Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Updated Bug Sitch



It seems like the main culprit in "Bug-Gate" is the esteemed Rabbi Moshe Heineman of the Star-K. He has been so kind as to announce that the salads that were deemed Verboten bore his supervision until now. There was also a relative newcomer to the supervision business, Rabbi YM Moshkovitsh, of "Shatz-Drohvitch", who had his name affixed as another Rabbinic supervisor, seemingly for the more savvy consumer who will accept only the best and most religious supervision. (If you'd see him you'd know what I mean) I would assume that Rabbi Moshkovitsh relied on the knowledge and reputation of the Star-K, just as the other "holy hechsherim" rely on the O-U and O-K for their needs.

So the question is: What was the good Rabbi Heineman thinking when he put his name on the bags? Was he relying, as do most others, on leniencies that would allow it to be certified as Kosher, or was it a good old fashioned pull-the-wool-over-the-eyes of the consumer who thinks he may be overpaying but at least he's getting Super-Kosher? I won't venture to guess, but something's very wrong either way.

Why was the Bug-Rabbi from Israel even allowed to open this - no pun intended - bag of worms anyway? Do American Rabbonim go and check the Kashrus of Israeli products?And if needed to be done why do it in the way it was done, i.e. publicly proclaiming them to be insect-riddled, they could've just removed it from the shelves without the public-announcements that hurt reputations and lead to incessant finger-pointing?!

More importantly: will BODEK ever be scrutinized as was Fresh Express, or will the findings there take down too many "more important" people and break the public's trust completely?

Stay tuned boys and girls....

36 comments:

Kurenitzer said...

It seems to me that the STAR K has been involved in many Kashrus controversies in the last several years. The Baltimore cruise ship fiasco, the Zalman's meat takeover that drove Chaimowitch Glatt packing out of business and I think a few others.
What gives here ?
In many ways the Rav there establishes strict standards in some areas and piggy backs on those standarsd to be maikil in other areas.
Perhaps Hashem is telling us something about bugs in Veggies , lets do what our bobbes and zeides did .Lo nitna Hatore leMalacha hashares.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhhhhh.........

A total change of face today, huh?

I yelled at you guys yesterday that you have NOOOOOO clue what you were talking about..


nu, nu.

There's more to come.

Stay tuned.

(Oscar, call me please).

Anonymous said...

Oy Jews, Just buy fresh andy boy romaine hearts, rinse them in the sink, and you will have bug free, fresh, cheap, good lettuce.

Hirshel Tzig said...

grrrrrrrrrrrr!

are the last 2 the same guy/gal?

Can't you just choose a name? Is it that difficult?

Who says "Andy Boy" is any better?

What about other veggies?

Who says rinsing is enough?

Eli said...

1)The "Bug-Rabbi" from Israel was asked to come check out one of the washing system's of one of the big "kosher" companies. They wanted to be able to advertize that he this Rabbi is giving a hechshur on there system. WELL it backfired. The Rabbi said that the system is no good and those vegies should not be eaten. The rest is history.
2) The kol koreh was not written with any one Rabbi in mind. It said that all baged romaine ect. may not be eaten. It just so happens to be that the only hechshur out there on romaine is R. Heineman.

TRM said...

The andy boy was me.

I have been using andy boy lettuce for months, just chop off the bottoms and rinse them well.

You also need to look at what you are doing, but you will see that by maybe one out of a hundred a big will wind up in the sink. They are clean and crisp.

Eli said...

Yes, you can check Andy Boy lettuce as well as all bug infested food BUT as with everything in life, you must know what you are doing. Most of the insects hide within the crevices of the leaves. Some bugs can not be seen with out a good light. Some bugs stick to the leaves and some bugs (like the leave miner) crawl into the leaves so that you could wash it all day and never get them out. The bottem line is you must know what kind of bug to look for in each vegie and then how to wash and then how to inspect. I recomend R. Vayah's books where he discribes what and how to clean. Then again you could do like I do and just stay away from all problematic vegies.

Hirshel Tzig said...

I have yet to read his sefer but from what I hear he prohibits just about all veggies (OK, that's somewhat of an exaggeration)

is he very stringent?

Flatbushyid said...

Hirshel

R' Vaya is not stringent, he just shows with pictures the bugs where they are and how to clean to get rid of them. There isn't a person in the world that I know of, that has a bad thing to say about R" Vaya, he is such an aidela yid it is unbelivable.

bpunbound said...

Hirshel,

Just to add some perspective:

A number of years ago, a confidant of the N. Rav, a well know rav hamachshir, told me that the Rav's father, who was also in that line, had asked the Satmarer Rav (R' Yoel) how to check cabbage. SR told him that when he receives a shipment, a truckload let's say, he should take a number of cases, I believe it was three, check them thoroughly, and, if those were found totally clean, the rest need not be checked.

