OU Kosher’s Top Consumer Questions for Passover 2015

30 Mar 2015

OU Kosher presents Passover questions frequently asked by consumers on the OU Kosher Hotline (212-613-8241). Questions may also be submitted to kosherq@ou.org.

These questions are answered by Rabbi Tzvi Nussbaum, the voice of OU Kosher’s Consumer Hotline; the OU’s Webbe Rebbe; and Rabbi Eli Eleff, rabbinic coordinator and consumer relations administrator. Rabbi Moshe Zywica, OU Kosher executive rabbinic coordinator, supervises the OU Consumer Relations Department.

Q: May I use frozen Kirkland Salmon for Passover?

A: Due to the frequent application of glazes to raw fish, it should be purchased only with reliable kosher for Passover certification. However, Kirkland Frozen Wild Salmon is acceptable without special Passover certification after washing it off, while the Kirkland Atlantic (farm raised) Salmon is acceptable as is without special certification for Passover.

Q: What coffees are acceptable for Passover?

A: All unflavored ground coffees are acceptable for Passover use when bearing an OU.

Decaffeinated coffee: Coffee is often decaffeinated by means of ethyl acetate, which is derived from either kitniyot or chometz. Therefore, decaffeinated coffees are not acceptable for Passover unless specifically marked for Passover, found in the OU Passover Guide or on oupassover.org under the heading of products certified for year-round use and Passover.

Instant coffees often contain maltodextrin, which is derived either from corn (kitniyot) or grains (chometz). Therefore, all instant coffees require special Passover certification unless explicitly mentioned in the OU Passover Guide or on oupassover.org under the heading of products certified for year round use and Passover.

This year Folgers decaffeinated unflavored instant coffee is acceptable without special Passover certification.

Q: How do I kasher a Keurig machine?

A: A Keurig machine may be kashered by way of hagalah or iruy. For detailed instructions please refer to pages 24-26 in the OU’s 2015 Passover Guide which can be viewed on, or downloaded from, oupassover.org. Alternatively, one can find this information in an article titled ‘The Kashering Primer – Passover 2015’ located on the homepage of oupassover.org.

First remove the K-cup holder and clean very well. Perform hagalah or iruy on the K-cup holder and then brew a Kosher for Passover K-cup in the machine to kasher the top pin.

Q: Which K-cups are acceptable for Passover?

A: Unflavored, not decaffeinated ones. The OU symbol often appears on the box and not on the individual cup. As a side note, in the near future the OU symbol will start to appear on the individual cups.

Q: Is Via instant coffee from Starbucks acceptable for use on Passover?

A: Via instant unflavored coffee is acceptable for use on Passover when bearing the regular OU symbol.

Q: Can quartz countertops be kashered?

A: Quartz counters are made of a combination of crushed quartz (stone) and resins (like plastic).
One can kasher stone, and there are different opinions about kashering plastic for Pesach.
To read more about kashering, please visit: oukosher.org/passover/articles/kashering-for-passover/.

Q: I hear conflicting reports in regard to selling pure chometz vs. items which are mixtures containing chometz.  Could you please expand on this subject?

A: According to most opinions, one may lock up and sell even foods that are pure chometz. Some have the custom not to sell food that is pure chometz. This is because the sale involves complex halachic issues, and it is difficult to fulfill the requirements in a way that satisfies all opinions. One may be lenient if disposing of pure chometz would cause financial hardship. The following foods are examples of items that would fall into the pure chometz category; beer, biscuits, bran, cake, cookies, wafers, cereals, oatmeal, puffed wheat, wheat germ, crackers, dough, pasta, soup nuts, and malt. In regard to white flour it is questionable whether it is considered pure chometz. This is because the grains are washed quickly and most likely have not been in contact with water for an amount of time sufficient enough to become chometz.  Therefore, some who will not sell pure chometz will sell flour.

Q:   Do chometz dishes and pots need to be sold?

A:  If pots were sold, they would need to be immersed again after Passover when they are reacquired. The custom, therefore, is to sell any chometz that remains in the pots.

Q: How should the sale be arranged if one is going to be in a different time zone during Passover?

A: One should notify the rabbi who is selling the chometz. The rabbi will then be able to schedule the sale and repurchase of the chometz to accommodate the time difference.

Q: Do raw nuts require certification for Passover?

A:  Raw nuts in their shell do not require Passover certification. Shelled nuts that list BHA or BHT (preservatives) in the ingredients require special Passover certification. Please note that different communities have different customs regarding peanuts. Some consider them to be kitniyot; while others eat peanuts on Passover.

Q: Does extra virgin olive oil need to be certified kosher for Passover?

A:  Extra virgin olive oil is Kosher for Passover, as long as it bears the OU symbol. All other oils require Kosher for Passover certification to be consumed on Passover.

Q: Which baby formula can I use for my infant on Passover?

A: Most infant formulas are made from soy products which are kitniyot. Since kitniyot does not apply to infants most formulas may be used on Passover. For a list of acceptable formulas please visit oukosher.org/passover/articles/baby-formula/. Please note that care should be taken to keep bottles, nipples and formula away from the general kitchen area. Any mixing or washing should be done elsewhere, such as in the bathroom sink.

Q: Is almond or soy milk acceptable for Passover?

A:  Almond and soy milk may be problematic and are not recommended for use on Passover. If a situation arises and it is needed by an infant or an infirm person, please see pages 100-101 in the OU Passover Guide or at oupassover.org under the site’s general Passover FAQ tab for a list of products that are acceptable for this situation.

Q: There seem to be differing opinions as to which methods of cooking meat and fowl are permitted for consumption at the seder. Could you please clarify?

A: It is customary not to serve meat or fowl which has been roasted, broiled, or pot roasted (tzli keder) at either of the two sedarim. Meat that was boiled in water which completely evaporated during the cooking process is an exception according to some. Fried meat does not fall into the above categories of cooking methods provided that the oil is noticeable when the dish is served. 

Have more Passover questions? Call the OU Kosher Passover Hotline at 212-613-8241; email kosherq@ou.org; or visit  www.oupassover.org.  The OU Passover Guide can be downloaded at ou.org/download and is also available on the OU Kosher App for iPhone or Android.

Wishing you a Chag Kosher V’Sameach!