ALERT – Kashruth Organizations Warn About Worldwide Infestation Of Raisins


raisins.jpgThe KAJ Hashgocho has released a letter on Wednesday warning people of a bug infestation in all raisins, and therefore may not be used. Additionally, the Nirbater Rov released a letter last week which warned people about the “worldwide” bug infestation in all raisins.

The Nirbater Rov wrote that consumers who purchased “Mishpacha” brand raisins, may return the product to the store at which they purchased it for a full refund.

kajr.jpg(Click on image to ENLARGE letter) The following is the text of today’s KAJ Kashruth alert:

Due to bug infestation, no raisins of any brand or hashgocha may be used at the present time weather eaten plain or used in cooking or baking.

Any products that have already been baked or cooked with raisins may be used.

The Rabbinate is aware of the inconvenience involved. In the near future, raisins under our supervision will be checked for infestation and will be indicated as such. We anticipate that other hashgachos will be doing the same. The Rabbinate will notify the public when this has been achieved.

2 Shevat 5769
January 27,’09

NOTE: YWN is simply publicizing the above alert, and is no way stating Psak Halachah. We suggest that people consult with their local Rov regarding this issue.

(Berel Septimus – YWN)


  1. NOTE:#1 ,# 2 — YWN is simply publicizing the above alert, and is no way stating Psak Halachah. We suggest that people consult with their local Rov regarding this issue.

  2. PLEASE NOTE I AM NOT A RABBI so please don’t pasken from my post.

    To those who are asking about craisins: craisins are not made from grapes; they are made from CRANBERRIES. Why would you assume that they too are infested?

    (Also, once you are asking about craisins, you should also ask about prunes! :))

  3. How is it that there could be such infestation of bugs but the mashgichim did not pick up on this?

    This is the constant problem of hashgcha where you have kashrus organizations certifying plants on the basis that they are only making a kosher product and the second problem is mashgichim who do go to a factory but just stand there and not know what they are doing.

    Just to have frum person in a factory is not good enough. A good mashgiach KNOWS the potential problems in the company he is certifying or checking out.

  4. According reports from Chile and Argentina, raisins are insect free, furthermore USDA requires spraying some insectiside to avoid anything.

    The problem arises here in the USA how they are stored.

    An inspection by SAG & SENASA has revealed nothing being infested.

  5. This is obviously a storage issue, as grapes are not infested. Especially in Dole raisins (oven dried), there should be no reason for infestation, other than it happening later in storage.
    Think about it, a World Wide Epidemic does not make too much sense, a distributor storing multiple brands for a long time in an dumpy warwhouse, that makes more sense.

  6. When I called the Star-K on friday(1-23-09), they told me that “there was a problem with mishpacha, and if I wanted to use any other rasins, I should look at them(they didnt mention using a microscope etc), and then use them(this was a paraphrase)”

    this is 2 days after KAJ’s kashrus alert came out

  7. Here are some answers that might clear some of the previous posted questions:
    #1. The worms found in the raisins are the stage before they turn into flies (in this case fruit flies), they are coming from the fields not from sitting in the warehouse. Therfore, all companies have a problem (worldwide). The reason why we don’t find them in regular grapes is because for raisins they use all kinds of grapes no matter the quality (half rotten, etc.)
    #2. Craisins wasn’t found to be a problem.
    #3. Prunes are being checked now by experts in this field worldwide.
    #4. About the person complaining about the Mahsgichim not finding them, what are they doing in the plants, my comment is as follows;
    A. who found the problem if not Mashgichim???
    B. Lehalocho, something that is not known to be “Muchzak” or it’s not a “dovor Motzui” with bugs does not require a special inspection and this was the case till now. (of course it will be different in the future, due to the new findings)

    I hope this clarifies some of the issue mentioned.

  8. bugs in the water wasn’t big enough of a hit?
    So when is bodek coming out with “bug-free” raisins? I guess we all need ways to make a living these days. I have a kosher bridge for everyone to use.

  9. YeshivaRodefKesef,

    Do you really not care about worms in your raisins?

    Even if you have strong feelings regarding your conspiracy theory of “they’re pretending worms were found in order to begin marketing ‘kosher’ raisins”, would you check your raisins prior to consumption, or retain complete confidence that they are worm-free?

  10. 1st of all, the hashgacha agencies have always needed to certify raisins, because some of the raisins were sprayed with a mamosh treif spray. So, the mashgiach must check the chemical sprays, and make sure they are not changed, etc.

    Also, after awhile, when there is a cheskas kashrus, due to a system which is in place, and it has worked for a long time, we usually do NOT need a daily, full-time mashgiach in certain situations. A Mashgiach who is Yotzai V’Nichnas, and comes by at odd times, and checks the chemicals, and makes sure the procedures are in place is normally fine.

    Since Raisin infestation up until now has been a Miyut SheAino Motzui, thorough, complete, minute inspection of the raisins for infestation becomes halachakly unnecessary.

    However, once there became a situation where a newly discovered form of infestation WAS discovered, whether it was “always there” or only a new infestation due to insecticides no longer being effective, it is no longer a Miyut ShAino Motzui, and becomes a Miut SheMotzui, and thorough inspection becomes mandatory.

    Hence, Rav Teitelbaum did that inspection on Mishpacha raisins, the ones who DID pay him, the ones he already WAS giving a hechsher on, and he discovered they were infested.

