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Insects and Bug Issues


1. Am I permitted to eat the pre-cut lettuce/salads which Star-K certifies without further washing/examination for bugs? In other words, can I just eat it directly out of the bag?

2. Do raw vegetables require kosher certification?

3. Are locusts kosher?

4. Do I have to check raw grains for insects?

5. How do I to check fresh broccoli for bugs. What about the broccoli slaws?

6. Are alfalfa sprouts and artichokes free of bugs or do they require checking?


1. Am I permitted to eat the pre-cut lettuce/salads which Star-K certifies without further washing/examination for bugs? In other words, can I just eat it directly out of the bag?

If the salad bag has a reliable kosher certification on the package, then the salad may be eaten directly from the bag. Please note that the kosher symbol is usually included in the date code stamped on the bag. At times the kosher symbol is left off due to insect infestation of the salad.

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2. Do raw vegetables require kosher certification?
In brief, raw vegetables are kosher as long as:
  1. they do not have insects (see vegetable checking list); and
  2. they are grown outside of Israel. Israeli grown produce needs special supervision due to its holy status and tithing requirements. (See Terumos and Ma'asros article.)

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3. Are Locusts kosher?

The Torah states that certain types of grasshoppers are kosher. However, we no longer have the ability to identify which type is kosher. Therefore, we refrain from eating all grasshoppers.

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4. Do I have to check raw grains for insects?

Currently (6/06), Star-K policy is that one need not check for insects in raw grains, provided the grains are produced in the USA and marketed by a national company. These are high quality grains, and the turnover should be sufficient to reduce the risk of infestation.

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5. How do I to check fresh broccoli for bugs.  What about the broccoli slaws?

Please see here http://www.star-k.org/cons-appr-vegetables.htm
for our vegetable checking list. Broccoli slaw that is only broccoli stem pieces does not require checking.

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6. Are alfalfa sprouts and artichokes free of bugs or do they require checking?


Alfalfa sprouts are generally bug-free and need no checking. Artichokes are very often infested and the insects are quite difficult to see. The only way to eat them would be to pull off each raw leaf and wash it while rubbing vigorously under a stream of water to remove any insects. Click here for further vegetable checking information.
 

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