As many of our readers know, the Church of the Eternal God and its affiliates, the Global Church of God in the UK and the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada, as well as the Kirche des Ewigen Gottes in Germany, observe the annual Festival of the Days of Unleavened Bread. God commands us that during the seven days of that Festival, all leavened products have to be removed from our houses, and that only unleavened products are to be consumed during that time.
We explain in our Statements of Beliefs that we observe “The Days of Unleavened Bread once a year by not partaking of any food prepared with leaven for a period of seven days following the Passover. The partaking of the unleavened bread symbolizes the commitment to live a sinless life (Leviticus 23:6-8; Acts 20:6; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8).”
For a general overview as to this Festival, please read our Q&A, which asks and answers the question: “Exodus 12:18, among other Scriptures, commands us to eat unleavened bread for seven days. Is this command still valid today? If so, how is it to be applied?”
As the Question in this particular Q&A suggests, new people who become acquainted with this Festival and want to obey God’s injunction, might not have yet a clear understanding as to what constitutes leavened products, which need to be removed and avoided during the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread.
In a previous Q&A, we discussed, in general terms, what constitutes leaven, and we addressed some specific areas, such as beer or toothpaste. We also addressed some areas where the understanding of the Jews differs from the understanding that God reveals in His Word.
That particular Q&A asked and answered the question: “We are commanded in the Bible to remove all leaven from our houses during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Is it true that your understanding and the understanding of the Jews are different, as to what constitutes leaven that needs to be removed? If so, could you explain your position and the reasons for it?”
Please make sure that you read or re-read that Q&A in conjunction with the material that is presented herein.
In addition, we are now providing you with a list as to what constitutes leaven which should be removed from our houses and which should not be partaken of during that time. Although quite thorough, we still would like to mention that this list must be viewed with caution; that is, it is critically important that one looks at the ingredients of each product.
For instance, just because the word “puff” or “puffed” is in the label (for instance, “puff pastry”) does not necessarily mean that the product is leavened. In the USA, there are normally four main ingredients in puff pastry: flour, butter, salt, and water; that is, it would contain no leaven. However, in the UK, “puff pastry” DOES include leaven, as reflected on the label, which means that it must be avoided. In any case, even in the USA, labels need to be checked to ascertain whether the product contains leaven.
Some pie crusts are unleavened, but one needs to be careful here, because most crusts do have leaven in them. We are informed that Marie Calendar’s does not have leavening in their crusts. Again, it is important that the labels are carefully reviewed to ascertain what the products contain.
The following lists items which contain Baking Powder and/or Baking Soda (or Sodium Bicarbonate) and/or YEAST and/or Baker’s Yeast. All of these need to be avoided during the Days of Unleavened Bread:
Crackers; Bread; Bagels; Muffins; Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns; Garlic Bread; Baguettes; Cheese Straws; Sausage Rolls; Corn Dogs; Sour Dough; Biscuits; Pretzel; (some) Cereals; Cheese Puffs; Cake; Pastry; (some) Pies; Cookies; Ice Cream Cones and Wafers; (some) Ice Cream with added Cookies; Pancakes; Waffles; Puff Pastry [in the UK, see comments above]; Self-Rising Flour; Graham Crackers; Bread Crumbs; Deep-Fried Chicken; Anything battered, i.e., Onion Rings or Fish; Croutons; Flour Tortillas; Burritos; Soft Tacos; Kit Kat; Wafer Biscuits; (some) Candy; (some) Candy Bars; Chinese Orange Chicken; Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Breaded Chicken; (some) Cereal Bars; Granola Bars; and (most) Bacon Bits.
Note that in the UK, the reference to “bacon” in “bacon bits” is understood as meaning pork. Of course, pork must not be eaten at any time. In the USA, the reference to “bacon” can also apply to beef and to turkey. But “beef bacon bits” or “turkey bacon bits” must not be consumed during the Days of Unleavened Bread, when they contain leaven (as distinguished from “autolysis yeast,” which is not a leavening agent, and therefore appropriate for consumption, see below).
Also, we need to point out that many restaurants have leavening in unsuspected products, for instance in meat. Most of this information is readily available online. For instance, in checking the ingredient statement on Taco Bell’s website, we are informed that in addition to the more obvious items (such as flatbread or chalupa flatbread), their chili and their “seasoned ground beef” contain yeast (which is to be avoided during the Days of Unleavened Bread).
On the other hand, products which contain Yeast Extract [as distinguished from Yeast] (for instance in soups), or “Autolyzed Yeast” or “Deactivated Yeast” are fine (these are not leavening agents, as they provide no fermentation activity. For instance, Deactivated Yeast is strictly designed to be used as a reducing agent for increased extensibility). In addition, Corn Tortillas are fine as well. Also exempt from the injunction to remove items from our houses during the Days of Unleavened Bread are those products which are not used for human consumption, such as dog or cat food, fire extinguishers and toothpaste; or beverages, such as beer.
We hope this list will be of assistance. We cannot overemphasize, however, that it is important to read the labels for the ingredients of each product. When in doubt, we should abstain from eating the item during the Days of Unleavened Bread, for “he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).