and meat) to an animal, at any point during the year. cRc approved pet foods do not contain basar b'chalav and if you are unable to obtain those pet foods you might want to consult with a Rabbi who can help you choose an appropriate pet food for year-round use.

Hand Sanitizer on Shabbos or Yom Tov

May I use hand sanitizer on Shabbos and Yom To? Rav Schwartz ZT"L said that using a hand sanitizer such as Purell on Shabbos and Yom Tov is no different than using liquid soap; Iggeros Moshe (OC 1:113) holds that this is not permissible, but many Poskim are of the opinion that it is permitted. Rav Schwartz ZT"L accepts this latter approach.

Urns - Adding Cold Water on Yom Tov

Can I put cold water into my electric urn on Yom Tov?

On Yom Tov it is permitted to cook food; therefore, one may put a kettle onto the fire on Yom Tov to heat up water. But it is forbidden to start a new fire or an electrical device, and therefore one may not light a new fire. What about putting cold water into an electric urn that is already plugged in and running? Is that like putting a kettle filled with water onto the fire?

It turns out that most urns (and pump pots) operate with a thermostat which turns the urn's electric coil on and off depending on how hot the water in the urn is. Most of the time, the coil is off, and only when the water temperature drops a few degrees does the coil go on. That is exactly what happens when water from the tap is added to the urn. The ambient temperature water cools off the water already in the urn, and the thermostat senses this and turns on the urn's electric coil to heat up the water.

Thus, although the person is adding water to an urn which is plugged in and "on", in truth, when he adds water he is directly causing the coil to ignite and get hot. After considering different aspects of this issue, Rav Reiss ruled that one may not do this on Yom Tov.

To address this issue, there are companies that market urns to the Jewish community, claiming that theirs are designed in a manner that allows the addition of cold water on Yom Tov. In our investigations of these claims, we found that some had merit and were ingenuously designed to avoid concern, but others were not as effective even if they had special "Shabbos/Yom Tov modes". For most consumers, it is too difficult to test their urn to determine which category their urn fits into, and we therefore recommend that they only add water which was already heated in a pot or urn that they placed onto an existing flame.

18 Minute Matzah

Q. I saw a box of matzah labeled "18-minute matzah". I know that all matzah is made in less than 18 minutes so is that just a marketing gimmick?

A. You are correct that all Pesach matzah is in the oven within 18 minutes of when the water is added to the flour. The term "18-minute matzah" is used to describe machine made matzah where the equipment is stopped completely every 18 minutes so that it can be cleaned thoroughly. This ensures that that no dough remains behind which might become chametz. [Alternatively, it is the first batch made in the morning, which is to say that it is a batch made after the machinery was unused all night and freshly cleaned before this batch was made]. Most other machine-made matzah is made on equipment that produces matzah for hours at a time, with people keeping it clean while it is still operating, which is obviously not as effective. At a handmade matzah bakery, the process always stops every 18 minutes and there is a full cleaning, so handmade matzah is always "18 minute" matzah

Diabetes

As a diabetic, I am concerned about how to manage my insulin and eating at the Seder when I will be consuming large quantities of carbs, such as wine and matzah. Do you have any suggestions? *** An excellent and thorough guide for this has been written by Rabbi Hirsch Meisels of the "Friends with Diabetes" website. The English version of the guide is available at http://friendswithdiabetes.org/files/pdf/pesachenglish.pdf, and that website also has other resources for Jewish diabetics. We have not reviewed the medical and halachic advice provided by those guides, and recommend you discuss the details with your doctor and Rabbi.

Oat Matzah

When eating the oat matzos is there any difference in regard to how much one must eat or is the shiur the same as with wheat matzos? In theory, the shiur for hand oat matzah is the same as for hand matzos made of wheat, whole wheat, spelt, or any of the other grains suitable for matzah. However, it is worth noting that the shiur of matzah given in the cRc Pesach Guide is based on Kol Dodi Hagadah, which assumes the person is using hand matzos of average thickness. If one were to use matzos that were noticeably thinner than the average (e.g. Chareidim brand hand matzos), they would be required to eat a larger piece of matzah than the shiur given in our guide, and if the matzah was noticeably thicker than average they could eat less. I do not have specific knowledge of how thick the oat matzos you are using are, but past experience with whole wheat and spelt matzos leads me to suspect that your matzos are likely thicker than average, in which case you can use the shiur given in the cRc Pesach Guide (or even eat a bit less). The only way to know for sure would be for you or someone else to make a determination of whether your matzos are thin, average or thick.