If one wants to begin to consider how a wheat (chometz) derivative could show up on a Schedule A without you even knowing it, one must understand the wondrous potential of an everyday substance:
the wheat starch molecule.
Wheat starch, like any other starch, is made up of nearly endless repeating units of glucose molecules, one next to another, connected by chemical bonds and forming relatively complex configurations. Glucose is a form of sweetener. But wheat starch, at least initially, does not taste sweet. Not until the glucose molecules are released from the bondage of the chemical bonds that bind the glucose to one another is the sweetness of glucose manifest. Glucose syrup is the result of widespread breakdown of a starch molecule to yield many individual glucose units. Wheat starch is a standard source of glucose, especially in Europe. There is nothing about glucose that would betray its source as being from wheat; and yet it is commonly made from that source, and therefore glucose, and dextrose, which is a synonym for glucose, requires vigilance with regards to Passover certification. Even corn-based glucose, which is commonly made in the United States, poses problems for Passover. And therefore any glucose must have specific authorization for use on Passover.
Not only humans eat glucose; microorganisms like it too. Microorganisms are some of the most prolific manufacturers of ingredients in the food industry these days, participating actively in the production of all sorts of fermented ingredients, from xanthan gum to citric acid to riboflavin. These microorganisms, to do the work they have to do,must have carbohydrate sources, and often the source of choice is…glucose. The glucose source is essentially being converted by these critters to fermented ingredients. Therefore, these fermented
ingredients also merit scrutiny.
Starch can be converted to glucose. But that’s not the end of the line. Glucose can be fermented to ethanol. In fact, some of the ethanol that’s being used to fuel cars in the U.S. comes from another form of
starch, cornstarch, which is produced in bundles in the Midwest. Wheat starch can also be used to produce alcohol. In fact, since so much corn is going to the fuel industry, a shortage of food grade alcohol has forced prices to rise, creating a scramble among food grade buyers of ethyl alcohol to look for sources other than corn-based. Sometimes alternative sources, such as byproducts of beer manufacture (a source of wheat alcohol), become tempting options.Add ethanol, otherwise known as ethyl alcohol, to the list of Passover sensitive
ingredients. Ethanol, to be approved for Passover,must be specifically certified.
Starch to glucose, glucose to ethanol and ethanol to…acetic acid, aka vinegar. Vinegar makers buy ethanol to make distilled, white distilled, or white vinegar, which are various ways of saying the same thing. If the vinegar is wheat-derived, the vinegar is wheat derived. If the vinegar is corn-based, the vinegar is corn-based and, like glucose, means it can’t be used under the OUP. If standard vinegar requires specific approval, that means that all the vinegar-based condiments, such as ketchup,mustard, mayonnaise, and dressing, require specific approval as well.
These ingredients—starch, glucose (dextrose), ethanol, and acetic acid—touch on some of the primary derivatives of wheat, but do not comprehend the gamut of possibilities.