Supermarket giant Tesco has been found selling non-kosher for Passover cakes and snacks as Pesach products.
The JC found at least nine products being sold in stores across the country as part of the chain’s dedicated Passover offerings, some which contained standard processed wheat, which is strictly forbidden during the eight-day festival.
Other produce was included in Passover points of sale, despite being marked in Hebrew as “not suitable for Pesach”.
The company’s online store is also displaying non-Pesach products in its dedicated Passover section.
Five flavours of Bissli snacks currently being sold online and in stores are not kosher certified for Passover, containing wheat flour rather than the substituted matza meal. In Tesco Cheetham Hill in north Manchester, ordinary Osem cakes were being stacked on shelves side by side with their non-leavened counterparts, on a special Passover aisle.
The appearance of the goods with matching shelf labels and in Tesco’s online range indicates a larger error rather than simple in-store anomalies.
Tesco, which stocks the largest range of Passover products among fiercely competing Pesach supermarket ranges, has apologised to Jewish customers. A spokesman said: “We are looking into this issue urgently. We understand the importance of keeping kosher and kosher-for-Passover products separate, and try to use clear labelling and separate sections in our stores and on our websites to do this.
“We are very sorry if customers haven’t been able to see easily which products are kosher-for-Passover, and we’re currently reviewing the ranges to ensure they are clearly defined.”
Two of the UK’s leading kashrut authorities have issued warnings to consumers, urging them to inspect packaging before buying.
London Beth Din kashrut head, Rabbi Jeremy Conway, said: “Often the packaging is very similar and quite confusing. It is critical that consumers carefully check every jar and package for a reliable hechsher (kosher symbol) and not simply rely on the shop or shelf from which it was taken.”
Manchester Beth Din’s Rabbi Yehuda Brodie advised “extreme caution” to consumers purchasing in supermarkets, and also urged the community “to support their local Jewish stores to ensure their continued viability.”