> Holidays > Passover > Laws

What Makes It Kosher?

May 9, 2009 | by Shimon Apisdorf

With today's manufacturing processes, if it doesn't say "kosher," you can't be exactly sure what's in there!

Answer: A 50 percent price increase!

The truth is that the business of ensuring that food products are kosher for Passover is a highly skilled and technical field. It requires both advanced Jewish scholarship as well as a sophisticated knowledge of all facets of the food industry. There is more in our food than food, you know. There are also stabilizers, colors, artificial flavorings, additives, binders, preservatives, and even pieces of the kitchen sink!

The answer to the question, "What could possibly be wrong with a stick of butter?" is that it may well contain cultures and coloring agents derived from chametz (leavened grain products) or even lactic acid containing derivatives which are not permissible on Passover.

And, while "coffee, is coffee, is coffee" may ring true, there happen to be manufacturers who use grain additives in their coffees or ethyl acetate -- a derivative of chametz -- in their decaffeination process. When one casts a doubting glance at a bottle of "pure" orange juice which has suddenly doubled in price, further investigation may show that bran is commonly used in the filtering of many fruit juices.

So, while our Passover grocery bills seem a bit exorbitant, we must appreciate that behind every reputable "Kosher for Passover" label stands an army of highly skilled experts. And, thanks to them, our clockwork consumption of everything from cola to applesauce to potato chips is able to proceed smoothly throughout the entire week of Passover.

Now that's what I call freedom!

(from the "Passover Survival Kit Haggadah" --

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