What’s Bugging You?

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Fruit & Vegetables
14 Jun 2011

Rabbi David Bistricer is an OU Kosher Rabbinic Coordinator. To submit questions for future columns, please send them to KosherQ@ou.org, or call the Kosher Consumer Hotline, at 212-613-8241.

The prohibition of eating insects is very serious, as multiple Torah level transgressions are associated with consuming even a single insect.

Some examples of produce that are assumed not to require checking are fruits, such as apples or pears, or vegetables, such as potatoes and tomatoes. There are others; this isn’t an exhaustive list.

What is considered halachically significant or insignificant is a point of dispute. The underlying assumption is that in order to be considered significant, the occurrence must be consistent and expected. Rav Yaakov Karliner in Mishkenos Yaakov suggested that a chance of 10% or greater is considered significant. Other authorities take a more stringent approach and set the standard at an even lower rate of consistency.

In certain parts of the world, dry goods routinely develop storage pests and require checking.

A light box is intended to provide a good source of light to facilitate checking. It’s a useful tool that gives ample light, which is understandably important if you are looking for something. If a light box is not used, vegetable checking must be done carefully in a well-lit area.

There are books and manuals available about vegetable checking that can serve as excellent guides and are very helpful. The OU published a guide entitled, “The OU Guide to Checking Fruits, Vegetables and Berries.” The book may be obtained on the OU Press website, www.ou.org/oupress/category/1676, or by contacting the OU Kosher Consumer Hotline at 212- 613-8241.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.