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Information on strawberries

The following information on strawberries is from the Chicago Rabbinical Council on July 24, 2007 .
As of Rosh Chodesh Av the cRc policy in Regard to Strawberries is the following:

  1. Tops must be removed
  2. The strawberries must be washed under a strong stream of water, while rubbing all sides of the strawberry during this process
We will continue to monitor the level of infestation in regard to strawberries, as we do with other fruits and vegetables. This policy of cleaning strawberries is for strawberries purchased in the Midwest region only.

Information on strawberry checking and cleaning from Rabbi Vei

The following additional information is from New Square on June 6, 2007.

"Therefore, we announce that Fairmont frozen Strawberries- Product of Mexico are insect-free and are permitted to be used. Our inspection of Fairmont frozen Strawberries are continuously ongoing. Should there be any change in their kashrus status, we will immediately notify the public at large without delay or hindrance."
Links to texts of the notice in English and in Yiddish.

The following additional insect infestation alert is from Central Rabbinical Congress on May 31, 2007.

The Central Rabbinical Congress' Hisachdus Hurabbonim 85 Division Av. Brooklyn, NY (CRC) has said not to use Bodek strawberries because of insect infestation. The special Bes Din concerning kashrus together with our quality Mashgichim specialists in examining for worms have made intensive examinations on frozen strawberries from the firm Bodek which are made with a special system under our supervision and just as in this season the strawberries are very infested it has become known that with all our caution we have found in our examinations bugs. Therefore the pronouncement from the Bes Din:

  • Frozen strawberries from Bodek should not be used.
  • Concerning fresh strawberries we have already publicized on the 3rd of Sivan that we should not use them, even if the procedure which we have adopted is followed with cutting in halves.
  • Cooked or baked foods which have in them the above named strawberries may be used.
  • All pronouncements are valid until the next announcement from the Bes Din.

Links to texts of the alert: Central Rabbinical Congress

The Central Rabbinical Congress' Hisachdus Hurabbonim 85 Division Av. Brooklyn, NY (CRC) notified their establishments on Thursday May 17th, that for the time being they should not use fresh strawberries, due to a high infestation on all strawberries. The special soap wash instructions is not to be used until further notice, The CRC is monitoring the crop on a daily basis and is in contact with many other Kashrus agency's and professionals. All frozen strawberries from Bodek are under the CRC supervision and is insect & bug free and does not need any checking.
Links to texts of the alert: Central Rabbinical Congress and similar alert from New Square.

The following policy on strawberries was received from the Chicago Rabbinical Council on June 4, 2007.
There has reportedly been a recent high level of insect infestation in strawberries. The situation is being investigated, but in the meantime, the cRc recommends the following procedure:

  1. Cut off the leafy top of the strawberry, being careful not to cut too much as to open the cavity in the strawberry. (This will keep the soapy water from entering the center of the strawberry. If too much was cut, this does not invalidate the procedure.)
  2. Wash the strawberries in a soapy solution, rubbing them with a sponge. If the strawberries have creases and/or folds, then special care should be made in those areas.
  3. Rinse the strawberries and enjoy!

The following policy on strawberries was received from the Orthodox Union on June 4, 2007.
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 Rabbonim 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.

The following is the Star-K's recommended method for preparing strawberries:
  1. Strawberries should be topped, washed with water and detergent
  2. Rinse well.
  3. Inspect strawberry: Check for insects and/or evidence of infestation

Video of bug in strawberry at www.star-k.org/cons-appr-vegetables-videos10.htm
The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/Alerts/?alert=A2065

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