This alert came from the OU. We offer it as is with no commentary from us.
Fresh strawberries have long been recognized as being prone to insect infestation, including aphids, small mites and thrips, and should not be consumed unless prepared in a proper manner. These insects are found primarily under the green leafy crown at the top of the strawberries. They can also be nestled on the surface of the berry. The insects tend to migrate from the top of the strawberry downward.
Recent claims have been made questioning the viability of any cleaning and checking procedure for strawberries. These claims have caused much confusion and concern in the kosher consuming community. The OU has carefully investigated these claims, and a series of experiments were performed to address this issue. Research has determined that when prepared and washed properly, the insects will be removed from the strawberry (this result has been confirmed by a group of Rabbanim and experts in the field, meeting in Lakewood on May 29, 2007).
The following is the OU’s recommended method for preparing strawberries as excerpted from the soon-to-be published “OU Guide to Checking, Fruits, Vegetables, and Berries” (2nd edition).
1. Remove the green leaves from the top of the strawberries, careful to not make a hole in the top of the strawberry. If a hole was made, the strawberry should then be cut in half, allowing you to wash both the inside and outside of the strawberry.
2. Place the strawberries in water that is concentrated with liquid soap.
3. Vigorously agitate the strawberries in water.
4. Allow the strawberries to soak in water for several minutes after agitation.
5. Wash each strawberry individually under a strong stream of running water, ensuring that the entire surface of the strawberry is thoroughly washed.
6. Dry strawberries, wiping their surface.
Cautionary note: This procedure must be performed meticulously to achieve desired results. A visual inspection should be made following the process.
Consumers wishing to receive additional direction from the OU how to prepare fresh strawberries according to OU guidelines should contact our office at 212-613-8241.