After much investigation and research, STAR-K Kosher Certification announces that it will certify quinoa which needs no further checking, for the very first time, for Pesach 5773/2012. The grain-like crop will be available for both wholesale and retail sale, bearing the STAR-K-P logo.
Although quinoa is Kosher L’Pesach (since it is not related to the five types of chometz grains, millet or rice), because there is a possibility that it grows in proximity of chometz grains and processed in facilities that compromise its Kosher for Passover status, it should only be accepted with a reliable Kosher for Passover supervision.
“We have found that quinoa can be grown near barley, plus sometimes the bags used to transport the quinoa have been used previously for other grains,” says Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Zvi Goldberg. “Last season, STAR-K went to a set of fields in Bolivia, that do not have barley growing near them, and checked them. We also insisted that they do not rotate their crop and that they use new bags, in addition to employing a mashgiach temidi (constant supervision) at the production to ensure that STAR-K standards were kept.”
STAR-K ‘s Rabbinic Administrator, HaRav Moshe Heinemann, holds that quinoa is not kitniyos, based on Igros Moshe OC 3:63. STAR-K Kashrus Administrator and Kashrus Kurrents editor, Rabbi Tzvi Rosen, further adds, “Quinoa was determined to be Kosher L’Pesach. Quinoa is a member of the “goose foot” family, which includes sugar beets and beet root. The Star-K tested quinoa to see if it would rise. The result was as Chazal termed, sirchon; the quinoa decayed — it did not rise.”
Quinoa was first brought to the United States from Chile nineteen years ago, and has been cultivated in the Andes Mountains for thousands of years. It grows three to six feet tall despite high altitudes, intense heat, freezing temperatures, and as little as four inches of annual rainfall. Peru and Bolivia maintain seed banks with 1,800 types of quinoa.
For specific information on sources for STAR-K-P quinoa, visit: Star-K.org/Quinoa.
(Margie Pensak – YWN)