Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Adar II 5763 - March 5, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Current Findings Regarding Bug Infestation
by Devorah Plaut and Ruth Levy

From time to time, conditions change in the world of food infestation -- foods that used to be free of bugs and did not require checking became host to insects, or vice versa. Or existing conditions that we were not aware of come to light (as happened in the case of mushrooms from China, about a year and a half ago).

In an effort to keep our readers up to date, we are presenting this update, based on conversations with Rav Moshe Vaye. Much of the information applies only in Eretz Yisroel. However, point #5 (and possibly point #3) will interest readers in other countries as well.

I. Citrus fruits

This winter, there have been many reports of finding worms in citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit) in Israel. Lemons and pomellas are no problem. Therefore in addition to the usual checking for scale insects on the outside peel, one should check the above fruits for internal infestation as well. This can be done effectively as follows:


1. Peel off the outer rind (the orange part of the orange rind, the yellow part of the grapefruits), leaving the white pith intact. (Using a vegetable peeler facilitates this.) Then look over the remaining smooth white surface, looking for the point where the fruit fly injected its egg sac into the fruit -- either a hole or a dark point. If this is found, cut into the fruit at that spot and check for worms inside the fruit there.


2. Remove the peel (orange and white pith together) bit by bit and check the inside white surface of each piece of peel as it is removed. This way, you can locate the exact point of possible worm infestation. Then do as above -- cut into fruit, etc. For tangerines, this is the only practical method.

3. For juicing -- pour the juice of each fruit into a clear glass and check for worms floating.

4. The method of checking a sampling by juicing is only effective if all the oranges are from the same orchard. If the oranges are bought in a store, they are probably from several different orchards, and so each orange has to be checked individually.

II. Onions

At this season, the onions on the market in Israel are storage onions. Therefore Rav Vaye instructed to treat all onions as soft -- which means -- separate and check each layer with through-lighting on both sides or wash each layer under a strong stream of water while rubbing both sides with your hand. The problem will probably continue at least until Pesach, and maybe through Pesach. If the store is selling top- quality onions, such as imports, where all are very firm, you can forgo cleaning each layer. Do as Rav Vaye instructed for firm onions.

III. Sifters

The requirements for flour sifters have been eased. Rav Vaye said that a count of 70 holes per inch in one direction is enough for a sifter to qualify as a "Bnei Brak sifter", even if in the other direction there are fewer holes per inch (e.g. 72x68 or even 70x68 is O.K.).

IV. Corn on the cob

This year, for the first time, specially-grown bug- free corn on the cob was grown in hothouses in Gush Katif. Rav Vaye checked a large sample of this corn and did not find any infestation. He has given his approval to use it as is. Time to dig up those corn-holders!

V. Oats

Infestation has been found in several samples of Mornflake oats from England (sold in a yellow can). A can from May 2002 had bugs in it, as well as cans with later dates. These oats can no longer be used without checking. The Quaker oats in cans from Holland are still O.K.


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