I believe that this is the method, perhaps with the addition of high pressure spraying and other commercial washing methods, that Bodek, and others, use to market their product. As a matter of fact, their sticker, I believe, does NOT say their product is bug free, but rather Be'chezkas bug free. Even the Alei Katif, which goes a step further and grows the product in a bug free environemnt (sealed hot houses and sand), does not guarantee a bug free product.

That someone opened a package, or two, or three, and found bugs, is not neccessarily a chidush. That it may call into question the efficacy of the chazakah, that's another matter.

Hirshel Tzig said...

flatbushyid

I did not mean to degrade Rabbi ויא in any way.

zezmir said...

When I worked in hashgocha we were told to check 3/4 heads in a case - if they were clean than we could assume they all were clean...
But almost everyone I knew would additionally throw out the outermost leaves, pull the heads apart, and soak the heads in water with salt & vinigar. We would then rinse, soak again and rinse.

zezmir said...

When I worked in hashgocha we were told to check 3/4 heads in a case - if they were clean than we could assume they all were clean...
But almost everyone I knew would additionally throw out the outermost leaves, pull the heads apart, and soak the heads in water with salt & vinigar. We would then rinse, soak again and rinse.

ock said...

zezmir, sounds like the cabbage you guys were packing comes already dressed in the packet!

Eli said...

bpunbound,
1)When you grow vegies in bug free hot houses, you are not just making a chazaka that they are bug free, you are making vegies that would otherwise be muchzik to have bugs into vegies that are muchzak to be bug free.These vegies growing in the hot houses are now no diffurent then tomatoes and most other produce that don't have to be cheked because it is a "miut shaino mutzoi" that they should have bugs. BUT when you wash infested vegies, they still remain vegies that are muchzak to have bugs.
2) Bodek would also be included in the kol koreh if they would have romaine lettuce. As the kol koreh said the washing systems don't work.

Flatbushyid said...

Eli

I see you know what you are talking about. What's with Landau's on 18th. Ave. when will they be stopped from selling bug infested herbs and lettuce mixes? When will R' Blumenkrantz finally admit in public that they are full of bugs? Enough is enough! When will star k take off their phony hechser on Dole? They are being "machshil harabim". Does the oilim know that the star k does not train any of their so called mashgachim on how to find bugs. They just say as long as the goyisher owner says it is bug free we can trust them. It is unbelievable they must be stopped!

Hirshel I will e mail you a teshuvah from R' Usher Eckstein one of the biggest experts on bugs please post it.

Anonymous said...

flatbushyid,
Are you saying that Rabbi Blumenkrantz, who writes again and again in the Torah Times and in his Pesach book not to use any romain besides Landaus Supermarket is just not right?! How do you know this? Why would Rabbi Blumenkrantz push a product in less he knows that they are doing it right.

Hirshel Tzig said...

The posters are more general now, without singling out any one brand. However, some brands are still being sold in stores, and many customers have no knowledge of the whole incident....

bpunbound said...

Eli,

1)I didn't say AK was relying on chazaka. My point was that opening a package, whether Bodek or Katif, and finding bugs would not neccessarily be distressing from a halachik point of view. As a matter of fact, re-reading a Bodek label last night, it reads naki MEYCHASHASH toloi'im, NOT bug free. I don't recall the Katif label language.

Now, opening a hundred bags and finding infestation....

2)According to my information, Bodek does not rely on washing, but rather a chazakah and supplements with washing.

avremel said...

Imagine if you're a frum vegetarian, what's left for you to eat?

Flatbushyid said...

To anonymous

Yes I am saying R' Blumenkrantz is misleading the public why I don't know. This whole week there were rabbonim checking in Landau's and every time they found bugs. R' Blumenkrantz is well aware of the situation. He was told this countless times over the last few months. Think about this if Dole and all major companies can't wash romaine lettuce and make it bug free how is little Landau's going to do it?! If they really cared about the "oilam" why don't they sell greenhouse herbs and greenhouse lettuce? The anwser sadly to say is because they care about the almighty dollar. It is a crime they are selling bug infested broccolli and califlower for $5.99 a pound they must be stopped. Call R' Blumenkrantz at 718-337-6056 or 718-337-6144 and ask him what is going on! Why do you keep saying Landau's is good when it is most probably the worst of all companies. Why are they washing and selling bug infested herbs when they can sell R' Vaya's greenhouse grown triple washed herbs. R' Blumenkrantz stop stop stop.

Flatbushyid said...

Hey Hirshel


This crook, Brown, from fresh express is now bringing in a new company Reddi Pak without any hechser something from St. Louis on the package does he think we are fools, Hey Brown you are a "choteh umachiteh es harabim" They will fill the pot in hell with all the bugs you have been giving to klal yisroel and burn you every day in it.

Hirshel Tzig said...

Flatbushyid

You're making some very serious accusations here, and about a Rov who's known to be a serious guy. What then are we supposed to say about RAB's Pesach industry, does he really have his finger on the whole Kashrus situation? Is he as lenient on Pesach too? What about the whole Shaitel scare recently, he was supposedly "THE" expert on that too?

