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Passover 2016 Recap

Kashrut.com had a banner season for Passover 2016.

Kashrut.com has reached its 20th birthday. Kashrut.com is a kosher-food-information website that was established in May 1996. Since then, Kashrut.com has been providing information, alerts, and recipes, and serves as a clearinghouse for all of the Passover information on the web.

Passover 2016 Season: From March 7, 2015 to April 16, 2015, the site had over 36,900 page downloads and was viewed by 124,000 distinct computer addresses. The Passover index page itself had almost 37,000 visitors. The website transferred over 138 gigabytes of information.

We learned the following this Passover:

In most cases, I found that the kashrus agencies do not say that a product is usable for Passover unless it is certified as such. The OU has had no new products listed on the gray pages (products usable for Passover without Passover certification) in many years. However, they have looked at the usability of soy, rice milks and baby formula for Passover, because of great demand and listed this elsewhere on their Passover website. Both the manufacturers and the kashrus agencies are failing to address the healthy-food-for-Passover market, which is surprising, since many of these manufacturers are already careful with their processing or are aiming for the "free-from" allergen market, making them ideal for the gluten-free (non-gebruckts), soy-free and corn-free market of Pesach.

  • Shortage of chalov stam dairy products in New England and elsewhere:
    Many of the usual chalav stam dairy products certified for Passover did not arrive in the Boston area. The products were listed as available certified in the OU Passover Guide, but did not show up in local supermarkets. One reader told me that Temp Tee Passover cream cheese was not available in Memphis.
  • Passover is the most important time for the kosher-food industry and the kashrus agencies. From KosherToday: "As many as 80% of American Jews participate in at least one Seder, according to Jewish population studies, contributing to a dynamic Passover market, which represents nearly 40% of year-round kosher food sales. Retailers in Brooklyn, Monsey and Lakewood said that a growing community was simply buying more, an indication that demographics are playing a major role in the soaring kosher food market."
    There is a lot that has been done, but a lot more that can be done to ensure a supply of healthy foods that are available for use on this holiday.

    Large documents from the kashrus agencies that people do not read

    The other thing that I noticed from the questions that I got is that the Kashrus agencies are producing large on-line documents that many people do not read or use. The kashrus agencies feel that this is the time that they get people's attention, so they produce large documents with many articles, not necessarily about Passover and which contain ads for products that they certify. These documents are very difficult for users to navigate and find information. I found some of these to be unreadable on my desktop, since they seemed to be designed for a tablet and they are so large, that people do not print them.
    A positive development: The Chicago Rabbinical Council Askcrc.org website is a useful resource for kashrus and Passover kashrus questions.

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    Arlene J. Mathes-Scharf  
    Food Scientist - Kosher Food Specialist
    Scharf Associates
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