Q. May I purchase corn flakes or rice crispy cereals after Pesach from a Jewish-owned store that did not sell its chametz on Pesach?
A. Corn flakes products typically contain malt flavor (chametz) present at about two to three percent of the product, which means the malt flavor is not batel b’shishim (less than one sixtieth of the product). Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 447: 11) rules that if a food containing chametz that is not batel b’shishim was owned by a Jew on Pesach, it is prohibited to derive benefit from it after Pesach. It would seem, therefore, that corn flakes should not be permitted. There is a discussion as to whether this ruling of Shulchan Aruch applies even if there is less than a kezayis of chametz in the entire product. In a standard sized box of corn flakes, one can assume that there is less than a kezayis of malt flavor. The conclusion of Biur Halacha (447: end) is that this matter remains unresolved.
Therefore, Rav Hershel Schachter, shlita, advised against purchasing these corn flakes. Furthermore, he questioned whether the qualification of requiring a kezayis of chametz would help in a supermarket, when multiple boxes sit side by side and there is clearly more than a kezayis altogether. However, if there is a doubt as to whether the corn flakes were actually in the possession of a Jewish owner on Pesach, then Rav Schachter said that the corn flakes may be purchased and consumed.
The halachah for rice crispy cereals that contain malt flavor follows the same parameters as corn flakes.
This column comes from OU Kosher’s Halacha Yomis dedicated in memory of Rav Chaim Yisroel ben Reb Dov HaLevy Belsky, zt’l, Senior OU Kosher Halachic Consultant (1987-2016). Subscribers can also ask their own questions on Kashrus issues and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. These questions and their answers may be selected to become one of the Q and A’s on OU Kosher Halacha Yomis.