Company Forced to Explain Cookies Sold on Pesach

Commuter stunned to find non-kosher for Passover Black and White cookies for sale; Reisman's, OU say it's an innocent mistake.

Ari Soffer ,

The offending cookies
The offending cookies
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A kosher baking company has been left red-faced, and bracing for a possible backlash from religious Jewish customers, after a batch of cookies which were not kosher for Passover were found for sale at an international airport.

On Tuesday, mid-way through the Pesach (Passover) festival, a Jewish traveler posted an image online taken from JFK International Airport in New Jersey, showing a Reisman’s "Black and white cookie" for sale at a store which was labeled in Yiddish as "baked after Passover".

The post quickly went viral, with the company's many Orthodox Jewish customers expressing their shock at the find.

According to halakha (Jewish law) foods which are not kosher for Passover may not be eaten, owned, produced or benefited from in any way during the festival. Companies and individuals who own such foods must either dispose of them prior to Passover or sell them temporarily for its entire duration.

As such, the sale of such goods on Passover would cast heavy doubt on the company's overall kosher certification.

However, the Reisman's quickly rushed to clarify that the incident was a one-off error, saying the cookies were in fact produced prior to Passover but accidentally sent out to the store in question and mislabeled, adding that they were subsequently withdrawn as disposed of as soon as they became aware of the mistake.

In a statement, the US's Orthodox Union (OU) - which provides and supervises the company's kosher certification - backed Reisman's, confirming the incident was indeed an error.

"The Orthodox Union certifies Reisman’s Black & White Cookies," the statement read. "A very small quantity of those cookies were baked before Passover and were mistakenly packaged with labels that state that they were baked after Passover. These mislabeled cookies have been withdrawn from the marketplace."

Despite that fact, the company has been left somewhat red-faced by the incident, and will be hoping its side of the story gets out to its sizable haredi and religious customer base both in Israel and America.