Since kosher law strictly prohibits the consumption of insects, OU Kosher is presented with the challenge of making sure that insect-prone fruits, vegetables, or berries are free of this concern. OU Kosher has made great strides in this area through several successful initiatives. As a result of these advances, many professionals in the field use OU Kosher as a valuable resource of both knowledge – and know-how.
Some of these accomplishments include:
- Developing comprehensive sampling standards for industrial productions
- Because it is practically impossible to check every leaf, OU Kosher has developed a sampling protocol to determine the likelihood of infestation in each batch. The sampling procedure is based on an algorithm that was developed and reviewed by professional statisticians. This has made it possible to provide certification of vegetable products that are handled on a large scale.
- Developing clear guidelines how to best check insect prone fruits, vegetables, and berries
OU Kosher has published a guide for cleaning and checking various kinds of produce. It is used as an instruction manual for Rabbinic Field Representatives around the world and has also proven to be an invaluable resource to consumers.
- Research and Development
Since infestation is seasonal, it can vary from year to year and from region to region. This means that although certain vegetables may require inspection beforehand in one area, it may not be the case in another. Furthermore, there can be fluctuations with one region from one season to the next. OU Kosher has invested resources to monitor possible trends within the industry.
- Providing consultations
Although it’s best left to the industry experts, such as agronomists and entomologists, to counsel companies how to best contain infestation, OU Kosher has also been able to provide practical guidance to companies. This is based on the wealth of experience and knowledge OU Kosher has collected throughout the years. Developing and maintaining close working relationships with companies and industry experts has proven invaluable with helping ensure a project’s success.
Infestation is not completely controllable; it can be limited, but not eliminated. Vegetables that are unlikely to contain insects may be considered kosher without checking them beforehand. However, vegetables that have an increased likelihood of containing insects must be inspected prior to use. Despite the associated costs of supervision without a guaranteed outcome, OU Kosher has successfully given certification to sensitive vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, amongst others. Planning in advance makes OU Kosher certification a reality.
RABBI DAVID BISTRICER HAS SERVED AS OU KOSHER RABBINIC COORDINATOR FOR 15 YEARS.
SPECIALIZING IN THE VEGETABLE INDUSTRY, HE HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN NUMEROUS PROJECTS TO ENSURE KOSHER “BUG-FREE” PRODUCE. IN ADDITION, HE EDITED OU KOSHER’S MANUAL FOR CHECKING FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.