Updated September 14, 2023
This page is dedicated in memory of Rav Yosef Herman הרב יוסף בן הרב יהושע זצ”ל, who is credited with singlehandedly raising awareness about Yoshon in America and throughout chutz la’aretz and renewing the klal’s commitment to this precious mitzvah. He undertook the responsibility to conduct extensive research about Yoshon products and to publish Yoshon updates year after year without remuneration. May all of our work be an aliyah for his neshama.
Yoshon season 2023-24 has now begun. Any item from any of the grains (wheat, oats or barley) purchased prior to September 1, 2023, can be considered Yoshon. Rye and spelt in North America are always considered Yoshon.
There are still very few, if any, consumer products on the shelf that would contain Chodosh at this point, with the exception of flour. We are still working to update the product lists, but consumers can use the general guidelines listed below in the meantime. We are also working closely with yoshon.com to post updated information. Consumers can check their site or their app to stay up-to-date.
Wheat Products (except flour) – Use September 1, 2023, as the cutoff date. That is 15 days later than last year. You can use dates/codes from last year and just add 15 days.
Wheat Flour – Generally, the expiration code is 12 months after production. Any retail (5- or 10-lb) bags of flour dated 08-20-2024 or earlier are certainly Yoshon.
Barley – All barley may be considered Yoshon if purchased up until September 15, 2023, at the very least. We hope to have more exact dates/codes by then.
Oats – September 1, 2023, is the general cutoff (for now). That is 20 days later than last year. You can use dates/codes from last year and just add 20 days.
In addition, every year we publish an up-to-date list of Baltimore establishments and the Yoshon and Pas Yisroel status of their products. Both the Yoshon Quick Reference Guide and the local Baltimore establishment list are linked below.
The Torah (Vayikra 23:14) states that the new (i.e., Chodosh) crop of the five grains may not be eaten until after the second day of Passover (i.e., in Israel; outside of Israel, not until the third day). This means that the grain harvested this summer would not be allowed until Passover of next year (i.e., 2024/5784). The term Yoshon (literally, old) refers to crops harvested last summer that became permitted after the following Passover. Thus, the 2022 crop of grains, harvested in the summer of 2022, became permitted after this last Passover (i.e., 2023/5783). Grain planted at least two weeks or more before Passover are permitted upon harvest (see Dagul Mervava Y.D. 293) since they took root before Passover.
Outside of Israel, there are various customs based on numerous sources whether or not one needs to be stringent about only using Yoshon products. Each person should consult their rav for guidance. In Israel, however, these leniencies do not apply. Therefore, any Israeli product bearing a reliable kosher certification is definitely Yoshon.
Wheat in the USA has two planting seasons a year: winter and spring. Winter wheat can be planted anytime between October and February. The wheat grows to a young plant stage and remains in a stalled vegetative state until spring, at which time growth resumes. Once the wheat matures, it is harvested, usually in late spring/early summer. Spring wheat is planted between April and June and harvested as soon as it is ripe, typically 6-12 weeks after planting (usually at the end of July).
Since winter wheat is always planted at least two weeks before Passover, it is always Yoshon. Spring wheat, however, is planted right around Passover and (so far) never more than two weeks before, and is thus always a Chodosh concern. Unlike wheat, the remaining four grains are single-season crops. Oat and barley are spring crops, planted around Passover and harvested in the summer, and therefore pose a Chodosh concern. Rye and spelt in the USA are winter crops and therefore never Chodosh.
Between Passover and the end of the summer (roughly mid-August), all grain products are permitted because they are all either from a winter crop or the previous year’s spring crop. The new spring crop enters the market around August, which signals the start of the ‘Yoshon season.’ At that point, any products containing the new spring wheat, oats, or barley may not be eaten by those who adhere to the stringency of Yoshon until after Passover of the following year.
STAR-K policy does not require our certified grain products to be Yoshon. However, any grain products made available at STAR-K certified establishments (e.g., all local bakeries) and characterized as Yoshon, or retail products that make a Yoshon claim on the label, are required to be certified as Yoshon by STAR-K. This means that STAR-K’s oversight program will include verifying the Yoshon status of all products we certify that are marketed and/or labeled as Yoshon.
Please refer to the Guide for product information, and consult the local Baltimore establishment information list as needed. Since Yoshon availability can change at any time, consumers are urged to check with the mashgiach at each establishment (or look for posted signs) prior to eating or shopping to ascertain Yoshon status. At catered events, the Hashgacha cards will always list the Yoshon status for that event.