STAR-K ALERT: Gush Katif Lettuce


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stark.jpgThe following was sent to YWN by the STAR-K:

Due to numerous consumer inquiries , we have 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.

Therefore, it is recommended that this product be washed and checked like any Romaine Lettuce. (instructions below)

Consumers who wish to check romaine lettuces at home are advised to follow the procedures listed below

(Please see for more detailed instructions and pictorial and video tutorials)

1. Wash the produce you wish to use in cold water (it is recommend to use a liquid detergent solution).
2. After you wash the lettuce, check it using one of the following two methods:
a. Leaf by leaf on a light box.
b. Prepare a white basin with a cold soapy solution ( electric dishwasher soap works best because there are no bubbles). Agitate the lettuce in the water. Place the basin on top of a light box and check the water for insects.
3. If no insects are found, the lettuce may be used without further inspection. Please ensure that you wash off any residual detergent.
4. If any insects are found, one should repeat steps one through three above.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. “Gush Katif” is a very general term that refers to vegetables grown in a manner to prevent bug infestation. It is obvious, though, that, like anything else, one needs to ensure that the particular “make” is being monitored by a reputable kashrus entity to ensure that what needs to be done is actually being done. There are many different brands of “Gush Katif” vegetables (e.g. the ones I bought are called “Birchat Katif”), and one should not judge from the brand name, rather by whatever kashrus entity is covering it, and read the fine print carefully.

  2. Um.. though I defer to the halachic judgement of the star K, it is a terrible idea to use dishwasher soap directly on food. It has proven to be highly toxic because of its concentrated form and precisely because of the anti-foaming properties it has. If anyone does do this, please please wash it off in hot water so that no residue remains on the leaf. There have been many cases of poisonings because of inadvertent and accidental ingestion of these soap products.

  3. Regarding the alert you post on the site from the star K
    i think you should be fair & balance there is a latter came out from one of the hasgachas of New Square
    & there is more to come From other Hashgachs on the Romaine lettuce from alei katif
    If you like i can email You or send you By fax

  4. I agree with No. 2….Unless used in a highly diluted concentration it would be mindless to use dishwasher detergent or any form of household cleanser directly on lettuce leaves. The risks far outweigh any possible kashruth concerns arising from a few microscopic bugs. If you are really machmir, use one of several specialized soaps made from organic ingredients that are meant for cleaning fruits and vegetables.

  5. In response to number 2 about washing off in hot water, please ask a shaalah if this constitutes cooking your moror (a problem) [maybe keli sheni/shlishi is better??]