Q. On Pesach, may one use paper plates, paper towels and napkins that are not certified kosher for Passover?
A. Paper plates, paper towels and napkins generally contain starch. Some forms of raw starch are kitniyot, such as corn starch, while other forms of starch, such as wheat starch, are actual chametz.
In the U.S, it can safely be assumed that starch used in manufacturing is kitniyot, most probably corn-based. Though one should not intentionally add kitniyot to food, with respect to paper goods this is not a concern because the starch that is part and parcel of the paper itself is nifsal mei’achila (inedible).
(If paper goods contain wheat starch, the fact that it is nifsal mei’achila may not suffice to permit their use, see Magen Avrohom 442:4).
Based on the above, in the US, one may use paper plates, paper towels and napkins even if not certified for Passover. For a full list of non-food items that can be used on Passover without certification, please go HERE.
This column is from OU Kosher’s Halacha Yomis daily column 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.