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.)
|Barley (if pearled, raw and packaged)||Not 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|
|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|
|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|
|Pickles||Not 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 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).