Now that cooler weather is upon us there are a number of Kashrus issues to be mindful of:
The cool weather tends to lower the amount of insect infestation of local produce, however, much of the available produce is imported. Mexico and other warm climates tend to have an above average incidence of infestation. For health reasons as well it is advisable to wash all imported produce with extra care – using ample amounts of either liquid soap or anti-bacterial vegi-wash.
We recommend not purchasing fruit from Eretz Yisroel unless it has a reliable hechsher. Much of the fruit exported from Eretz Yisroel is orla (from the first three years). The laws of “orla” from Eretz Yisroel have special impact due to the Kedusha of Eretz Yisroel. [We have detailed Halocha explanations about this in our halocha section.]
Please check the origin of the produce you purchase. According to USA law the origin of the produce must be on the label or posted. We have detailed instructions regarding the removal of Terumos and Maasros from vegetables that come from Eretz Yisroel on our web-site. We strongly encourage purchasing vegetables from Eretz Yisroel. It is longstanding Jewish practice to express our affinity for Eretz Yisroel by purchasing and using produce and objects from Israel.
In order to share the most up-to-date Kashrus information, the major Kashrus agencies (AKO) meet yearly at the offices of the OU. The following information may be of particular interest:
Vinegar and salt-water cleaning are no longer accepted as effective for infested fruits and vegetables.
Special attention must be given to the cleaning of organic produce.
Riced cauliflower (from a reputable company) has been commercially cleaned very well, and does not need to be cleaned or checked.
False claims of Kashrus are rampant on the Internet. Amazon is very responsive when an unauthorized Kashrus symbol is used on their web-site, many other companies are not compliant even when alerted to the illegal use of registered trademarks. It is advisable to check the product itself for the Kosher symbol. Symbols printed on the product itself are usually accurate.
Much of the Kosher news on blogs is either erroneous or posted maliciously by someone with an “agenda”. Your family’s Rav and the recognized Kashrus agencies are the best sources for accurate information.
Please check for symbols when buying items in the Kosher Section of a store. Shelf-stockers and customers do place items in the wrong place. If something doesn’t seem quite right, please check carefully, and feel free to ask.
The Keystone-K depends on memberships. The cost of membership is kept low so that everyone can join the community in supporting this vital Communal organization. Even if you are already a member, please encourage your friends and neighbors to join as well. The web address to sign up on-line for membership is http://keystone-k.org/membership-donate/. We will be happy to sign-you up manually if you send a check (Community Kashrus) to the address below with your e-mail.
Community Kashrus of Greater Philadelphia
2014 Upland Way
Philadelphia, PA 19131