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Pesach Faqs

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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.