January 22, 2013

New Products for Passover Should Not Look Like Year-Round Products, Rabbis Say

NEW YORK — An estimated 300 new items are expected to be introduced for Passover, according to an early survey by KosherToday. Sources in the kosher food industry say that new product introductions have driven profits in the past 5-7 years and this year will be no exception. Kosher Today will publish its annual review of new products for Passover in its next issue of February 4th. 

But some of the new products are not without controversy. Some rabbis are concerned that newly developed products for Passover look too much like year-round products and may potentially confuse customers as well as store personnel. Rabbis in Israel have required factories like Osem to use bags or different canisters for their Passover croutons. Other rabbis in the US have told congregants to avoid eating foods that “look, smell and sometimes taste” like chametz. 

Brooklyn-based US Chocolate is the largest manufacturer and supplier of Passover baking ingredients. They produce a Passover Dough Base which can be made into fresh pizza. Their  free flowing base can produce delicious Passover pizza, rolls, knishes, and many more items that closely mimic the year-round  baked with just adding water, oil, and an egg (all a shehakol, non gebrokt and non kitniyos). It is but one example of foods that are being made to taste like the year-round foods but yet are made with ingredients that make them fit for Passover. 

In years past such foods include bread crumbs and cereals, not to speak of bagels and pizza. While an increasing number of products are made to look and taste like the year-round versions, some rabbis remain concerned about the possible confusion.