BUG-WAR: Kashruth Agencies Slug It Out Over ‘Chasalat-Alei Katif’ Lettuce [UPDATED WITH ADDITIONAL LETTERS]

(Thursday, March 21st, 2013)

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOn Wednesday, YWN published a press release from the STAR-K which stated that they tested “Chasalat Alei Katif” Romaine Lettuce from Israel and have found thrips to be present similar to regular Romaine Lettuce heads purchased in the marketplace.

The STAR-K proceeded to give instructions on how to properly wash lettuce to ensure there are no bugs.

For the sake of accuracy, please see the following two letters posted below, from the KAJ, and from the Chasalat-Alei Katif company, which state that there is no problem with the lettuce, and that it needs no checking.

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Please note that YWN is in no way affiliated with the company, or any of the Kashrus agencies, and advises our readership to speak with your Rov to decide what should be done in your home.


kajnThe following is a letter from K’hal Adath Jeshurun, (Click on image to enlarge original):
10 Nissan, 5773

This is to confirm that vegetables and herbs marketed under the brand name “Chaslat – Alei-Katif” are under our hashgocho and supervised by our mashgichim in accordance with instructions issued by agricultural expert advisors. This year’s products are the same as those produced and sold in prior years.

Our Hashgcha is responsible for ascertaining that there is no infestation in the product of the type which would not be removed by washing and rinsing.  Accordingly, the consumer should meticulously follow the instructions printed on the bag.

It should be noted that I, myself, will be using this product this Pesach, after following the instructions printed on the bag.

Under no circumstances should one purchase Romaine lettuce which does not have a reliable hashgocho.  It is almost impossible for Romaine lettuce not to have infestation of the type that does not come off with rinsing and washing.

We wish all a Kosher and Happy Pesach.

Rav Yisroel N. Mantel
Rav of K’hal Adath Jeshurun

P.S. Consumers should under no circumstances buy Romaine Lettuce which does not have a hashgohco. It is almost impossible for Romaine Lettuce not to have infestation of the type that do not come off with rinsing and washing, for which an expert in this particular field is needed to be able to find them.

י’ ניסן תשע”ג לפ”ק

הננו לאשר בזה כי הירקות הנמכרים תחת השם חסלט-עלי קטיף עומדים תחת השגחתנו בפיקוח משגיחים והדרכת מומחים, ושנה זו, כשנים הקודמות.

ההשגחה אחראית לוודא שלא יימצאו שום חרקים שאינם יורדים ע”י שטיפה ורחיצה במי-סבון, ולכן יש להקפיד בדייקנות על שמירת ההוראות הנדפסות על שקי האריזה.

למותר להגיד, שאנו כשלעצמנו נשתמש בעלי קטיף הנ”ל לחג הפסח הבע”ל אחר מילוי ההוראות שעל שקי האריזה. 

ובעה”ח בברכת חג כשר ושמח.

ישראל נ. הלוי מנטל

רב דק”ק קהל עדת ישורון 

נ.ב. אין לקנות בשום אופן Romaine Lettuce מן השוק, כי כמעט מן הנמנע הוא שלא יהיה עליהם חרקים שאינם יורדים ע”י שטיפה, וצריכים מומחיות יתירה לבודקם, ולכך צריכים מומחה הרגיל באומנות בדיקה זו

LondonBDThe following is a letter from the London Bais Din. (Click on image to enlarge original):

This product bears the Hechsher of the London Bais Din together with that if many other leading Kashrus authorities. Teh Hechsher testifies to the fact that the product does not require Bedikas Tolaim when washed in accordance with the instruction on the pack.

In response to claims that current batches do not reach the required standars, we have made extensive investgations and carried out careful examination of numerous samples, and can confirm that the product meets the high standards for which Chasalat Alei-Katif are renowned and following the appropiate rinsing can safely be used at the Seder ad throughout the year.

Dayan M. Gelley
Senior Dayan.

Alei KatifThe following is a letter from Alei Katif. (Click on image to enlarge original):

21.3.13

To whom it may concern.

All Chasalat-Alei Katif produce, from all packaging used for export shipments to teh U.S.A., England, and France this pesach are approved by the Eida Charadi of Jerusalem as attached approval.

Rabbi Moshe Baranes
Director of Kashrut Dept.
Chasalat-Alei Katif

badatzLetter from Badatz (Eidah Charedis). Click on image to enlarge it:

 

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11 Comments

  1. ysgib says:

    I’d hardly call those letters a “BUG WAR” and “Slug It Out”. They are clarifications which do not disagree with Star-K. I find the article headline to be exaggerating and misleading, as well as promoting machlokes and loshon hara. I think every write for YWN should be required to carefully learn the Chofetz Chaim with particular attention to all the Beir Mayim Chaim notes. You’ll think differently about writing such slanderous articles after learning it.

