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NEW YORK — On any given day, a wind might blow through the farmlands of South America, pick up an errant grain of barley and deposit it nearby among the vast rows of cultivated quinoa. If that barley manages to make its way into a sifted batch of quinoa, and avoid detection during repackaging, it could wind up gracing your seder table on Passover night.
However dubious it might seem, the scenario is among the reasons that the world’s largest kosher certification agency is refusing to sanction quinoa for Passover consumption, potentially depriving Jewish consumers of a high-fiber, protein-rich staple that many have come to rely on during the weeklong holiday.
The Orthodox Union announced last year that it would not certify quinoa as kosher for Passover out of concern that quinoa falls into the category of kitniyyot, a group of legumes forbidden because they look similar to grains proscribed on the holiday.