Daily Israel Report

Coffee No Longer Automatically Kosher for Passover

The OU - known as "the world’s most recognized and the world’s most trusted kosher symbol" - has changed its position on coffee for Passover.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 3/11/2007, 11:59 AM

Rabbi Shmuel Singer - overseer of the Orthodox Union's "Kosher for Passover" certification program - writes that the OU has changed its policy regarding coffee on Passover. The OU, which certifies more than 400,000 products around the world for round-the-year consumption, is known as "the world’s most recognized and the world’s most trusted kosher symbol."

"Our position in former years in regard to coffee had been similar to tea," Singer writes in the latest yearly OU Passover update. "We maintained that all regular coffee, that is unflavored and not decaffeinated, is acceptable for Pesach without supervision. This is no longer true." The reason for the change is that some coffee companies now add maltodextrin - which is either outright chametz [leaven, forbidden on Passover] or kitniyos [non-chametz grains banned on Passover in Ashkenazic households] - to their instant coffee.

"As a result," Singer writes, "this coffee is not kosher for Passover."

However, the OU will continue to issue kosher-for-Passover certification for coffees that merit it, and warns that only coffee bearing an OU-P symbol, or brands listed in the gray area of the OU's Passover Directory, should be used. Ground coffee remains acceptable from any source as long as it is unflavored and not decaffeinated.


We maintained that all regular coffee is acceptable for Pesach without supervision. This is no longer true.

Changes have also been made in the OU's matzah line-up. For years, the only OU matzah bakery in the world was that of Manischewitz in the United States, where matzahs such as Horowitz Margareten and Goodman’s are baked. It continues to be the only one in the United States, but as of this year, Aviv, Osem, Yehuda and Rishon matzah products coming from Israel will also be OU-P certified.

In addition, Yanovsky matzah baked in Argentina, widely distributed in Latin America, will also be OU-P this year.

Regarding tea, the OU position remains that regular tea bags, un-flavored and non-decaffeinated, are acceptable for Pesach without special supervision. Among decaffeinated tea makers, only Lipton's are acceptable without special supervision. Herbal teas with an OU-P symbol are kosher for Passover.