Saturday, Jul 24, 2021

AKO Post-Pesach Shopping Information

By Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, Executive Director, AKO

Introduction

Chometz that was owned by a Jew during Pesach may not be eaten even after Pesach ends.[1]  This year, AKO established an “AKO Post Pesach List Committee” to explore the post-Pesach status of supermarkets, convenience stores and distributors. Some of the issues explored by the committee were the following: Is there Jewish ownership, was a mechiras chometz performed before Pesach, and if so, how was it executed and by whom, and finally, who are the suppliers and are they Jewish?

Despite extensive effort and investigation, the answers to some of these questions remain elusive. The information presented below represents the group’s best estimate. There are additional establishments that we did not research this year but hope to do so in the future. Any reader who has relevant information should please share it with us.

There are several halachic issues that must be considered when determining the status of chometz after Pesach. Our committee did not attempt to resolve these issues. Our goal was to gather information which poskim can use to form halachic conclusions; individuals should consult with their local rov and posek.

Here are some of the basic halachic concerns:

  • Since chometz she’avar alav haPesach is an issur derabbonon, to what extent does safeik derabbonon lekulah apply when accurate information is not readily available?
  • Can we rely on the opinions of Zeicher Yitzchok (#8) and Chemed Moshe (quoted by Mishnah Berurah, Sha’ar Hatziyun 448:4), who hold that chometz she’avar alav haPesach is botel b’rov if there is a majority of non-Jewish ownership?
  • Is ownership of stock in a corporation the same as ownership of the corporation’s chometz?
  • How effective is mechiras chometz for a supplier or store which continues to operate on Pesach?

This last question must be addressed by poskim with respect to three different methods of sale:

Method 1:       This is the traditional sale of chometz. Presumably, the chometz that arrives on Pesach is not included in the sale because it was a dovor shelo ba l’olam.

May one purchase chometz in such stores after Pesach because it is unknown if the chometz on the shelf was acquired on Pesach (in which case the sale was not effective) or before Pesach?  Does safek derabbonon lekulah apply? Additionally, is the sale invalidated because the establishment operates on Pesach?

Method 2:       The entire company was sold to a non-Jew, in which case the chometz that arrived on Pesach belongs to the new non-Jewish owner.

Is the sale of an entire company a gross ha’aramah, particularly since most of the profit from sales over Pesach is not shared with the non-Jew? There are mixed opinions about this matter.

Method 3:       This method is utilized for businesses that have Jewish and non-Jewish partners, and the Jew and non-Jew exchange ownership of chometz and non-chometz aspects of the business for Pesach.

Below are a few categories of establishments and our best estimation of stores that fall into each category:

No Jewish Involvement

Publicly traded companies (therefore presumed to be owned by non-Jews) or non-Jewish ownership

Supplier is not a Jewish distributor

Chometz may be purchased from these stores after Pesach

Aldi

BJ’s Wholesale Club

Costco

CVS

Duane Reade

Hannaford

Kmart

Publix

Rite Aid

Sam’s Club

Trader Joes

Walgreens

Walmart

Wawa

Wegmans

Whole Foods

Jewish Supplier

Publicly traded companies or non-Jewish ownership

Supplier is Jewish

Chometz of supplier is sold before Pesach using Method 2 but continues to operate on Pesach

D’Agostino Markets

Food Emporium

Foodway Supermarket

Gristedes Foods

Key Food

Kroger

Stop and Shop

Target – see below

Winn Dixie

Target. Some frozen foods in certain parts of the United States – particularly on the East Coast – are in this category. Non-frozen chometz is supplied by non-Jewish company.

Franchised Stores

Some stores are Jewish-owned

Investigation is necessary to determine who owns each establishment

7-Eleven…………….. [Supplier is not Jewish]

Shoprite……………… A rabbi arranges transfer of ownership for some Jewish-owned stores, and purchases of chometz on Pesach from the supplier is allocated to the “new” non-Jewish owners. [Method 3 of mechiras chometz.] See discussion below about Wakefern, which supplies all Shoprite stores.

Jewish Ownership

Jewish ownership

Mechiras chometz is performed using Method 1, and business is open on Pesach

Price Chopper

Minority Jewish Ownership

Jewish partners are minority stockholders

Mechiras chometz is performed, and business is open on Pesach

Albertson’s…which owns Acme, Jewel-Osco, Safeway, and Shaw’s. Part of the company is publicly traded, but minority stockholders are Jewish. The Jewish owners sell their shares before Pesach using Method 2 of mechiras chometz.

Other chains owned by this company include Star Markets, Vons, Pavilions, Tom Thumb, and Randalls.

Wakefern……………. which supplies all Shoprite stores. Wakefern Food Corporation is a cooperative that is owned by the Shoprite storeowners, some of whom are Jewish. A rabbi arranges transfer of Jewish ownership to non-Jewish partners (i.e., mechiras chometz Method 3), and the purchase and distribution of chometz on Pesach by Wakefern are allocated to the non-Jewish partners.

Some Jewish Suppliers

Amazon……………… is publicly traded and does not use a Jewish supplier. However, they serve as the distributor for many Jewish-owned companies. The name of the supplier is often posted on the Amazon website. Consumers should make a reasonable effort to determine if the supplier is Jewish before purchasing chometz after Pesach.

This same concern applies to other on-line distributors, such as Walmart.com and SamsClub.com.

 

Alphabetical Listing

Section where information can be found about specific establishments

 

7-Eleven………………. D

Acme……………………. F

Albertson’s……………. F

Aldi……………………… B

Amazon……………….. G

BJ’s……………………… B

Costco………………….. B

CVS…………………….. B

D’Agostino…………… C

Duane Reade………… B

Food Emporium…….. C

Foodway………………. C

Gristedes………………. C

Hannaford……………. B

Jewel……………………. F

Key Food……………… C

Kmart…………………… B

Kroger………………….. C

Pavillions………………. F

Price Chopper……….. E

Publix…………………… B

Randalls……………….. F

Rite Aid……………….. B

Safeway……………….. F

Sam’s Club…………… B

SamsClub.com………. G

Shaw’s…………………. F

Shoprite……………….. D

Star Markets………….. F

Stop and Shop………. C

Target…………………… C

Tom Thumb…………… F

Trader Joes……………. B

Vons…………………….. F

Wakefern……………… F

Walgreens…………….. B

Walmart……………….. B

Walmart.com………… G

Wawa…………………… B

Wegmans……………… B

Whole Foods………… B

Winn Dixie…………… C

 

 

 

[1] It is permitted to own kitniyos during Pesach, and products that contain kitniyos (and no chometz) may be purchased from anyone after Pesach. This includes rice, beans, lentils, corn, soy, and certain other items. In this context, it is noteworthy that vinegar used in the United States is assumed to be produced from kitniyos sources rather than from chometz. Accordingly, condiments such as ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise are not subject to concerns of chometz she’avar alav haPesach.

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