    He did the right, and responsible thing, and announced that in response to his being told of a world-wide raisin infestation, he inspected and discovered that they were really ossur.

    So, no conspiracy here. He was forbidding ones who did pay (smile)

    The KAJ then followed up, and a week later issues the above letter, which has been confirmed as authentic, that ALL RAISINS ARE NOW OSSUR until further notice due to insect infestation.

    By the way, check the shelves, we have had KOSHER Raisins for many years. This is not a new thing. What is new is this problem, and the wonderful rabbonim have done the right thing and admitted that the problem exists EVEN ON THEIR OWN HASHGACHOS!

    My G-d, how much more honesty can anyone expect? Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Rabbi Teitelbaum for your alertness, and honesty in this matter.

  11. By the way, they may not have been noticed before, because they are tiny, not microscopic, they ARE visible to the naked eye, but they are tiny and appear to be just a dot of dirt. They are the larva stage of the critter.
    They CAN be on the grapes. Hint: Wash grapes thoroughly, and try to get grapes still on their stems.

  12. #11 – if you called the Star-K on Friday (as you said, 1/23) how was that 2 days after the KAJ alert that came out today? Yesterday, the Star-K was saying that they were looking into it, and will probably come out with a statement Wednesday or Thursday.

  13. I am hearing “chatter” that this was a very isolated incident where a distributor had problems which was NOT related to the larger raisin producers of the USA.

  14. “The KAJ Hashgocho has released a letter on Wednesday warning people of a bug infestation in all raisins”

    Does anyone know the name of the bug that has caused the problem?

  15. “Hence, Rav Teitelbaum did that inspection on Mishpacha raisins, the ones who DID pay him, the ones he already WAS giving a hechsher on, and he discovered they were infested.”

    No offense but what kind of hashgocha is this if people only do a recheck because somebody came running and said there could be a problem. if there was “HASHGOCHA” it would have been picked up by the mashgiach the first time around. Thios proves that a mashgiach was NOT there in a long time and whenver he was there did not look out for a bug issue because they did not know what they were doing. Relying on the past means nothing. When a mashgiach walks in the door they MUST look AND ASSUME there are problems and prove to themselves there are not and not the other way around.


    PS: I called a few companies yesterday and asked the last time a rabbi (mashgiach) was in the company to certify it’s kosher status and asked the last time there was a inspection and the answers were quite shocking. Most answers that I recieved was anywhere from a month ago to 6 months. I even had one person that said laughingly, and I will quote, “the rabbi (rabbi can mean anyone wearing a yarmulkeh)only comes in to pick up his check!

    I will not divulge which companies we called because we do not want to start an uproar or controversy or get into loshon hora.

    My point is that as consumers we better get our act together. We are being duped into thinking we are buying products that are “better” than others because there is 5 hechsherim on a label.

    Mashgichim MUST be trained properly and have the guts to write on a report when something is wrong even if it means there is a loss of a million dollars.
    One mashgiach told me that 6 years ago he was doing hashgocha on a certain company and found a major kashrus problem and confronted a different mashgiach who was doing the same hashgocha but for a different company and asked why he did not say anything. (The company was literally sticking in a treif ingredient.) The reply from the other mashgiach was shocking and the reply went like this:

    Your dealing with almost a million dollar loss and i was told to keep my mouth shut or else and I need this job…..

    I leave off by asking what will we answer after 120 years?

  16. Why can’t we have any standards in the kashrus world? The raisin controversy is beginning to border on Lo Tisgodidu!
    1) Infestation was found in at least three brands of raisins foreign and domestic. This makes raisins Muchzak L’Tolaim
    2) The infestation in foreign brands points to a global problem of epidemic proportions
    3) The fact the both domestic and foreign brands of raisins are infested indicates that it is not a problem with how the raisins were stored. If it was one batch that was affected you could infer that the batch was improperly stored, but three or more products across the world you cannot make this assumption
    4) Two major kashrus agencies, one in the US and one in Canada, came out with a psak not to consume raisins until the issue is resolved
    5) Other kashrus agencies maintain that raisin consumption is permitted with or without checking for bug.
    6) In some cases, the infestation was visible when opening the can. In other instances, the infestation was only visible when you opened the raisins and inspected as is the process with figs.

    We have a crisis on our hand! Millions of Yiddin across the world are eating tolaim! The proper response in situations like this is to forbid raisins immediately. Then all kashrus agencies must agree on standards for certifying raisin production and standards so that consumers can adequately spot check raisins. Note that a hechsher on dried fruit does not mean that the produce in insect free. It only means that no non-kosher ingredients were used in its production. The consumer must spot check all dried fruit for infestation. The same is true for fresh produce. Where do you think fruit flies come from? They come from small larvae on or in the fruit itself. All fresh fruit must be washed and carefully checked to remove these larvae and their eggs.



  17. Raisin infestation is confirmed by a prominent site
    dedicated to the production, transportation and storage of raisins!

    Raisins are extremely sensitive to contamination …
    Mite infestation may cause gastrointestinal conditions if the product is eaten.

    These mites are what were recently found in raisins. Avoid them like the plague, especially organic ones!

  18. TO #6 and 8 (who seem to know what they are talking about):
    If I understand you correctly, the tloim were not shoretz al hoaretz. Where is the issur? Pleas clarify as the information that you are sharing does put a completely new spin on this discussion.