Times have changed, and there are a lot more aspects to keeping yoshon in our modern times than there were in the past. Many “myths” surround foods that are believed to be yoshon, but the old rules concerning them are no longer applicable.
Let’s dispel some of the myths and misconceptions that surround keeping yoshon, and learn some lesser-known facts.
My product was yoshon last year, so surely it will be yoshon this year too. Wrong! Just because a product was yoshon the year before does not guarantee that a product will be yoshon the next year. Many factors can affect the status, such as crop conditions, hashgacha, or a company decision that they don’t care if it is. This is why a product’s status must be checked on our site every single year.
I called the company and asked if their product was yoshon. They said it is, so that means it has to be yoshon! Wrong! This is absolutely incorrect. Companies and reps want to sell their products. Often reps do not even know what yoshon is. The only way to know beyond a doubt if a company’s product is yoshon is by asking the mashgiach or certifying kashrut agency. Period! If a company cannot or will not produce a letter of certification from their overseeing kosher agency, we will not list it as being “Status: Yoshon” on our site.
The chodosh season starts after Sukkot, so I don’t have to worry about yoshon until then. Wrong! The “season” starts when the first chodosh crop is harvested. The first crop is usually Oats, and in most years occurs in mid to late July. The year after a second Adar may be a few weeks later.) Sukkot normally occurs in September or October. This means that Oats have been chodosh for at least 1-2 months! “After Sukkot” is too late. Stocking up early is always a good idea.
It is okay to eat fluffy cakes, soft challah, and crumbly cookies without checking if they are yoshon, because these are always made with winter wheat. Wrong! At one time, it was considered okay, because generally these type foods were made with strictly winter wheat. However, this hasn’t been the case in many years. Spring wheat is often mixed in, unless a company specifically makes certain it is yoshon.
My bag of flour is yoshon, because it says “Made with 100% Winter Wheat”! Wrong! Companies can legally add up to 50% chodosh spring wheat to their flour, regardless of what it says on the package. This is why it is so important to check out your products on Yoshon.com.
The package says “Pas Yisroel” so it must be yoshon too. Wrong! Pas Yisroel and Yoshon are two entirely different issues, and have nothing to do with each other. Pas Yisroel is a Rabbinic stringency, and Yoshon is an agricultural law from the Torah.
All Hard Pretzels are automatically yoshon. Wrong! Hard pretzels, like many other items since the Winter Wheat Crisis, no longer can be relied upon to be strictly Winter Wheat. Manufacturers have been adding chodosh spring wheat, so that pretzel dates too have to be checked for their yoshon status.
All “Gluten-Free” items are yoshon. Wrong! A good majority of Gluten-Free items are made with Oats, which is the first crop to become chodosh!
You can figure out if a product is yoshon from looking at the bar code. Wrong! A UPC bar code is only a means of identifying a product, much like an SSN for a person.
All grocery store-bought packaged Matza and Matza Meal is made from yoshon Winter Wheat. Correct. It was discovered that some handmade matzah bakeries were adding chodosh spring wheat, but this is quite rare.
Spelt and Rye are always yoshon when grown in the USA or Canada. Correct! These crops are winter crops in the USA, and can be relied upon to be yoshon year-round. Most spelt in Canada is yoshon too.
Israelis must eat yoshon when visiting the USA or other countries, and any visitors from other countries must eat yoshon when visiting Israel. Correct! Since yoshon is an agricultural law, it is mandatory to keep it when in Israel, whether living there or just visiting. It eventually becomes the adopted custom for someone living there, whether they know it or not.
Any product under reliable hashgacha from Israel is automatically yoshon. Correct! If in doubt about locally-made products, an Israeli product with a reliable hechsher can always be counted on to be yoshon. This even includes any reliable hashgacha from outside of Israel, because it is Halacha that all grain products in Israel must be yoshon. Since it is an Agricultural Law for the Land from the Torah, it applies in Israel at all times. Otherwise, if a product from Israel were not yoshon, it is akin to eating non-kosher food.
If I know the shelf life of a product, and the general chodosh cutoff date for its grain ingredient, I can figure out a product’s “Best By” cutoff date. Correct! That is why whenever possible, we include a shelf life time under “Additional Information” if it is known. If it is early in the season and our site has not been updated yet, one can still figure out the status of their product. Simply add the shelf life time to the general cutoff date, and that equals the “Best By” date. For more information on date calculations, visit our page “How to Calculate Date Codes“. For Toools to make calculations see our page “Tools“.