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What is the source of this practice? Is it a Minhag or Halacha? What are the reasons it must be burnt?

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It is a Halacha well documented in the written Torah, the Mishna and the Jerusalem-Talmud and then codified by all Poskim.

Torah: Bamidbar 15:20:

ראשית ערסתכם חלה תרימו תרומה כתרומת גרן כן תרימו אתה

As the first yield of your baking, you shall set aside a loaf as a gift; you shall set it aside as a gift like the gift from the threshing floor.

Mishna: Masechet Challa

Talmud Yerushalmi: Mas. Challa

Rambam: Ch. 5 of Hil. Bikurim etc.

Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De'ah section 322 - 330

That said, nowadays it may possibly be Rabbinic under certain circumstances.

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