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from: http://doseofhalacha.blogspot.com/2014/04/toiletries-on-pesach.html

On Pesach, anything that is rauy l’achilas kelev (can be eaten by a dog) is considered chametz. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 442: 9) writes that once it becomes unfit, one may own it over Pesach. The Mishna Berura (442:43) qualifies this ruling: while one may own it, one is still forbidden to eat this inedible ‘food’ miderabanan (See Rosh, Pesachim 2:1).

How this rule applies to modern substances, however, doesn't seem without question. For instance, should one throw out Play-doh and similar products before Pesach? (For another decidedly modern application, see here.)

From the Play-doh website:

...it is primarily a mixture of water, salt and flour... It DOES contain wheat. Play-Doh compound is not a food item and is not intended to be eaten.

Play-Doh compound is non-toxic, non-irritating & non-allergenic except as noted: Children who are allergic to wheat gluten may have an allergic reaction to this product. Also, due to the high salt content in Play-Doh compound, the product can be harmful to pets if ingested.

(See also: https://www.google.com/patents/US6713624 )

Assuming it is basically flour, water, salt, and coloring, is it considered chametz or taarovet-chametz and is it considered ra'uy l'achilat kelev. More specifically, does rauy l'achilat kelev mean that something would typically be used as dog food, or that it is non-toxic and has nutritive value and a dog would eat it? (I've so far found random sites on the internet that claim both ways, but was curious if anyone's come across a more definitive ruling with sources and/or explanations both for the general rule and the particular example of Play-doh.)

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  • My sense is that Rabbi Y.D. Soloveitchik, z"l, would have been meikil: etzion.org.il/vbm/archive/yomyom/o/o14.php
    – Loewian
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 1:46
  • 1
    We've always sold Play-Doh with the chametz, and have thrown out Play-Doh that we found lying around after Pesach. No source for this though.
    – Scimonster
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 8:09
  • A disclaimer "can be toxic", I think needs to be quantified. It depends who stated this and how they determined it. If 10 vets did a thorough study and discovered that of 100 dogs who ate playdoh 60 dogs got sick or died, that sounds like it would not be fit for a dog. It's similar to the disclaimner published by drug cos. They legally have to tell you it could cause death, but since the percentage is small, they're marketing it. Therefore, it's technically non-lethal.
    – DanF
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 13:34
  • @DanF That's assuming "eino ra'uy l'achilas kelev" means toxic. My understanding was that it more likely meant "isn't meant as dog food" even if it's completely non-toxic. If you have a good source (either way) please post.
    – Loewian
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 15:22
  • @DanF (also, I think you're stats are a bit inflated. I wouldn't want to feed a dog poison even if there was only a 5% chance it would result in sickness/death.)
    – Loewian
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 15:24

1 Answer 1

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Rabbi Yitzchak Twersky from the OU says that play-doh does not have to be sold.

Cosmetics, lotions and inedible items such as non-chewable pills and Play-Doh need not be sold

CRC-Chicago recording 1 & CRC-Chicago recording 2 by Rabbi Dovid Cohen says that play-doh is not rauy l’achilas kelev based on people who tasted it. It includes copious amounts of salt and kerosene in it. It would also be considered Chometz Nuksha.

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  • 1
    Interesting. Kerosene in play-doh?? And there's no flammable warning? I'll have to do an experiment on this next time I do Havdalah. Poor Mr. Bill :-o
    – DanF
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 15:36
  • See: failedsuccess.com/index.php?/weblog/comments/playdoh_history where it says "However, it is known to contain, among other things, wheat flour, water, salt, and some sort of petroleum distillate." Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 15:48
  • See also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3APlay-Doh where it says "No, it's a petroleum distillate all right. That's what gives Play-Doh its characteristic smell. The amount used is small enough that Play-Doh is non-toxic (not sure it would be considered "food grade," but Play-Doh isn't food, and presumably doesn't have to meet the requirements of food -- simply has to be nontoxic as some kids certainly do ingest it in small amounts)" Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 15:49
  • @GershonGold Technically, it seems Swedish Fish may contain the same ingredient: web.archive.org/web/20121019073221/http://swedishfish.com/…
    – Loewian
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 17:33
  • OU seems to have changed their mind (or the recipe changed) and now say it's chametz gamur: "Rav Belsky (Shulchan HaLevi 12:9) ruled that Play-Doh should be considered actual chametz. Even though Play-Doh includes chemical dyes and preservatives, it is non-toxic and is still considered edible. While bread baked from this dough might not be tasty, it would still be classified as food. Play-Doh should either be discarded before Pesach or sold with one’s chametz." outorah.org/p/60456
    – Loewian
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 23:59

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