Q. May I purchase flour after Pesach from a Jewish-owned store that did not sell its chametz?
A. One of the processing steps in the production of white flour (and some whole wheat flour) involves exposing the wheat kernels to moisture for an extended period of time. This process is called tempering.
Although the kernels do not sprout as a result of this process, according to some opinions the wheat kernels would become safek chametz (doubtful chametz) (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 467:1-2).
Other opinions hold that because the amount of water is relatively minute the flour is not even considered a safek chametz (first Biur Halacha 467).
Since the prohibition against using chametz that was not properly disposed of during Pesach is only rabbinic, Rav Belsky zt”l held that one can purchase flour after Pesach even if it wasn’t sold prior to Pesach.
This column comes from OU Kosher’s Halacha Yomis dedicated in memory of Rav Chaim Yisroel ben Reb Dov HaLevy Belsky, zt’l, Senior OU Kosher Halachic Consultant (1987-2016). Subscribers can also ask their own questions on Kashrus issues and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. These questions and their answers may be selected to become one of the Q and A’s on OU Kosher Halacha Yomis.