There are two important developments in OU Passover production for 2014. The first one is the introduction of Passover Quinoa. Pereg and Goldbaum will be selling OU-P quinoa. Quinoa is a plant from South America which is not Kitniyot. The OU-P quinoa was packed in South America with Mashgiach Temidi. The second development is that this year there will be a large number of OU Kitniyot retail items available. Manischewitz has introduced the Kitni line which includes chick peas, corn, lentil mix, peanut butter and popcorn. There will also be Kitni rice cakes and tahina. Ferrero in Italy has produced OU Kitniyot Nutella Spread and Kinder chocolate. Osem will also have a number of OU Kitnoyot items. All of these products are clearly marked Ochlei Kitniyot and are all made with Hashgacha Temidis like all OU-P products.
Kedem continues to bottle grape juice under its own name as well as under the Savion, Gefen and Lipschutz labels. All these items have always been and will continue to be Mevushal. Kedem has one not Mevushal grape juice. This is bottled in 1.5 liter glass bottles and clearly labeled Non-Mevushal. Kedem has also introduced Fresh Pressed Grape Juice as a new OU-P grape juice made without sulfites for the first time. Manischewitz has Mevushal Concord grape juice as in past years. Kedem has also introduced Pomegranate and Sparkling Pomogrape Juices with the OU-P certification. Jelinek will have OU-P pear brandy in addition to traditional slivovitz. OU-P liquers will be available under the Queen Esther, Spirit of Solomon & Gold Shot lables. Zachlawi will have OU-P arak and vodka. Zwack Slivovitz will be available with OU-P.
Manischewitz continues to bake matzah in Newark, NJ as in years past. The OU has also agreed to place the OU-P on Aviv, Osem, Yehuda, Rishon and Holy Land matzah products coming from Israel. The items are supervised by local Rabbanim and are satisfactorily made with OU Pesach guidelines. In addition, we have this year certified Yanovsky matzah baked in Argentina. This matzah is widely distributed in Latin America. This company manufactures various types of matzah.
Manischewitz has whole wheat matzah meal and whole wheat matzah farfel. These items are made from Manischewitz OU-P whole wheat matzah. Manischewitz also bakes OU-P Matzah under the Horowitz Margareten and Negev labels. They also make Mediterranean Matzah which is regular matzah sprayed with oil and spices after baking. It is not Matzah Ashirah. Manischewitz continues to produce Egg Matzah as well as Passover Tam Tams. These are made from egg matzah dough and marked as Matzah Ashira on the box. Manischewitz bakes machine Shmura Matzah and will also have OU-P hand shmurah matzah baked for them in Israel. Manischewitz makes a product known as matzah crackers. This is an ordinary matzah product and is not Matzah Ashira. The various Israeli OU matzah companies will all be selling machine shmurah matzah as well.
Manischewitz will have gluten free OU-P crackers and gluten free OU-P matzah style squares this year. Yehuda will also have these gluten free products as well as gluten free cake meal, fine meal and farfel. Kedem will also have Absolutely brand gluten free flatbread and crackers as well as Jeff Nathan gluten free Panko Flakes. Goldbaum will also be selling gluten free crackers as well as flatbread crisps and matzah style shehakol matzah. None of these products are made from matzah and none of them can be used in the place of matzah. This is clearly marked on the label.
Coca Cola will again be available with an OU-P for Pesach in Regular and Diet flavors. Aside from the New York metropolitan area, Coke will be available in Boston, Baltimore-Washington, Miami, Atlanta, Houston and Philadelphia. This year, in New York, Coca Cola items will be made with an OU-P in 2 liter bottles. All these items, of course, require the P symbol. All the Passover Coke items will be marked with a distinctive yellow cap in addition to the P symbol on the cap or shoulder of the bottle. Kedem has introduced the Harrison’s label for different typed of OU-P soda including cream, cola, orange and lemon lime flavors.
