Guide to Selling Real Chometz Before Pesach

Although להלכה, any chometz may be sold before Pesach, there are pious individuals who do not sell “real” chometz, but rather give it away, burn it, or eat it before Pesach. How does one define “real” chometz? A food for which there is an issur of בל יראה ובל ימצא דאורייתא (there is a Torah prohibition of ownership on Pesach) is “real” chometz. This includes all items that are חמץ גמור, real chometz (bread, cake, pretzels, pasta, etc.). It should be noted that people who do not sell real chometz may purchase real chometz from a Jewish owned store that sold their chometz.

However, תערובת חמץ where the חיוב ביעור (obligation to burn) is only מדרבנן(rabbinic), or at least according to some opinions only מדרבנן, is not חמץ גמור. In addition, ספק חמץ medications and non-edible items, as well as products processed on chometz equipment, are not considered to be חמץ גמור. These products are sold before Pesach even by individuals who are stringent not to sell חמץ גמור. Many individuals who do not sell חמץ גמור will sell alcoholic beverages before Pesach. Each family should follow their custom.

The following chart offers guidelines as to which products are considered “real” chometz. חמץ גמור means it is “real” chometz. Pious individuals customarily do not sell these products before Pesach. Rather, they either consume it, burn it, or give it away as a gift to a gentile before Pesach. Not חמץ גמור indicates the product is not “real” chometz. Even pious individuals will generally sell such products to a gentile before Pesach. (Where indicated, some products may even remain in one’s possession during Pesach, and a sale is not required.)

 

Product Status
Barley (if pearled, raw and packaged) Not חמץ גמור
Beer  חמץ גמור
Bread   חמץ גמור
Cake and Cookies   חמץ גמור
Cake mixes (dry) Not חמץ גמור
Cereal with primary ingredient of wheat, oats or barley  חמץ גמור
Chometz content is more than a k’zayis. The chometz can be eaten in a time span of k’dai achilas pras2 (e.g., box of Froot Loops cereal)   חמץ גמור
Chometz content is more than a k’zayis. The chometz can not be eaten b’kdai achilas pras2 (e.g., box of Cap ‘N Crunch cereal) Not  חמץ גמור
Chometz content in entire package is less than a k’zayis but is greater than 1/60 of the product (e.g., Corn Flakes cereal)  Not  חמץ גמור
Chometz content is less than 1/60 of the product  Not חמץ גמור4
Chometz Nokshe (e.g., chometz glue) Not  חמץ גמור
Chometz products non-edible even for canine consumption (nifsal mayachilas kelev)  Not חמץ גמור3
Condiments containing vinegar (e.g., ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, pickles)  Not  חמץ גמור
Cooked on chometz equipment (not during Pesach) but contains no chometz in the product  Not חמץ גמור 5
Corn Flakes (even if contains malt flavor)  Not  חמץ גמור
Cosmetics  Not חמץ גמור4
Cream of Wheat  חמץ גמור
Couscous   חמץ גמור
Detergents  Not חמץ גמור4
Extracts  Not  חמץ גמור
Farfel Mix   חמץ גמור
Flour (including whole wheat flour or if contains malted barley) Notחמץ גמור6
Food Coloring  Not  חמץ גמור
Gefilte Fish (even if contains matzo meal and is not KFP as long as label does not state chometz content) Not  חמץ גמור
Ketchup  Not  חמץ גמור
Kitniyos  Not חמץ גמור3
Licorice   חמץ גמור
Malt extract in product (e.g., Rice Krispies)  Not  חמץ גמור
Maltodextrin/Maltose (in product)  Not  חמץ גמור
Matzah and Matzah Meal – not certified for Pesach (label does not state chometz)  Not  חמץ גמור
Mayonnaise  Not  חמץ גמור
Medicine containing chometz  Not  חמץ גמור
Modified food starch (from unknown sources)  Not  חמץ גמור
Mustard  Not  חמץ גמור
Oatmeal (Instant, Regular, Baby)   חמץ גמור
Pasta   חמץ גמור
Pickles  Not  חמץ גמור
Pretzels   חמץ גמור
Rice Krispies (even if contains malt flavor)  Not  חמץ גמור
Rolled Oats   חמץ גמור
Salad Dressing  Not  חמץ גמור
Vanillin and Ethyl Vanillin  Not  חמץ גמור
Vinegar (from unknown sources)  Not  חמץ גמור
Vitamin tablets containing chometz  Not  חמץ גמור
Wheat Germ  Not  חמץ גמור
Wheat gluten/wheat protein (unknown amount in product)   חמץ גמור
Whiskey7 Follow family custom 1
Yeast (Baker’s), yeast extract  Not  חמץ 3


For a more detailed discussion of this topic see
Purchasing Chometz After Pesach & Defining Real Chometz

For a discussion regarding Chometz after Pesach see:
Guide To Purchasing Chometz After Pesach


1. Some individuals sell this chometz, others do not. One should follow his family custom.

2. K’dai achilas pras is the amount of time it takes to eat the volume of buttered bread equaling 3-4 eggs (approximately 2-4 minutes).  For example, if one eats a bowl of Froot Loops cereal, he will eat a k’zayis of chometz within 2-4 minutes.  However, if one eats Cap ‘N  Crunch cereal, he will not eat a k’zayis of chometz fast enough since the amount of chometz in Cap ‘N  Crunch cereal is relatively minimal.

3. These products are not chometz. One may even retain possession on Pesach. Sale is not necessary (מותר בהנאה בפסח). The product may not be eaten on Pesach.

4. These products are not chometz. One may even retain possession on Pesach. Sale is not necessary (מותר בהנאה בפסח).

5. One may retain possesion of these products on Pesach. Sale is not necessary. They may not be eaten on Pesach.

6. This applies to flour that is not an ingredient in a product (e.g., flour sold in bags). However, as an ingredient in a product it is usually חמץ גמור.

7.  This includes bourbon, rye, liquors, gin, scotch & whiskey (unless they are certified for Pesach or are known to be from non-chometz sources).