  2. akuperma says:

    Baruch ha-Shem that among ourselves we are arguing about bugs in lettuce, rather than something obscene like the Israeli government’s desires to oppress the poor or to try to keep people from learning Torah (or should we get into the virtues of the Iranians, Syrians and their ilk).

    It is a Kiddush ha-SHem that that Am ha-Torah get into passionate debates about such matters. We agonize more over the danger of eating a bug more than the goyim do over killing thousands of people.

  3. Not getting involved says:

    This really shines a light on the confusion as to which Hecsher is serious and which are FRAUDS, just there to pick up a check! Remember last years “Shaimos truck” fiasco, allegedly under a “reliable” Hechsher? Remember the Treifa hotdog story in Boro Park, under a “reliable” Hechsher, a few years ago? There is a lot of fraud & fakery in the Kashrus world which is being covered up.

    I would like to know what Rabbi Veigh, a known insect in vegetables expert, has to say about this.

  4. Imanonov says:

    I find it interesting that Star-K does not seem to give any alert or warning on their own website!

  5. koshervyosher says:

    In a Letter from Rav AHaron Goldmintzer Shlit”a AB”D Skver Beis Din One of the Hechsherim of Chasalat they advise checking as well

  6. heythere says:

    It’s interesting the Star k is actually a lot more Maikel then most Kashrus organizations when it comes to the amount of bugs it’s aloud to have. The Halacha is, that it’s ok if it’s less then a Miut Hamutzoi which the Achronim (Al Pi the mishkinos Yakov) assume is 10%. Most Kashruth organizations go with R’ Shlomo Zalman Zt”l Psak (brought in Rabii Via’s Sefer) that it has to be 10% of the size that it’s being sold as, meaning in this case it has to be that less than 10% of the bags being sold are infested. The star k however holds it goes by serving size, so as long as less then 10% of the serving size of salad has bugs it’s fine. It’s interesting that in this case they are being more Machmir?

  7. Savlanut says:

    Ysgib. I found the headline to be rather witty considering the content. And certainly both sides of an an argument should be allowed should be allowed to be represented. I would not have known that I needed to ask my Rav on this matter were it not for these articles. #pun alert# My recommendation would be to errr… take a leaf out of akuperma’s reaction, carefully check for the good in people, stop wineing so much and have a wonderful bug-free Pessach.

  8. torahwriter says:

    Chaslat originated bug free green vegetables. They worked together with Rav Yoel Schwartz from day one. One demand Rav Schwartz made was that they are not to increase pesticides over what is accepted in ordinary greens. There are many other companies that do use overly high amounts of pesticides, Rav Amar recently recommended that people avoid bug free greens because chamira sakanto maissura. Thanks to Rav Schwartz, Chaslat should be fine.
    Re the infestation, according to Rav Schwartz, he discussed this with the company, they checked hundreds of bags the past few days and found them all clean, and therefore came to a conclusion that there was a company error and somehow, some low quality heads made it into the the packaging containing high quality hashgochos.
    According to Rav Yitzchok Rubin in Har Nof, the way the company works is that they try very hard to have high quality clean greens, but are not always successful, and they divide the lettuce into several qualities, the highest quality gets aida charaidis which are the most machmir regarding miut hamotzui, next quality gets some of the other mehudar hashgochos, and lower quality gets non mehadrin hashgochos.
    And so, because of human error, some lower quality lettuce seem to have made it into the highest quality bags.
    This is what I understand after speaking to several rabonim.
    Chag kosher vsomeach.
    Ephraim Stein

  9. koshervyosher says:

    Online star-k’s bug policy seems no bugs in check at all not 10% I called they said the same thing they fail anything that they find bugs in

  10. the cheif says:

    We have been checking romaine lettuce on a electric light box for years,I am sorry to say the rabbi mantel’s concluding remarks on unsupervised romaine lettuce is totally incorrect.At certain times of the year and/or from local small farms the lettuce can be very infested.However,most of the year commercial romaine HEARTS are totally bug free.[unless, Rabbi Mantel was referring to regular lettuce not the hearts,with these we have no experience.

  11. koshervyosher says:

    Checked 40 of these chasalat heads today. there were the kind WITHOUT THE english and american hechsherim that the STAR-K found in Baltimore. They were majorly infested and disgusting. Forget about the Yoreh daya. KAJ What about the Choshen Mishpat!!!

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