Kosher for Passover All Year-Round?

April 02, 2012

Those consumers who want help avoiding high-fructose corn syrup might wish for some versions of Kosher for Passover sections the year-round

Adults who want help at the shelf avoiding high-fructose corn syrup might wish for some versions of Kosher for Passover sections the year-round.

Not that this would literally happen – that might be a minor miracle compared with the single day of lamp oil that fueled a flame for eight days at Chanukah, and is one memorable theme of next week’s holiday for Jews. But if suppliers and retailers could conceive a year-round mini-section that complies with the rigorous Kosher for Passover standards, it could appeal to others beyond Jews – just as regular Kosher foods appeal to Muslims and others who appreciate the dietary laws’ sanitation and humane practices.

With regard to sugars and corn syrup, the difference between regular Kosher and Kosher for Passover is this, according to the Orthodox Union, a certifying body for more than 400,000 Kosher products: “Most U.S. manufacturers of sugars use corn as a starting material. The corn is milled, washed, and the starch (as a liquid slurry) is recovered and treated with various enzymes to convert the slurry to the desired sugar….[the enzyme] glucose isomerase, used to make high fructose corn syrup, is sometimes chametz-based [any flour of the five species of grain – wheat, spelt, oats, barley or rye – mixed with water and allowed to ferment before being baked, and cannot be consumed on Passover, says Chabad] and sometimes kitniyot [loosely translated as legumes, says OU]. Corn syrups are widely used in a multitude of products including ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressings, soft drinks, coffee whiteners, sweeteners, citric acid, vitamins, etc. Clearly, one cannot assume that corn syrups are without chametz concerns.”

Stories abound of consumers hoarding the Kosher for Passover Coca-Cola available this time of year because it is made of sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup; they want to be able to drink it beyond the holiday, often because they prefer the taste. People can also select among Pepsi Natural, Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback, and select other brands in the carbonated soft drinks aisle.

Numerous chains – Whole Foods, Publix, Stop & Shop, Giant Eagle and ShopRite among them – create a significant Kosher for Passover presence in select stores with the right demographics. The Stop & Shop division of Ahold, for example, incorporates an ‘eating healthy’ spin to its offer, suggesting ways to lighten up Passover meals, reports Progressive Grocer.

Among the tips:

  • Use healthy grains in the Seder meal, including whole-wheat matzoh
  • Serve fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Limit the use of egg yolks in menu items where possible
  • Flavor skinless poultry with fresh herbs and spices instead of oil, butter or fat

Good advice, we say, and an added way to help Kosher for Passover foods appeal to an even broader shopper base.