OU Kosher Answers Your Top Ten Pesach FAQs


OU Kosher presents the most frequently asked consumer questions to-date on the OU Kosher Hotline (212-613-8241). Questions may be submitted to kosherq@ou.org as well.

The Passover questions were answered by Rabbi Tzvi Nussbaum, the voice of OU Kosher’s Consumer Hotline. The responses were reviewed by Rabbi Yaakov Luban, OU Kosher executive rabbinic coordinator. Rabbi Moshe Zywica, OU Kosher executive rabbinic coordinator, supervises the OU Consumer Relations Department.

Q: Can jarred horseradish be used as ‘Maror’ at the seder?

A: Jarred horseradish is made with vinegar, even when certified for Passover, and therefore cannot be used as ‘Maror ’at the seder.

Q: I purchased OU-P certified instant soup mix and the ingredients note that the product contains yeast.  Is it really kosher for Passover?

A: Yeast is a microorganism and its chametz status is dependent on the host on which it is grown, in addition to other factors.  The yeast used in OU-P certified soup mixes is not grown on chametz and is made especially for Pesach. Similarly, yeast used in Passover certified wines is acceptable.

Q: I am Sephardic and consume kitniyot on Passover.  May I use any soy or rice products on Passover or do these items need to bear Passover certification?

A: Items containing soy or rice must bear a Passover certification due to the possibility of cross-contamination withchametz at the production facility. The OU certifies a number of products for Passover which bear the designation of OU-kitniyot.

Q: Are blanched almonds kosher for Passover without an OU-P?

A: Yes, blanched almonds are acceptable for use on Passover without special certification.

Q: Does purified water enhanced with minerals require Passover certification?

A: Although the OU approves bottled and distilled water without Passover certification, when it comes to enhanced water an OU-P is required.  This is due to the fact that the enhanced water may contain sensitive ingredients such as citric acid, which may be derived from corn starch or amylase.

Q: I do not sell actual chametz even if it is part of a mixture.  Does food containing modified food starch (MFS) constitute chametz?

A: In the United States it is assumed that modified food starch (MFS) is derived from corn or potato starch. Therefore those who are meticulous not to sell chametz gamor (actual chametz) may sell such items.  If, however, the product is labeled Non-GMO (genetically modified organism) or is imported, it may be actual chametz and one should discard it before Passover to avoid selling it.

Q: A custom exists not to consume matzah in the days leading up to Passover (the number of days prior to Passover, if any, varies by custom); would it then be permissible to consume chicken coated with Passover certified matzah meal even on the eve of Passover?

A: Rav Hershel Schachter, OU Kosher’s chief posek (halachic decisor), maintains that using matzah meal as a coating is not included in the minhag of abstaining from matzah consumption during the days leading up to Passover even if it is Passover certified.   Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah. 214:1) writes that a minhag is a type of vow. When interpreting what is included in a vow, we follow the meaning of how people speak.  Therefore, since this form of matzah is not what is referenced it is not included in the minhag. On the eve of Passover, when a rabbinic ordinance prohibits the consumption of matzah, the matzah meal-coated chicken would still be permitted.  The crumb coating is no longer seen as a matzah-derived food.

Q: This year the first day of Passover coincides with Shabbat. May I prepare food on Shabbat in order to have it ready for the second seder?

A: One may not prepare on the first day of a Yom Tov for the second day of a Yom Tov, particularly when the first day is Shabbat.  The only exception to this rule is when a second day of Yom Tov coincides with Shabbat, as it does this year with the seventh and eighth days of Passover.  This year, on the sixth day of Passover before candle lighting, an eruv tavshilin is made which permits a person to prepare on day seven for the Shabbat Yom Tov (day eight).  For more information regarding eruv tavshilin please see oukosher.org/passover/articles/an-eruv-tavshilin-primer/

Q: What type of food can be served to my dog on Passover? Can he be served rice even if our family does not eat kitniyot on Passover?

A: Although the OU does not certify any dog foods, research has been done on the subject and Blue Buffalo brand dog food produces grain-free formulations.  Your dog can eat rice on Passover even if your family does not.

Q: Are steam pasteurized nuts kosher for Passover without Passover certification? 

A: Steam pasteurized nuts are acceptable for use on Passover without Passover certification provided that there are no other additives noted.