First: This past week we held a Motzaei Shabbos panel discussion on "Igniting Spiritual Passion" in ourselves and in our children. Panelists were [in order of presentation] Rav Herschel Schachter, Rabbi Kenneth Brander, Dr. Rona Novick, YU President Richard Joel, and me. [Yes, I know that group is out of my league. I was just glad to have a good seat from which to listen.] You can find the audio here; the video should be on-line at Koshertube soon. Enjoy!
Next: Since we have discussed the status of quinoa on Pesach here before, here's an important update from the CRC, working in tandem with the OU and the Star-K:
February 28, 2012
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.
We have, therefore, determined that the only way to allow quinoa for use on Pesach is to track the quinoa from certain farms that are free from the above concerns. The Star-K spearheaded this endeavor and sent a mashgiach to find such a farm. While they were successful in their search, it proved to be challenging from a practical point of view, as the company visited generally sells their products in large quantities. The Star-K has now worked with other companies to pack the usable quinoa into smaller packages, and the following three options have been approved for Pesach quinoa consumption:
Andean Naturals with a lot code beginning SCI-JI sold only in 1,000 lb increments. The contact information is:
Sergio Nuñez de Arco; Andean Naturals; Organic Quinoa and Quinoa-based Ingredients
Brought to you by Specialty Commodities, Inc.
Toll Free (888) 547-9777 x 711 www.andeannaturals.com
Andean Naturals with a lot code beginning SCI-JI sold in wholesale 25 lb bags. The contact information is:
Tania Petricevic; firstname.lastname@example.org
194 Orange St. Oakland, CA 94610
Sales Support: (914)220-2974; Customer Service: (954)336-1743
Hours of Operation M-F (PST) 10:00am-4:00pm
Quinoa Corp, Ancient Harvest brand, lot code 3.01.14 k, sold in small retail 12 oz boxes. When ordering directly from them, mention that you want the Passover run.
http://www.quinoa.net/; (310) 217-8125
It is important to note that even the quinoa from the above approved sources should be carefully checked before Pesach for any foreign matter before use. This can be done by spreading the quinoa out on a plate and carefully checking there are no other grains or foreign matter mixed in.
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.