The summer season strongly impacts infestation levels in problematic fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables that are only slightly infested in the winter can be completely infested in the summer.
Over the last two weeks, kashrus experts from international organizations have observed extremely high levels of infestation in fresh strawberries originating from all parts of the continent. Subsequent research has shown that the common washing system that was being performed was at times inadequate to rid the strawberries of all infestation.
As a result, a number of kashrus organizations in the USA and Canada, including MK, have currently disallowed use of fresh strawberries.
COR has conducted its own research and has determined that a proper washing procedure will produce effective results. These findings are consistent with the findings of other large organizations such as the Orthodox Union.
In the interim, COR will continue to allow the use of fresh strawberries by using a more effective procedure as follows:
- Carefully remove green leaf without making a hole in the top (If a hole was made, strawberry must be cut in half allowing both the inside and the outside of the strawberry to be washed)
- Place in a clean plugged up sink with cold water while adding a sufficient amount of vegetable wash or similar soapy solution
- Allow to soak for 3-5 minutes
- While soaking, agitate in water; the surface of each strawberry should be rubbed with your fingers
- Open the coldwater tap and allow the water to create a strong flow into the sink for a jacuzzi effect
- Carefully wash off the entire surface of each strawberry, one by one, under a heavy stream of water using your fingers to thoroughly massage the surface of the strawberry
- Dry strawberries, wiping their surface
- It is recommended that this process be repeated a second time before consumption.
- Fresh strawberries originating from Ontario have been found to be less infested, at the present time.
Further research is currently being conducted. For more information and policy updates please contact Rabbi Tsvi Heber at (416) 635-9550.