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Is there any concern about using paper towels with hot food? I know there are some who advise against using the first few and last few sheets during Pesach, due to the presence of starch-based glue which may be chametz. Otherwise it is generally not viewed as problematic, but I've heard that there might be an issue of some ingredients (glycerin, maybe?) being derived from non-kosher sources. Does anyone have authoritative information about this one way or the other?

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If I'm not mistaken, the supposed issue with paper towels on Pesach is that the glue may contain kitniyot components. –  Isaac Moses Oct 11 '10 at 20:37
    
This error source is from Pesach time when a certain book talks about the problem of the starch on the Paper towels to keep them from sticking and to glue the first section of the role but as gershon points out it is not a concern the rest of the year even on pesach the book says to remove the first few pieces and then it is fine –  simchastorah Oct 12 '11 at 18:15
    
If you eat them you will have violated Baal Tishaktzu and Ushmartem Meod es Nafshoseihem. –  Leitz Mar 16 '12 at 18:01
    
@Leitz - Read the question carefully; I was asking about using paper towels with hot food, not about eating the paper towels themselves. But of course, feel free to start a new question regarding the latter. And oh, by the way, it's already a week after Purim. –  Dave Mar 16 '12 at 18:24

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The potential kashrus concern with non-food items is the use of processing aids or release agents during manufacturing, which at times could have a non-kosher component. It is certainly a worthy sheilah to address the issues involved since these products, which will later touch food directly, may possibly come into contact with a non-kosher processing aid or release agent.

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The issue with the towels is the adhesive or glue that is applied to the roll, which allows the first few sheets to stick together and prevent the roll from unraveling. This adhesive contains numerous components and as a result many rip off the first three sheets before use on Pesach, lest any adhesive present on those sheets contain chometz or kitniyos. However, some take the position that this is not necessary since the adhesive or glue is a non-food item that is not at all fit for eating by any standard, and should be completely permissible. It is interesting to note that glue can also contain derivatives from treif animals, and discussion of this topic should not be limited to only Pesach. Those that are lenient on Pesach would also take a lenient position throughout the year, since glue is not fit to eat as a food. There are no concerns with the paper itself.

Like all other issues, consumers should consult their Rabbonim for direction.

Information was taken from http://www.oukosher.org/index.php/common/article/10006

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I just found this in Rabbi Blumenkrantz's Pesach Guide (2008): "Bounty paper towels are [...] still a problem of kitniyos as well as a kashrus problem that existed in the previous years, since they use oil in the paper towels which in most cases is animal derived. 'L'chatchila' Bounty paper towels should not be used with food or food utensils throughout the year. In the past if one used the Bounty paper towels 'bedieved' with food it was all right since the oil became 'pogum' in the paper mixture." The OU apparently disagrees. –  Dave Oct 20 '10 at 21:27
    
Well, if the facts that Rabbi Blumenkrantz z"l brings are correct, then it should be mutar. The Torah writes concerning neveilah "give it to the nachri". If the food is nifgam to the extent that a goy would not want it, it's not neveila. –  YDK Oct 20 '10 at 23:20
    
Maybe he just means that the ta'am it would impart would be li'fgam in the food, not that the oil itself is inedible. –  Dave Oct 20 '10 at 23:23
    
The only difference that would make is if the oils were a rov against the food or the food portion grew as a result, in which case it would be asur bediavad. It would not be considered bitul lechatechila since that isn't your kavana. –  YDK Oct 21 '10 at 15:39

If indeed the problem is that it is a kitniyot-based glue, then there is no problem with owning such paper towels. Kitniyot is only assur for Ashkenazim according to most Orthodox poskim, and there is no prohibition of owning kitniyos over Passover like there is with owning hametz. As long as you aren't eating them, it would be fine. Also, even if you were eating them, there are some poskim who permit the eating of kitniyot for ashkenazim if there is a change in form (shinui davar). A practical ramification of this is whether or not corn syrup is permitted. However, IIRC, it is not a majority. Poskim use a similar logic to matir gelatin, which even some (but not all) mehadrin hashgachot in Israel declare to be muttar.

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You could make this answer more valuable by adding sources. –  Isaac Moses Dec 2 '11 at 2:29
    
please don't conflate the gelatin question with the kitnyiot question. They are totally separate questions. In any case, even those who won't eat, say, oils of kitnyiot (shinui hadavar), would all agree that inedible kitnyiot is permitted. Also, there are two different standards of "edible". Chametz has a much stricter standard - would a dog eat it? Kitnyiot, treif, and other kashrus concerns follow the standard of - would a human eat it? –  user1095 Mar 16 '12 at 7:36

http://www.theus.org.uk/the_united_synagogue/media_centre/press_releases/c-1110/united-synagogue-meets-the-challenge-of-a-growing-kosher-market/

This week sees the launch of the Summer 2010 Kosher Nosh Guide with lots of products being given the KLBD (Kashrut Division of the London Beth Din) certification for the first time including Bounty which has for many years been listed as non-kosher in the guide.

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