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Q. 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?
A. 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 primary 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 Gedalia Dov Schwartz zt”l accepted 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.