By Mordi Joseph posted February 07, 2020
INSECT INFESTATION ALERT
Please note that we have received reports of a recent increase in insect infestation in various vegetables - probably due to the recent hot weather.
Therefore, it is advised that Kosher consumers be extra vigilant whilst checking vegetables for infestation before use. When following the recommended methods for checking for infestation which are found in the Kosher Australia Food Guide and on the App (under ‘vegetables’), consumers should take extra care due to the current infestation.
In particular we have received reports concerning the current infestation of STRAWBERRIES.
If consumers wish to use strawberries at this time, they should ensure that the strawberries be checked extra carefully in the following recommended manner:
a) Remove any obviously rotten strawberries and do not use them. If there is a partially damaged part carefully cut away that part. Deep creases or crevasses in the surface that cannot be examined properly inside should also be cut away.
b) Cut off the top green stem together with a little of the actual strawberry.
c) If there are any obvious worm holes seen then that strawberry should be cut in half and checked in the centre for small white worms or other infestation.
d) Rinse the strawberries under running water then place them in a bowl of water. It is recommended to add a few drops of liquid kosher detergent to the water. Allow them to soak for about three minutes and gently agitate them in the water.
e) Remove the strawberries from the water and carefully check the water in good light for any sign of insects or small worms (It is highly recommended to use a white bowl to assist in this inspection). It is not required to use a magnifying glass to examine every dot in the water. Small dots that cannot be recognised as an insect by careful examination with the naked eye can be ignored (check for legs, wings, antennae etc). If however they are seen to be moving then they are considered as significant and must be treated as a problematic infestation even if not actually recognisable as an insect.
f) If infestation is noticed in the water then discard that water, refill the bowl and repeat steps d) and e) above and continue to do so until the rinse water remains completely clear of insects. If after three rinses the water is not clear of insects then the strawberries should not be used and should be discarded.
g) Once the water test proves positive, rinse the strawberries under a strong jet of water from the tap while gently but carefully rubbing the surface with thumb and fingers (or a soft brush).
h) The strawberries may then be used. (However it is recommended to briefly check the surface of the strawberries one final time after the final rinsing. If anything problematic is seen during this final visual check then rinse that area under running water until clean).
Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick