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Matza ado about nothing

By ReligionAugust, 2010December 21st, 20233 min read

Judging by the number of comments on the stories about soft matzah, particularly those questioning the flour used for matzos that had been manufactured locally in the past under Kosher Australia, you’d think Kosher Australia (KA) would have been flooded with inquiries from consumers (briefly, one of the many objections to the locally produced soft matzah was that all flour in Australia is washed, and that renders it chametz. If that’s the case, how was matzah made here?) After all, people who were so concerned about the (Pesach) kashrut of the matzah they had been eating for years would surely be interested in getting the facts from the ultimate source – the certifying agency itself.

I thought I would add my voice to all of those consumers, and sent an e-mail to the General Manager of KA (I happen to know him personally and have his direct e-mail address, although this information is clearly listed on their site). He responded and explained that the flour used came either from local batches especially supervised for Pesach, or from Israel under the supervision of the OU. In the last few years, the flour was sourced exclusively from Israel, after which production was entirely shifted to Israel. The reasons for the changes in all cases were price and quality.

The information was provided to me with a caveat – it is “commercial in confidence” – and at the request of KA, I have removed some of the commercially sensitive details before publishing.

There are two lessons to be learnt here:

Firstly, it is a challenge for any kashrut agency to balance the confidential nature of information it needs to have in order to do its job with the need to be transparent to consumers. However, I asked a straight question and received a straight answer, and am reasonably satisfied with the result of my “investigation”. I expect no less from any kashrut agency.

Secondly and more importantly, I was the only person who inquired about the flour used. This truly staggered me. While I’ve never actually eaten the stuff on Pesach (I only eat hand baked shmurah matzah), I would have thought that people who cared about kashrut would have taken the five minutes to send an e-mail and find out for themselves. There were several hundred comments on the handful of articles about the whole topic on this site, many of which raised the counter example of the flour used. Are readers more interested in gossip about the politics of kashrut authorities than the kashrut itself?

David Werdiger notes that KA have not edited this information.

The article originally appeared on Galus Australis, and the article image is taken from there.

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