Update On Alert Regarding Infested Raisins

16

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raisins1.jpgIn regards to the alert by the KAJ posted (HERE) on YWN two days ago, the following two statements were released by the OU and KAJ.

OU STATEMENT:

The OU has long maintained that raisins packed and stored under normal industry conditions do not pose a halachic infestation concern and may be consumed without further checking on the part of the consumer.

Recent public reporting of widespread infestation in packaged raisins has led the OU to reexamine its prior held position vis-à-vis raisins. Following careful investigation, extensive testing and consultation with our Halachic authorities, the OU upholds its original position that raisins, when stored under normal conditions (cool, dry and clean environments) do not require checking for the presence of worms or insects.  (עיין בטז יוד פד, יב)

Many food items, when packed or stored in warm, moist or unclean environments should be avoided until fully checked for the presence of insects, particularly when exhibiting telltale signs of infestation (webbing, insect feeding damage).

KAJ STATEMENT:

“While we stand behind the notice posted on the Internet, the notice was not meant for the public. It was meant to be posted in shul for the benifit of our members. Someone posted it on the Internet without asking us, which made it seem that it was our intention to publicize it.

Various brands of raisins were checked and found to be infested, including some originating from abroad. Our Rabbinate has spoken to experts in the field who have checked raisins here and abroad, including samples we sent them. Pursuant to these investigations and after discussing the matter with other Poskim, our Rabbinate decided that the problem is prevalent enough to warrant notifying our membership, as well as establishments under our supervision, that they refrain from using raisins until further notice.

I believe that in the future supervision on the production of raisins will -as a matter of course- include checking for infestation by many kashrus agencies. Given the recent publicity on the matter, it is likely that raisins will become standardized as an item checked for infestation in line with strawberries and vegetables which need checking, for instance.”

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.

(Source: Kashrut.com


16 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe someone can explain this to me, because I don’t think I quite understand. If a warning was posted in public using words like “infestation,” am I wrong to assume that this is quite alarming because this is a Doreisa, isn’t it? And why would an agency not want to warn brethren about being oivr on a Doreisa? It seems we need leadership on this issue, and loudly and quickly. Which seems awfully lacking in the community. What did they do in Europe, sift through everything or not? Aren’t there reasonable standards that both protect us from being oivr a Doreisa but don’t create hysteria and invented “on the fly” stringencies?

  2. KAJ doesn’t like the internet, and wants to limit notices to shuls. Do they realize that most shopping is done by women, and most women do not go to shul frequently enough to see a bulletin board. If this discussion was intended to be only for people in the kashrus business, it shouldn’t have been announced except in private letters, worded as a “Do we have a problem?”.

  3. to 6:
    KAJ is saying that the problem pertains only to raisins owned by members who read the bulletin.

    If you are a member who does not read the bulletin or if you are a non member reading the bulletin – don’t worry.

  4. according to an expert halachic authority(as most others agree too)on strawberries,you cannot eat them,unless the skins are COMPLETELY removed,or shaven. It is impossible to remove the worms from them. Even washing them and soaking them in dishwater detergent (which used to do the job) cannot remove the ticks.twerps from them,they are completely ingrained into the skin. Let the eater beware.

  5. before everyone continues to bash KAJ, remember that they had the foresight to leave rubashkin before all of the scandals started. Furthermore, as an individual organization KAJ can disseminate it’s advisories to whomever and however they choose. why all of a sudden must KAJ answer to the general public of which 90% don’t have the IQ to understand KAJ’s weltanschauung (by the way if you don’t understand the last word you probably fall in to the 90%).

  6. In this internet age, where anything and everything is thoroughly distorted and shown to all the world, I would like to thank YWN for not posting rumors and speculation regarding important halachic issues. Instead they posted the statements of the Kashrus organizations involved, with the all-important disclaimer “YWN … is [in] no way stating Psak Halachah. We suggest that people consult with their local Rov regarding this issue.”

  7. Please, show some respect & understanding, whatever happened to being “Don LeKaf Zechus”? The reality is that the matter is quite complex. Raisins come from many different locales and are processed in many different fashions. It is extremely negligent to automatically assume that batches of infested raisins in one area from certain packaging companies, means that all raisins from all areas and all companies are infested. Kashrus today is very complex as food comes from all around the world and in different ways. Moist, warm climates have a lot more infestation problems than cool, dry climates. Raisins from one may be a problem while raisins from the other may not be. It takes time to figure it all out and that’s why responsible Kashrus organizations work as hard as they do. Be patient, follow your trusted Kashrus organizations recommendations and in time this will be clarified and addressed.

  8. Check the reference in Shulchan Oruch that the OU provide and you will discover that the issue of raisin infestation is a machlokes HaPoskim. As is the case of any machlokes achronim there are different opinions of how to decide Halocha. there are Mekilim and Machmirim. It is apparent that the poskim of KAJ follow a more stringeent approach and that is what they Pasken for their followers. hence they are correct in publicizing their psak to their constituents and not to the general public. The OU rely on the TAZ as they say in their reponse. As the YWN says. You need to consult with your rabbi.
    The issue is not a question of Metzius. It is how the Halacha views this metzius and on that issue there is a machlokes.

  9. As a Mashgiach It’s my job to check for infestation and I regularly find problems in parsley,dill,cabbage and lettuce. Upon hearing about the raisin issue (which until now was not considered to be infested) I checked the raisins (kof-k)and raisin bran (ou) and found nothing.I heard about somebody who had a problem and investigated (yes I went to their house) and found sawtoothed grain beetles which can be found in raisins amongst many other food items,however the problem may have originated elsewhere as they kept many other items including flour in the pantry and all were infested.In addition they also had Mishpacha raisins. In summation I have no proof of infestation in raisins which have been stored properly however it would be prudent to keep an eye on all raisin products for the time being.