September 20, 2010

Latest Item for Kosher Kitchens: A Light Box to Check for Insects

Brooklyn…A newlywed couple received a light box as a wedding gift in what many electronic retailers here say is becoming a common occurrence. Although kosher consumers have a plethora of pre-checked and pre-washed products, some would rather make their own salads by using the light boxes to check for insects, which kashrus agencies say continues to plague many produce items. Once thought only to be a problem for lettuce, the infestation appears to be spreading. Recently, the Va’ad HaKashrus of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway, headed by Rabbi Yosef Eisen, issued a warning: “Please be advised that there is a report of very high infestation in fresh red cabbage. The small white insects can only be detected if the cabbage is opened on top of a light box. This is extremely tedious and impractical. The following sources are acceptable to be used: Bodek Cabbage Postiv Cabbage, Dole Red Cabbage with the Star–K, and Dole Red Cabbage with a KAJ sticker.” Annie, a Flatbush resident, usually buys the Bodek products, but of late prefers to be using Andy Boy romaine lettuce which she laces on a light box at home to check for bugs. Kashrus agencies have offered courses for women who are willing to put up with the tedious process of hand-checking and washing the lettuce. One rabbi told Kosher Today that “checking and washing vegetables is becoming part of the routine for kosher housewives everywhere. The steps taken to avoid the bugs are not necessarily hygienic but to stay away from the prohibition by Jewish law. For houseware stores, the light boxes are the newest item in the kosher kitchen just like the many products now available for the Shabbat.