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Chicago Rabbinical Council
Fruit and Vegetable Policy

March 2018

 

Following the link below you will find the current cRc position on the proper checking and use of various fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables purchased in the United States.  Infestation levels change due to seasons, growing environments, global imports, and other factors, and therefore the cRc constantly reviews its policies and cleaning methodologies, and the instructions noted below represent the most updated information as of the printing of this book.  It is difficult to cover all the different varieties, so if you want to use a product which is not found on this list, please call the cRc office at (773) 465-3900.

A word of caution:  This guide is primarily directed towards those experienced in the inspection of produce for insects. If you have never done so in the past, the cRc does not recommend that you start on your own by just reading the guide and policy. Rather, wait until you’ve been given some hands-on direction and become experienced enough and capable to do so. Furthermore, the actual insects may not be what you are expecting. They are not simple flies, roaches or spiders. Most of them are small and hard to find right away due to their size and color, but nevertheless forbidden to consume. For those “first-timers” we do offer an alternative method to clean leafy vegetables which is listed under “alternate method if no thrip-cloth is available”.
When we refer to a cRc cleaning thrip-cloth method the following procedure should be followed:

Thrip-cloth Method (using a silk cloth) for lettuce (romaine, etc.):

You will need a large bowl, dish soap, 2 strainers, a thrip-cloth, and a light box.

  1. Separate the leaves and place them into a bowl of water.
  2. Put enough dish soap (a good choice would be Seventh Generation 0% fragrance) or kosher vegetable wash into the bowl until the water and leaves become somewhat slippery.
  3. Agitate and soak the leaves in the soapy water for 1- 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the leaves from the bowl, and discard the water.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4. Alternatively (instead of repeating steps 2-4) one can wash each leaf under running water (both sides) and then place leaves into a new bowl of soapy water.
  6. Remove leaves and pour the water through a thrip-cloth (fine silk cloth that can be purchased from the cRc) that is sandwiched between 2 strainers.
  7. Check the cloth carefully on top of a light box or similar apparatus. If a bug is found, repeat. If no bugs are found, rinse and enjoy

Alternate Method if no thrip-cloth is available:

For large leafy vegetables:  Separate leaves. Soak and agitate in soapy water. Gently rub a sponge over the entirety of each side of every leaf making sure to open all folds of the leaf. Rinse both sides of each leaf under running water. No further checking is required.
For small leaf vegetables such as parsley, cilantro and other herbs: Follow steps 2-5 of the thrip-cloth cleaning method. One may then check the water using a clear basin in bright light very carefully for insects. (Please note that a lot of time is needed when checking the water as the insects will be harder to see when floating in water). If there are insects found in the water, the process should be repeated until no insects are found in the water. Then three samples or batches of the vegetable must be checked and if no bugs are found, the remaining produce may be used without further checking. 

Please note that we do not recommend the use of salt water or vinegar to properly remove insects from fruits and vegetables.  Another important point is that many times one comes across a fruit or vegetable that is unusually infested with insects. This is especially true with most organic produce. If left with no choice, the only way organic or highly infested produce can be consumed is if the above mentioned “thrip-cloth method” is used and repeated until the produce is clean. If after three times there are still bugs on the cloth, either throw out the batch, or continue the thrip cloth method until you have clean cloths twice in a row.   Finally, when discussing bagged lettuces below we are not recommending them for the Pesach season where there is an additional concern of non-Pesach ingredients used in the wash.

- Click here to view the current cRc Fruit & Vegetable Policy
- Click here to read " A Guide to Checking Fruits and Vegetables" by Rabbi Yisroel Langer, cRc Tolayim Expert



 

 

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