Pesach: conditioning wheat kernels today
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Is wheat conditioned (where the kernels are exposed to moisture before being milled) in modern milling? There is a responsum by Rabbi Epstien in Chevel Nachalato about wheat conditioning (letita). I recently heard that this is not done today (including to a taped conversation with a professional on the matter; yet I don't know who the speaker is and what the context of the discussion). My question is if conditioning is still performed in the wheat milling process, or has technology changed and with it the halacha with regarding to chametz. Have the rabbis recently reinvestigated the matter? Thank you!
Based on the information at my disposal, the answer is that it really depends on the flour mill. Different mills have different practices: some condition the kernels for several hours in minimal moister; others do very briefly in relatively high moister; while there is one mill that doesn't condition the grains at all. For this reason, it is hard to give a precise answer on the manner. In any case, as it stands, flour is certainly safek chametz.
I would like to stress that at all the mills that produce white flour—where the bran, wheat germ, and all the other components are separated—the kernel needs to be treated prior to milling to facilitate this separation. Most of the time the kernel undergoes a conditioning process. Again, mills that produce whole wheat don't always condition the kernels and there are mills that do not do so at all.