ConAgra gains certification for fresh yoshon flour

by Jeff Gelski
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OMAHA — ConAgra Mills and The KOF-K, a kosher certification agency, have partnered to make fresh yoshon flour available. Previously, yoshon flour had been available by frozen stock and for bulk purchases only.

Yoshon, the Hebrew term for old, refers to grain that had taken root before the second day of the Jewish holiday Passover. In ancient tradition, this grain was permissible for consumption, but any grain that took root after the second day of the holiday was stored until the next year’s grain offering was brought to the Temple, and only then could it be used.

While the degree to which the laws apply in the Jewish diaspora is a matter of intense debate within the observant Jewish community, demand for yoshon flour has been on the increase.

In the United States, winter wheat, which takes root well before the spring holiday of Passover, is yoshon. Spring wheat, by contrast, may or may not be yoshon, depending on the timing of planting.

ConAgra Mills has devoted its Denver Eagle facility and a wheat storage house exclusively to yoshon flour production. A permanent on-site kosher supervisor will oversee the packing and sealing of the rail cars used for transport. Another permanent on-site kosher supervisor will be at the ConAgra Mills’ Bronx Terminal distribution center in New York.

"I think the arrangement between the KOF-K and ConAgra Mills is a big step forward," said Yoseph Herman, a rabbi and expert on yoshon flour in America. "It is very encouraging that KOF-K is involved, and I am hopeful that the bakeries in New York will now be provided with a steady supply of yoshon."

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