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Pesach FAQs

Buy Before Pesach

Q. 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?

A. First a bit of background – 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.  Raw eggs have an additional concern, due to the slight 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. 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.