Updated, Statement from Rabbi Levy: The Shufra Cocoa Pre-Pesach Non-Crisis


matzav_network[Update below.] Original post 12:28 a.m.: A pre-Pesach tumult regarding Shufra brand cocoa is no a cause for worry, Matzav.com has confirmed, as Rav Binyomin Gruber, the noted rav hamachshir, has said that there is absolutely no need to kasher keilim or anything of the sort.

The tumult gained traction after Rav Gruber, who has given kosher l’Pesach certification for Shufra products, including cocoa, in the past, informed the company that this year, with the cocoa being produced in China, his hashgacha would not be able to provide certification. Subsequently, packages of Shufra Pesach cocoa, bearing Rav Gruber’s hashgacha symbol, were released anyway. The product also possesses the certification of OK Kosher Laboratories.

Despite the fact that Rav Gruber did not supervise the production, he says that there is no chashash chometz whatsoever and relates that the OK states that the product is 100% kosher l’Pesach.

Rav Gruber related that cocoa production is a basic and pure process and therefore does not present reasons for concern.

Following Rav Gruber’s public statement, Rav Yoel Gross, a member of Rav Gruber’s hashgacha, reiterated that there is no reason to panic, nor should Yidden be throwing out dishes, foodstuffs or anything of the sort.

Matzav.com is awaiting an official response from the OK on the matter, but, as mentioned, Rav Gruber stated that the OK contends that the product is fully kosher l’Pesach and the only mixup is the fact that his kashrus symbol appears on the Shufra cocoa packages even though, this year, he did not grant Pesach supervision at the cocoa production in China.

Updated: Matzav.com spoke to Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, Kashrus Administrator of the OK, who related, as stated above, that there is no known kashrus concern regarding the Shufra cocoa, not for Pesach and not for all year round.

“I’ve been visiting cocoa companies for 33 years,” related Rabbi Levy, “in the United States, in the Middle East, in the Far East, in Africa, in South America….. We’ve never found any shailah in regard to pure baking cocoa.”

Rabbi Levy told Matzav.com that pure baking cocoa is considered a Group-1 food, meaning that it is inherent kosher. [Cocoa use for drinks and the like would be different, Rabbi Levy said, as that product contains additional ingredients.]

We asked Rabbi Levy about the possibility of other items being produced in the same factory as the cocoa. He told us that the production of any other item would come later on in the process, and that the production of cocoa – roasting, followed by separation from the shells, followed by grinding, followed by liquefying it and then producing the powder – is a pure process that presents no concerns for Pesach or all year round.

This, said Rabbi Levy, is the stance of all reputable kashrus agencies.

Rabbi Levy also told Matzav.com that he has spoken to a number of rabbonim machshirim, including Rabbi Avrohom Juravel of the OU, and they all concur. He has also made phone calls to determine what possible shailah there could be regarding the baking cocoa, but he has yet to emerge with any sort of kashrus concern.

Rabbi Levy concluded that he spoke to Rav Binyomin Gruber, who, as mentioned above, reiterated that there is no kashrus issues with regard to Pesach whatsoever.

{Dovid Bernstein-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. What does he mean that it is a “pure process”? It has to be liquified and turned back into a power etc. etc. etc. If the machinery is used ofr otehr productions, wouldn;t there be a concern of kitniyos or chometz. or things like that? or is it a pure cocoa plant? Aren’t these important things to know?

  2. If I understand correctly
    this issue here is all over one
    hasgahca that had their name on a product
    that they didn’t give a hasgacha on
    when there was yes another hasgacha on there
    anyway and a reputabel one at that?!

  3. Cocoa and chocolate adulterants: NOTE: The FDA has some tests that can detirmine some of the cocoa adulterants e.g. soy flour
    Bulk adulterants: Arrowroot, wheat, Soy flour, Indian corn, sago, potato, tapioca flour, chicory
    Color adulterants: Venetian red, red ochre, iron compounds

  4. You can’t trust the Chinese. This has NOTHING to do with Hashrus in America.

    And as a punishment all produucts should be recalled and let the Chinese lose the money.

  5. If “cocoa production is a basic and pure process and therefore does not present reasons for concern.”, why does it ever need a Hechsher?

    is it just a way to raise prices?

  6. Yudel Shain discovered the problem & notified 2 weeks ago +- the OK’s Rabbi Honika (Rabbi Levy’s son in law). I was waiting back for a call back, which did not come. I left mesages for him to call me-to no avail.

  7. What does Rabbi levy mean there is no known kashrus concern…., does he give a hashgacha on this product, then let him vouch for it’s kashrus. To me it sounds like he never actually had a mashgiach on scene, rather he gives a hashgacha based on “33 years of not seeing a Shailah” is this a Hashagacha? Let him just put out a letter statig pure cocco does not a hashgacha, and don”t charge shufra for his hashgacha!

  8. Why are they blaming the OK?

    There are many ingredients that ALL kashrus agencies agree are inherently kosher.

    No one has ever cerified the entire production of cocoa. There are agencies who send people to visit but they do not stay there for the entire production.