Check vegetables and fruits thoroughly for insects and bugs in accordance with the following guidelines:

Generally speaking Australian fruits and vegetables are free of infestation due to climatic conditions as well as stringent spraying programmes. However, infestation does occur from time to time and the following general guidelines have been developed to assist in determining the infestation of fruits and vegetables.
Please note that the consumption of insects involves a number of biblical prohibitions and in some ways is more severe than the eating of non-kosher meat. It is part of the responsibility of the mashgiach and and also the caterer to ensure that there is no insect infestation.

Vegetables arriving at a venue must be rechecked unless accompanied by a letter from the previous mashgiach stating that they were checked or sealed with signed and dated KA seals.

All Tinned vegetables and tomato products listed in the Kosher directory must be product of Australia.

Below are guidelines for the checking of various produce for insect Infestation. Please choose from the list of articles below to read more;

 

Artichokes

Fresh artichokes may be used if they are cut in quarters and the heart is checked for insects. Cans and jars of imported artichokes must bear one of the approved hashgachot (see page 5).

Asparagus

There is a problem of insect infestation in asparagus, which is available in Australia.  These insects are called “thrip”.  They are tiny and approximately 1-2 mm long - their colour ranges from brown to black.  At first these insects look like splinters, but on closer inspection one can detect that they are insects.

 

METHOD OF CHECKING AND INSPECTION

FRESH ASPARAGUS
A simple, visual inspection is not possible, since the insects are lodged between the florets (head) at the top of the plant.

One must therefore use a method which will cause quite a number of them to be dislodged and separated from the remainder of the vegetable.

The following method is recommended and is quite simple and straightforward:-

•    A large white or very light-coloured bowl should be half-filled with warm water.  The asparagus should be put into the water and swirled around a number of times.

•    The asparagus should be taken out and held by the middle or lower part of the stems but not in the area (head).  Whilst holding them over the bowl, droplets of water should be shaken off the floret (head) end of the vegetable so that the droplets of water fall back into the bowl of water, (this plus the swirling around of the vegetable will inevitably dislodge some of the thrips and cause them to land in the water).

•    Allow the water to settle for about half a minute, during which time the living thrips will rise to the very top of the water.  One should then look very carefully at the water’s surface for tiny, light or dark brown or black splinter-like things.  If in doubt whether or not what one is looking at is a thrip, it is simplest to scoop it out with a teaspoon and deposit it on a flat white plate.

•    By looking very closely at these things one will be able to identify them as insects.  However, a x10 magnifying glass is of particular assistance and will make this identification much simpler for many people.  These insects are very active once they are out of water and one will therefore be able to observe them climbing up the sides of the bowl above the water level and on to dry parts of the plate once they have been deposited on it.

•    If no infestation is found by the above method, the vegetable is insect free and it may be used without any further inspection or stripping down.

METHOD OF USING FRESH ASPARAGUS THAT HAS BEEN FOUND TO BE INFESTED

(a)    All flowers from the tops of the stems should be pulled off and be discarded.  They are the main habitat of the insects and there is no way in which one can be absolutely sure that all insects have been eliminated.  They must therefore be discarded.
(b)    With the aid of a knife or potato peeler, the triangular bits of leaf should be stripped from the stems so that just the bare main stems of the vegetable remain.
(c)    The stems should then be rinsed thoroughly under running water and it is preferable to brush them lightly up and down during the rinsing with a soft nylon kitchen brush.  Once this has been done the vegetable is ready for use.
(d)    It is understood that if someone prefers to avoid inspecting this vegetable and instead to simply cut off and discard the florets (head) and rinse the remainder in the way described above, one may do so, since this method  guarantees that the remaining vegetable is insect-free.


FROZEN ASPARAGUS
One cannot use the method of checking described in Note 1 above.  Firstly the floret (head) is to be cut off and discarded.  Then, rinse the remainder of the asparagus and it may be used.
•    Due to the high infestation of thrip , Licencees may not use fresh or frozen asparagus .

CANNED ASPARAGUS
AT PRESENT, ALL CANNED ASPARAGUS, SHOULD NOT BE USED DUE TO INFESTATION WITH THRIP.
Cans of imported asparagus, which have Rabbinic Supervision, may be used without fear of this problem.

