June 4, 2018

Kosher Consumers Eating Healthier Leading to More Checking for Insects

Chicago…Kashrus agencies have significantly stepped up their game in checking vegetables for insects in kosher food establishments. The Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc) recently marked the first year of having a rabbinic coordinator on staff specializing in checking vegetables for insects. “It is a sign of the times in keeping up with the ever-changing kashrus standards,” said Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, Kashrus Administrator for the cRc. The cRc hired Rabbi Langer to exclusively focus on checking for insects. His job includes training and re-training mashgichim (kosher supervisors), visiting foodservice locations and rechecking samples of mashgichim’s checked produce, communicating with other experts in the industry, leading seminars in the community, and being a resource and help for other Vaadim.

Rabbi Moshe Elefant, the COO of OU Kashrus, ascribed the increased need for inspection “to the lifestyle of the kosher consumer.” He explained: “We live in a time when more people are eating healthier and hence a significant increase in vegetable consumption.” The OU conducts various training sessions to educate mashgichim as well as does its own periodic inspections to assure that the washing of vegetables is done properly.” Most kashrus agencies seem to follow this model and are generally skittish about using certain heavily infested vegetables such as blackberries. They are also wary about food establishments that don’t follow procedures, “so much so that they may lose their certification,” says Rabbi Elefant. Most rabbis would like to see food establishment use pre-washed vegetables but that can add significantly to the cost.