From the cRc

Regarding Raisins [From the cRc]:

Recently, someone discovered drosophila larvae in raisins and brought it to the attention of the kashrus world. These larvae are not visible when one visually inspects raisins, but can be seen in water that had been used to soak raisins. In the ensuing weeks, kashrus professionals from the cRc and other hashgachos have been investigating this claim, and the following are our findings:

There are, in fact, a limited number of drosophila larvae in some boxes of raisins, but it is unclear whether they are common enough to raise a Halachik concern.

Although the Torah forbids us from eating bugs, one is only required to inspect a vegetable if there is a reasonable concern that it might be infested. It is unclear whether the infestation level found in raisins exceeds this threshold, which is halachically referred to as miut hamatzui. [Although there was a high infestation levels first reported in raisins, it has since been found to be a much lower number]. Furthermore, it is unclear whether bugs which are as difficult to find and identify as drosophila larvae, are in fact included in the class of forbidden bugs.

USDA personnel have confirmed that drosophila larvae hatch after the grapes/raisins are detached from the ground, and do not leave the raisin where they were hatched until after they have left the larvae stage. In cases such as this – where the bug hatched on a fruit which isn’t attached to the ground and the bug never left that fruit – all Halachik authorities agree that one may consume the bug (see Shulchan Aruch YD 84:4).

At first, one expert suggested that drosophila larvae may hatch while the grape is attached to the ground, which caused hesitation amongst the Kashrus professionals, but after conferring with her colleagues and clarifying which bug we were referring to, she retracted her statement. In truth, even if there was a possibility that the larvae hatched while the grapes were attached to the ground, there would be basis for permitting the raisins based on Taz YD 84:12.

We therefore conclude that the recent report of bug infestation of raisins does not concern kosher consumers, and raisins may be eaten. [Of course, raisins showing visible signs of infestation by bugs other than the ones discussed above should not be eaten until the bugs are removed]. The cRc will continue to monitor for any new developments.

Posted on February 17, 2009 at 12:07 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink
In: Kosher News, Uncategorized

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