Cabbage

Australian cabbage, savoy cabbage and red cabbage should be checked as follows:

(a)    The outer leaves should be removed and if they are found to be insect free the vegetable should be cut into quarters and visually inspected.  If both the outer leaves and the inner quarters appear to be free from infestation then one can assume there is no further infestation and after rinsing, the cabbage or lettuce may be used.

(b)    If there are insects found on the outer leaves, a meticulous visual inspection must be made of the inner quarters.  If they appear to be insect free then one can assume that there is no internal infestation and the quarters may be used. If however internal infestation is found (ie if even one or two bugs are visible) then the leaves must be individually separated and checked.

If whole leaves are required, (such as for stuffed cabbage) each leaf must be individually checked. If the leaves have been blanched in hot water they must still be checked before being stuffed.
 

Celery

Celery is usually not subject to infestation but when infested is thoroughly infested, therefore celery must be visually inspected.  If there are no bugs visible it may be rinsed and used.  If, however, there are bugs (either large black ones or small green ones) visible the celery must be thoroughly, visually and meticulously inspected, especially on the upper leaves.

Chopped and Processed Vegetables

Bland vegetables that contain no other ingredients, that are chopped or cut may be used provided they are insect free and are thoroughly washed before use, eg; carrots, cabbage, celery and lettuce.

Sharper flavoured chopped or shredded vegetables may not be used unless under reliable kashrut supervision. eg; capsicums, onions and radishes.  Even citrus fruits come under this ruling.

Please watch for mixed salad bags, which may contain sharp vegetables.
 

Eggplant

Eggplant can be severely infested with large grotesque, multi-footed creatures (larvae).  Eggplants should be cut in quarters if there are no signs of entry holes or infestation, the eggplant may be used, however, if there are entry holes or tunnels visible the eggplant must be thinly sliced or diced to find all infestation and remove the bugs.

Flour

Fresh flour is pre-sifted at the mills and requires no checking.  However, if the flour is more than six weeks old or has been opened it may be subject to insect infestation. Therefore if even one weevil is visible then the flour must be thoroughly sifted before use or else discarded. If, however, the flour is fresh and no weevils are visible no sifting is required.
This applies similarly to barley, rice and other grains and beans available in Australia.

Fruit

In general there is no infestation of fruits and generally no checking is required in Australia. However if entry points are visible on fruit the fruit must be cut in half and the core checked for worms!

Garlic and Onion

Peeled garlic or onion intended to be left overnight should either be mixed with other food (eg salt, vinegar, bread, salad or oil) or left with some of the root hairs or peel attatched.  (melancholia)

Lettuce

Australian Iceberg Lettuce

The outer leaves should be checked for infestation.  If there are no insects on the outer leaves and after removal of the outer leaves upon visual inspection the core seems clean light green and healthy no further inspection is necessary.  If however, there is infestation on the outer leaves, after removal of those leaves the lettuce must be cut in half and visually inspected.  If there is no sign of any insects on the inside then no further inspection is required.  However, if even one or two insects are found on the inside then the leaves must be individually separated and checked.

 

OTHER LETTUCE (Cos, Romaine etc), Buok choy

These must have their leaves individually checked.  Soaking in vinegar or salt water helps to facilitate removal of insects.

Other Vegetables

CARROTS, TOMATOES, POTATOES, SWEET POTATOES, ONIONS, PUMPKIN, BUTTERNUT PUMPKIN, SWEDES, TURNIPS, MINI SQUASH, ZUCCHINI, CUCUMBER AND LONG WHITE RADISH are generally insect free and require no checking.

RED, GREEN & YELLOW CAPSICUM SHOULD BE CUT IN HALF AND CHECKED FOR LARVAE

AUSTRALIAN BROCCOLI, AND CAULIFLOWER have at this stage been found to be virtually insect free, however, they should be thoroughly rinsed . If however, infestation is found the following procedure should be carried out.

Broccoli when infested in the florets is virtually impossible to clean and should be discarded.

Cauliflower, when infested must be thoroughly washed and visibly inspected.

Parsley and Dill

Our experience is that generally parsley and dill in Australia are not infested. However they should be thoroughly rinsed . If infestation is found then the parsley and the dill are almost impossible to clean and therefore should be discarded or thoroughly rinsed and then placed in a gourmet bag (cloth cooking bag).