In Jewish Action (volume 70, no. 3) there is an informative article on kitniyot. Here is an excerpt from Page 74, paragraph titled KOSHER LEPESACH OILS: A SLIPPERY SLOPE
Q: I’ve heard that it is permissible to eat the oils of legumes on Pesach. Is this true?
A: “Some posekim such as the Maharsham… permit the oils of kitniyot (shemen kitniyot) on Pesach provided the the kitniyot did not come into contact with water and the oil was produced before Pesach. …. This leniency is not widely accepted; thus, the selection of Kosher for Pesach oils is quite limited. However, many posekim are lenient regarding cotton seed oil, since cotton is not an edible plant. The OU certifies cotton seed oil for Pesach.”
Let’s start with an observation. The rules pertaining to not eating kitniyot are not found in the Torah. Maran Joseph Caro, in the Shulchan Aruch, wrote that he found this custom to be a “minhag shtut (foolish custom).” According to almost every one the custom of not eating kitniyot is itself a chumra (a stricture), and not a mitzvah.
As a result, it seems to us that it is totally improper to refer to allowing mei kitniyot (allowing kitniyot derived oils) as a leniency. Not doing a chumra is not the same as a leniency. Second, most of us of a certain age recall that in years past, kitniyot derived oils were sold as KP oils, especially peanut oil.
The OU states, “This leniency is not widely accepted.” One wonders- how do they know that? Did they poll a scientifically acceptable number of people to find this out? What happened to make the OU change its own policy regarding mei kitniyot?
We have watched over the years as the various kashruth agencies have imposed stricture after stricture, often times in contradistinction to the Shulchan Aruch.
Perhaps the OU should have said, “We do not want to allow you to have kitniyot derived oils, so we are not going to certify them for Pesach. A number of years ago, a field rep for the OU wrote to us and said that the agencies do not make these sorts of policies; rather they are market driven.
A few years back we read an article wherein the OU congratulated themselves for transforming the kosher meat market to a glatt market. The article stated that they educated people as to the necessity of glatt (we still dispute their logic). Nu? The obvious question is why not teach people that they can use mei kitniyot?