Information on Quinoa (3/2/12)
Chicago Rabbinical Council Quinoa Policy: In 2007 HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Shlit''a, the Av Beis Din of the Chicago Rabbinical Council, issued a p'sak that quinoa is not considered kitniyos and therefore may be used on Pesach. Most of the quinoa comes from Peru and Bolivia and has been grown in areas where other (problematic for Pesach) grains were generally not grown. However, as the popularity of quinoa has risen, this is no longer the absolute case. This was confirmed this year by a Star-K mashgiach who visited Bolivia and found that barley does indeed grow in those areas. It was also recently discovered that some farmers cover their quinoa with barley and/or oats to keep the birds from eating the quinoa while it dries. Finally, there is a concern that the sacks used to transfer the quinoa may have been previously used to hold barley or oats.
The cRc would like to thank Rabbi Zvi Goldberg of the Star-K and Rabbi Reuven Nathanson of the OU for their help on researching this issue.
The following Passover alert is from the Star-K on March 2, 2012.
Star-K Quinoa Policy: Quinoa is Kosher L'Pesach and is not related to the five types of chometz grains, millet or rice. However, because there is a possibility that quinoa grows in proximity of chometz grains and processed in facilities that compromise its Kosher for Passover status, quinoa should only be accepted with a reliable Kosher for Passover supervision.
This year, Star-K sent a mashgiach to Bolivia to visit farms that do not have the above concerns. Based on that visit, Star-K is approving certain brands of quinoa for this Passover. However, the company we visited generally sells in large quantities. We have therefore worked with other companies to pack the usable quinoa into smaller packages.
Star-K advises that even the quinoa from these approved sources should be carefully checked before Pesach for any foreign matter(e.g. barley) before use. Place the quinoa on a plate and look through the grains.
The previous alert can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/Passover/PAlerts/?alert=P0293
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