December 6, 2016

Bug Checking Requirement Does not Apply to all Fruits and Vegetables, Rabbis Say

Brooklyn - It didn’t take long for an ominous warning to spread: “Do not eat clementines; they are infested with bugs.” The warning was posted on social media and had many people wondering whether the requirement to check for bugs in many fruits and vegetables meant that “all” fruits and vegetables now had to be checked with the same kind of thoroughness as many common vegetables are. Rabbis and many ordinary kosher observing people are trained in bug-checking and cleaning. Rabbis reached by KosherToday agreed that while insect infestation was extremely common nowadays, it was not a universal requirement. Rabbi David Bistricer, a Rabbinic Coordinator at the OU, wrote in a recent edition The Daf Hakashrus of the OU that only fruits, vegetables and berries that have “a minimum rate of infestation of 10%” must be checked. The rabbi also said that “magnification is not required when checking” but “insects that cannot be properly identified whatsoever unless magnification is used, are permitted.” One rabbi told Kosher Today that “insect scares” are not uncommon. He recalled a similar scare for strawberries, which he said led to a recommendation to cut off the tops and rinsing the strawberries well. Some of the rabbis urged washing all fruits and vegetables even those that are not suspect for insects.