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
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
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
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
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!
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.