Photo Credit: Orthodox Union (OU)
Rabbi checks for bugs in vegetables.

The majority of fruits and vegetables are now suspect for infestation, according to rabbinic authorities.

Rabbis are finding the tiny bugs in previously “clean” fruits and vegetables under the microscope, and the (Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc website notes that it “is continuing conducting an intense review of its policy regarding insect infestation in fruits and vegetables.”

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The rabbis note that the insects can be removed with proper cleaning but add that most people simply do not have the knowledge to do such a proper cleaning. Bug checking has become a major topic for seminars for rabbis and kosher supervisors as well as ordinary consumers.

The cRc wants to keep customers away from that task. “Many times one comes across a fruit or vegetable that is highly infested with insect,” they said. “This is especially true with some organic produce. In such a case, one should not attempt to try and check and remove the insects and the produce should not be used. This is due to the fact that you are highly unlikely to properly check and remove all of the insects.”

A Montreal kosher supervisor Montreal recently issued a “kashrus alert” about strawberries that were found to contain bugs.

However, kosher agencies offer advice on how to cut the suspected fruit or vegetable and how to properly rinse. For those in kosher food service this can create havoc in a business.

“Imagine ordering a large quantity of a fruit or vegetable only to be told by the rabbi that I cannot use it because my agency just sent out an alert about it,” one caterer said.

A major kosher supermarket said it had to discontinue some salads when such notices were received by their rabbi. Some vegetables have become no-nos as rabbis say they cannot be checked.

A good example is artichokes, which the rabbis say cannot be properly checked for insects and are not recommended. Fresh artichoke bottoms may be used after a general inspection to rule out obvious infestation. Canned artichoke bottoms are acceptable only with a reliable approval from a kosher agency.

Frozen artichoke bottoms may be used if there are no added kosher sensitive ingredients. When asked for their reaction, some rabbis simply said that when pesticides are no longer used, it is no mystery why the bugs thrive.

Consuming bugs is against Jewish law.

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44 COMMENTS

  1. This is complete idiocy, no one Can avoid eating small amounts of bugs. They are In the water, in the food, and even enter our mouths inadvertently, and becomes eaten, without us noticing it. They are In the air, and In youre sheets. Lack of vegetables In the western diet, is the number one cause of disease in the World, bigger than malaria and tb. If you cant se the bugs, the amount is to small to count!

  2. What I don’t understand – if it not visible to the naked eye, we have been told there is no problem. So if it requires a microscope to see the bug, isn’t this taking it a step to far? Maybe we shouldn’t eat anything because every food has tiny micro-organisms on it that are also visible under a microscope.

  3. This article reads like it was written by a child. How does this newspaper expect any respect for itself or the subject matter if it publishes such vague dreck?

  4. Excellent article and it makes a reasonable assumption at the end. My point is that if it requires a microscope to see the bugs, it is still kosher. However, I agree 100% it has to be washed and checked first.

  5. I find the comment of Tibor Fuchs silly as this is obviously an introductory article for those who don’t already know about this or to give a ‘heads-up’ about the fact that more fruits and veges are at risk than we thought. Your Rabbi can lead you to more info on the topic I a m sure.
    What I wonder is why abusive comments like Robert McNamera’s or Frank L Cris’s get past the Jewish Post; they obviously violate your rules.

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