Thursday, November 01, 2012

Newsflash: Chief Rabbi Slams "bug-free" Vegetables!

This bug-free product photo is for
reference only and might not contain deadly toxins
Newsflash November 1rst, 2012 Jerusalem, Israel

Israel's Sephardi Chief Rabbi, R' Amar announced today that the public should avoid "bug free" lettuce, scallions, and vegetables that are now very popular around Israel.

Due to [allegedly] toxic levels of pesticides found in routine checks of the "bug free' vegetables, R' Amar says its forbidden to eat them, and its far better to buy traditionally grown leafy vegetables, and simply wash them off, as done in the days gone past.

"The vegetable growers must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are correct [and that the products are healthy to eat with pesticides].  There is no justification [to buy "bug-free vegetables] for people who are careful not to eat worms and bugs, who pay good money, and for some very poor consumers who don't even have enough money for food for their children to avoid serious halachik infractions [by not eating bug-free vegetables], and yet endanger themselves which is far more serious."

This psak halacha (ruling) is now being reported throughout the internet in Israel in Hebrew, though I have yet to find the actual ruling (which is reportedly many pages long).  The latest kashrut bulletin from the  Chief Rabbi website in Israel is "unavailable", and I will post a link to it as soon as I locate it.

The Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, R' Yona Metzger admits this is a precedent setting ruling, and reminds us of the rule "חמירא סכנתא מאיסורא" -- the danger of eating toxic pesticides is greater than the kashrut issue,  and one cannot declare a poisonous toxin as "kosher."

Found in Hebrew: here, here, here, here, etc.

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Leora said...

Finally, some sanity. I hope the day will come when I don't have to joke that I buy the pesticide vegetables to appease the bug critics.

Anonymous said...

About 9 or 10 years ago I could get organic bug-free vegetables in the supermarket. What happened to them?

Anonymous said...

Is there any english links?

In Canada kosher is getting ridiculous. The COR has the most stringent rules regarding fruits and vegetables.

This would be a good link to show people.

Anonymous said...

It's possible that in Canada the bug-free vegetables aren't pesticide-laden. Also, Rabbi Amar didn't say you were allowed to eat bugs; he said there are more traditional ways of avoiding eating bugs, such as buying vegetables with bugs and getting rid of them.

josh said...

Using Hasalat as an example is very bad. They actually have a great patent and do not need the amount of pesticides the other copy-cats do. Because Hasalat is so labour intensive and uses differnt techniques, it is very expensive. The copycats took advantage of this to enter the market to provide a cheaper alternative, but buyer beware.

Anonymous said...

It's different in Canada, and also in Europe. Wwhen there was the strawberry alert a few years ago, there really was a problem. It's was a warning first transmitted from the Canadian government to beware of infestation. A new bug was introduced by so called "ecologists" to avoid pesticides, that would eat all other bugs and keep the strawberries pretty and perfect. But then the bug laid its eggs in the strawberry and nothing would wash out when needed so this idea didn't work out and growers went back to traditional methods..

keren said...

1. Please be careful not to publicize things recklessly, it is my feeling that there is a lot of politics somewhere behind this, with the Haredi chief rabbis, and the mainly zionist vegetable growers. What do you think??

2. There is a list published from time to time by one of the organizations, listing the bug free produce in order of those with the least pesticides. If you look, you will see that Hasalt is at the top with the least pesticides as they also other methods such as growing in pots and not the ground etc.

3. Maybe you can get a comment from hasalat???

yoni r. said...

Why does Rav Amar think that pedticides can't be washed off?

Lurker said...

@Anonymous @2:16 AM: About 9 or 10 years ago I could get organic bug-free vegetables in the supermarket. What happened to them?

Those vegetables were grown on the hydroponics farms in Gush Katif. In 2005, the goverment destroyed the Jewish communities there and expelled all the Jews, and those farms therefore no longer exist.

Hadassa DeYoung said...

Dear sir,

Your use of our product and logo to illustrate this article about Rav Amar's p'saq is incorrect, misleading, and is tantamount to liable.

Our company, Hasalat®/Alei Katif has always exercised the utmost care to guarantee that our products meet the most stringent health standards. Samples of our crops are constantly checked by independent laboratories and our products are exported to the United States and Europe, and are certified by the USDA and its European equivalent.

We demand that you immediately remove our product and logo from this article.

Uri DeYoung
Hasalat/Alei Katif

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Dear Mr. Uri DeYoung,

As noted in the photo's caption, "This bug-free product photo is for
reference only and might not contain deadly toxins" -- this is a standard disclaimer, and therefore is not tantamount to liable.

However, I am sure that my readers and I would be happy to see that your product guarantees 100% that it contains no dangerous pesticides or toxins -- and as Rav Amar wrote - the burden of the proof is on the producers.

We would appreciate if you would please provide us with certification guaranteeing that your product is indeed, healthy for use.

Our of respect for Alei-Katif, but not due to your threatening letter, I will be happy to blur the name/logo of your company from the photo, and look forward to your company's proof that your product is in fact, healthy and worthy of human consumption.

You can contact me directly at



If have no way of knowing if your product

Hadassa DeYoung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hadassa DeYoung said...

Dear Jameel,

An example of the certification that you request may be seen in picture you posted of our product. That bag contains a stamp of certification from Lab-Path ( Their certification is the vertical ribbon-shaped item with a stylized microscope to the right of our logo.

Our products are certified by various organizations. Which organization certifies a specific product depends upon the type of product (e.g. fresh, chilled, frozen, pickled, etc.) and the target market (e.g. supermarket chains, exports to USA, UK, Europe, etc.).

We, our families and neighbors regularly eat our own Hasalat prduce, and we are very careful provide a healthy product. We are also keenly aware that our company's reputation and goodwill are maintained by product quality, and that lack of vigilance on our part could irreparably tarnish our name in the marketplace.

Best regards,
Uri DeYoung

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