Barcodes the Latest Weapon in the Fight to Keep Passover Kosher

Chief Rabbinate will require supermarket chains to place barcodes on leavened food products.

The Chief Rabbinate is introducing barcodes this Passover as its latest weapon in the fight to ensure grocery stores meet kosher-for-Pesach standards.

Stores will be required to place the special barcodes on all chametz products (leavened foods), or risk losing kosher certification granted especially for the Passover holiday period, the Rabbinate announced Wednesday.

Haaretz has also learned that Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger recently approached Rabbi Yisrael Ifergan, known as the "X-ray rabbi" for his medical healing and advice, to ask that he influence his close associate Nochi Dankner to join the program. Dankner has a controlling interest in major supermarket chain Super-Sol.

The barcode program was instigated several weeks ago when a donor, who asked not to be named, approached the Rabbinate with the offer of paying for the barcodes to be placed on chametz products at every branch of all the major supermarket chains.

Rabbi Metzger and senior officials from the Chief Rabbinate's Kashrut Department met with managers of the supermarket chains several weeks ago and presented them with the idea. However, most of the managers claimed the move was not possible and was likely to expose them to lawsuits.

Kashrut Department chief Rabbi Yaakov Sabag sent a letter to the managers of the supermarket chains on Wednesday, telling them that they have 48 hours to notify the Rabbinate whether or not they will be using the barcode system.

Although Sabag did not threaten to strip the chains of their kosher certification, he did write that the Chief Rabbinate will be obligated to inform the public about the possibility of chametz products being sold if a chain chooses not to join the program.