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Q. How come the food I bought for Pesach says “may contain wheat” on the label? Isn’t wheat chametz?
A. 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, as 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.