The Haddar line of Passover products will again be available. The Barton brand will be back again with the OU-P. A full line of Barricini candy items will be available with the OU-P symbol. Manischewitz and Barricini will both have chocolate covered egg matzah and egg matzah crackers. In addition Barton will have OU-P chocolate covered regular matzah crackers. The Barton item is not Matzah Ashirah. Barricini also has chocolate covered regular matzah. This is also not Matzah Ashirah.
Norman’s has Machmirim brand of Cholov Yisroel yogurt. In addition there will be OU-P Cholov Yisroel goat cheese and sheep cheese from Barkanit and mozzarella, provolone and pecorino cheese from Yotvata. Cabot Creamery will have OU-P cheddar cheese. This item is not Cholov Yisroel.
J&J will have OU-P cottage cheese, cream cheese and farmer cheese. Mehadrin farmer cheese will also have the OU-P symbol. All of these will be Cholov Yisroel. An important development is that Dannon will again be producing OU-P yogurt in coffee, lemon and vanilla flavors. These items are not Cholov Yisroel.
There will be three OU-P brands of packaged cakes available this year. These will be Reisman, Schicks and Lily’s Bakeshop. They are baked in special Passover bakeries and do not contain matzah meal. Gefen cookies will be available with OU-P. Their items are not made with matzah meal. Bernies Foods will have Frankels blintzes, waffles and pizza as well as LeTova Kichel and bread sticks. These are not made with matzah meal. Dayenu pizza, rolls and pierogies are made with matzah meal. Manischewitz and Yehuda will have a line of matza meal based cakes and cookies. Kedem is introducing a frozen pizza item called Cheesy Pie under the Kosherific label. This item is cholov yisroel and non-gebroks.
Season will have new Moroccan sardine items in various sauces for Pesach. All of these items are made with mashgiach temidi and bishul yisrael. Tuna fish is available with an OU-P from Season, Gefen and Mishpacha. In addition Shoprite OU-P tuna fish in water will be available. Season and Gefen will have OU-P salmon in both regular and no salt versions. All these items are made with mashgiach temidi and Bishul Yisrael. Starkist tuna OU-P is available with bishul yisroel and hashgocho temidi in the Metro NY area supermarkets and in Chicago’s Jewel supermarket chain.
The OU position remains that OU supervised extra virgin olive oil can be used without special supervision for Pesach. In addition, Bartenura, Carmel, Gefen and Mishpacha olive oil will be available with an OU-P label. Mother’s olive oil pan coating spray, Mishpacha olive oil spray and Manischewitz buttery safflower cooking spray, olive oil spray and olive oil garlic cooking sprays will also be available. Prepared olives with an OU-P will be available from Gefen, Osem, Kvuzat Yavne, Gilboa and Mishpacha. Bartenura will be introducing an OU-P grapeseed oil this year.
Manischewitz will again have OU-P chocolate covered potato chips this year. Guiltless Gourmet will have OU-P root chips as a new item as well as OU-P Coconut Water. Bauer OU-P sweet potato chips will also be available this year. Health Garden will again have OU-P Xylitol sweetener and Xylitol Vanilla sweetener. They also will introduce Smunchies OU-P cotton candy. Manischewitz also will be selling OU-P cotton candy.
The OU position remains that regular tea bags, which are not flavored or decaffeinated, are acceptable for Pesach without special supervision. In addition we have clarified once again this year that all Lipton unflavored decaffeinated tea bags are acceptable without special supervision. This is not true of other decaffeinated tea bags. Shoprite also has specially marked OU-P plain tea bags on the market. In addition Swee-Touch-Nee and Wissotsky will continue to have Pesach herbal teas. Some coffee companies add maltodextrin, which is either chametz or kitniyos, to instant coffee. As a result this coffee is not kosher for Passover. Only coffee bearing an OU-P symbol or brands listed in the gray area of the Passover Directory should be used. Both Folger’s and Taster’s Choice instant coffee remain acceptable without special Passover certification. Other brands should be checked in the Directory. Ground coffee remains acceptable from any source as long as it is unflavored and not decaffeinated.
By Rabbi Shmuel Singer