November 5, 2012

cRc Warns Against Insect Infestation in Barley

CHICAGO — Insect infestation in foods has become one of the leading concerns of kashrus agencies in recent years. What began as an issue in lettuce quickly spread to other vegetables and even to strawberries and raisins. But now the cRc is warning consumers and kashrus professionals about an unexpected increase of insects in barley.

Said the cRc: “After inspecting many pounds of barley from an assortment of manufacturers sold in the local Chicago area stores frequented by kosher consumers, we have discovered three distinct types of insects: a tan-colored worm, a black crawling insect, and a black fast-crawling insect with wings.” Each insect was approximately half as long as a barley kernel, and most could be seen crawling. Some packages of barley were completely free of insects and others were heavily infested. 

The infestation is not limited to Chicago and has also been reported in other communities. The cRc recommended that “during the months of November and December 2012 kosher consumers inspect their barley before using it, as per the following procedure: Place a small pile of barley – an ounce or two at a time – on a white plate or other surface.” They suggested using a finger or credit card to drag a small amount of barley away from the pile, spreading that barley in a single layer. “Visually inspect the spread-apart barley to be sure there are no insects between or under the kernels. Repeat the latter two steps until the entire pile has been checked.”