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Is Quinoa kosher?

The Times reports. You decide:

Tasty, gluten-free, protein-rich — and, by many accounts, kosher for Seders lacking in carbohydrate variety — [quinoa] has become a staple of Passover cookbooks. Gourmet magazine hailed it in 2008 as the new “belle of the Passover ball.”

If only life were so simple.

As with most matters under the purview of Jewish law — from how to turn on the lights during the Sabbath, to what kind of cough syrup is certified kosher — a debate has emerged among rabbinical experts about quinoa’s bona fides as a kosher alternative to leavened-grain products like bread. And this has led to confusion and concern in many Passover kitchens around the country on the eve of the holiday, which begins on Monday evening.

“I went to hear two rabbis discussing the quinoa situation at my synagogue last week,” said Arlene J. Mathes-Scharf, a food scientist in Sharon, Mass... “They had basically the same information, but they came to opposite conclusions,” Ms. Mathes-Scharf said. “Typical...”

There are two camps on quinoa: rabbis who say it is fine, and those who regard it as suspect. But both agree that its suitability for Passover depends on how the crop is harvested and shipped.

A definitive answer is not likely to be reached until a rabbi can be dispatched to a remote mountain region of Bolivia to inspect certain quinoa operations...

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