Fresh from the Field: Staying Up To Date On Insect Checking/Bedikas Tolayim Part 1

Halachic issues of infestation in many of the fruits and vegetables that we consume are well known. Much has been written and said about these issues, albeit to various degrees of halachic stringency. This article will focus on the methods used to monitor this evolving industry. Doing so requires both monitoring of the various produce items, as well as keeping track of their sources on an ongoing basis. This is easier said than done! We will explore the challenges inherent in accomplishing these objectives and discuss some of the more recent items that have surfaced on the infestation radar screens.

The world of entomology is ever evolving. Chaza”l1 stress the importance of knowing the facts in each locale, as the variables that affect insects and infestation change constantly. It used to be that due to their short shelf-life, produce was mainly sourced locally. Knowing the infestation issues inherent in each location […]

Insect Checking Supplies


PLEASE NOTE: Amazon has incorrectly listed our Thrip Cloth, Loupe & Checking Guide Kit as “Kosher Vegetable Checking Cloth (Thrip Cloth).” When you place your order for this kit from Amazon, be assured that your order will include the complete kit as described below. The price is the same. We are working with Amazon to resolve the issue.

Thrip Cloth, Loupe & Checking Guide Kit


Local consumers may also purchase items from STAR-K and pick them up from our office in Baltimore.

Folding 25mm Loupe

LED light
40X magnification suitable for helping with bug checking
25mm precision ground lenses
Color corrected and optically corrected lenses for a non-distorted view
Made of plastic and chrome-plated metal with glass lenses
Includes storage case and battery.
The cost of the loupe is $7.50 + S&H

To order a loupe click here


Thrip Cloth (Shmatte Bedika) Tutorial

Instructions on Using a Kosher Vegetable Checking Cloth

Wash produce well. (Note: Use warm water for broccoli and cauliflower.)
Prepare a basin with water and a non-bleach and non-toxic dishwasher detergent solution. The water should feel slippery.
Agitate the produce in the solution for 15 seconds. (Note: For broccoli and cauliflower, soak for 30 seconds BEFORE agitating.)
Remove the produce from the basin and shake off excess water over the basin.
Pour water through the thrip cloth.
Check the thrip cloth over a light box for any insects.
If insects are found, repeat steps 1-6. This can be done up to three times. If insects are still found on the third try, the produce should not be used.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A THRIP CLOTH: Check the water for infestation by placing a white basin over a light box.


Fluorescent Light Box

fluorescent light
safe to use with wet produce

easy storage
adjustable brightness

Price: $69.99

Light boxes can be picked up at the STAR-K corporate offices, or shipped
for an additional $15.00 charge.

To order a light box click here


Why Check for Insects?

As we sit down to enjoy a crisp, green salad or prepare to garnish a dish with a fresh sprig of parsley, probably the last thing on our minds at that time is insects. But insects should actually be foremost on our minds, as the act of eating insects, as we shall explain here, violates a very serious set of prohibitions. Let’s start from the beginning.

The Torah expressly forbids Jews from eating insects (tolayim). In Leviticus 11:41, we are told, “And every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth is a detestable thing; it shall not be eaten.” Any food known to be subject to insect infestation, therefore, cannot be eaten until the insects have been removed.

But what if you’re not sure? What is the status of a food item that is only suspected of containing an insect? Are you obligated to check the item to determine the presence of an insect, or can […]