G-d help us....

Hirshel Tzig said...

Stores in BP are still selling Fresh Express as of 7pm tonight! I couldn't believe my eyes, what are these guys thinking, or are selling it to Goyim only? (yeah, right)

Eli said...

I think the owner's must be told that they should not be selling that buggy stuff. I opened my mouth to the owner of a large super market and next day they were off the shelves.I also think that a store that takes them off the shelfs (and there are many store's that stopped selling it) should be given a big yasher coach. They must see that people noticed
it and apriciate there actions.

Anonymous said...

Hey Flatbushyid,
I was just in a kosher supermarket and they are selling plenty of romaine lettuce (3 kinds) from Reddy Pac with 2 hechsherim one from the OV and one from the Vaad Hoeir of St. Louis. Loads of fruma people were loading up on this new vegies and these were people who would not buy the other companies that were included in the isur from the Rabonim. So BH the problem is solved.

Hirshel Tzig said...

why would Reddy Pac be any better than Fresh or Dole?

Anonymous said...

I don't Know but since this new company came out after the isur came out from so many Rabonim, this must be REALLY bug free. Besides, the Rabonim on this new company gave a hechshur after the tumel with the isur it must be because they know that they have a good system.

Flatbushyid said...

Hirshel

We do I start. I see that you realize the corruption that is going on here. To anonymous above me just look at wwww.ovkosher.org and see the on and off again saga of reddi pac, what about now are they on or off? If this isn't a joke of a hechser organization I don't know what is. In reality the ov and the vaad haoir of St. Louis are one and the same. If this isn't fooling the public what is? The lies have to stop. This is being done by Brown of fresh express fame the "chota imachata es harabim par exellance" Hashem Yishmeranu!

Anonymous said...

flatbushyid, I'm afraid that you don't have your information corect. That Brown guy owns Fresh Express. If you would look on the bag of Ready Pac you will see that it is distributed by Kosher Produce.

Eli said...

bpunbond,
1) When Bodek writes "naki MECHASHASH toloim" it means that it's clean from EVEN a CHASHASH of bugs which means "bug free".
2) When you write"Acording to my information", please tell me do you have any REAL information as to what is Bodek's system? Does anybody know what is there system? Besides being tops in PR, are they doing anything for real that makes them better then Fresh Express, Dole and the "new" Ready Pac. As far as I know they keep there "system" a total secret. But one thing is for sure, they are not growing vegies in green houses so they don't have any way to make these bugfull vegies into muchzak to be bugfree vegies. So all we are left with is the washing and we now know from the kol koreh that NO washing system works to make vegies bug free.
Hirshel, I think you are right, it's time to do some real cheking to find out if Bodek is realy badok.(I never did like the sheker of the name they gave there compant making us think that they Bodek - check there vegies.)

Flatbushyid said...

To anonymous

Let me educate you a little. All these companies, Dole, Fresh Express, Reddi Pac, Taylor Farms, Golden Harvest, F&S Produce (the original bodek processing plant) just to name a few are all owned by goyim. A few hamish yidden saw a golden opportunity went to these processing plants and started buying produce from them. They attach another sticker on the front and presto it becomes glatt kosher. Fresh Express to the "kosher market" is being distributed by Mr. Brown from Boro Park under the name K&S produce(kosher shratzim). Now that he is under the gun either him or his brother (they are partners) went to Reddi Pac in (who bought out T&A Produce last year) and started to distribute them under KP or KB whatever but they are one and the same. You can ask any store that is carrying this Reddi Pac who is the distributer behind the name KB if it is the same as fresh express. I hope this clarfies things many people keep on asking about Bodek I will clarify them also.

Good Shabbos to all, eat CHOLENT guys.

Anonymous said...

flatbushyid,
I must hand it to you you. You seem to know what you are talking about. I went into stores myself and asked the owners who is this new company and YOU ARE 100% RIGHT. Ready Pac is the same as Fresh Express. Not only that, but they told me that this Mr. Brown gives the stores the veggies without them paying for the product-as long as they stock his vegies. When I asked them why they are selling romain if the rabonim asured it, they told me that Brown told them that this is a new item with a new hechshur and is totaly clean. I know I am sounding like you but we MUST put this low life out of business.

bpunbound said...

Eli,

1) I don't know about you, but I read Naki MACHASHASH Toiloim to mean "I need not be CHOSHOSH for any Toiloim, and therefore I need not inspect for Toiloim, in these here vegetables, as I WOULD have to be Choishash if I bought it in the fresh produce aisle", the same as I need not be CHOISHOSH for Toiloim when I eat a steak. IT DOES NOT NECCESSARILY MEAN that these very vegetables I am eating have been checked to be bug free, as I can arrive at that Les Chashash by other means, other then by checking EVERY SINGLE peice of produce packaged.

2) I was employed by a Kashrus certifying agency, one that gives, gave, and I believe, continues to to give, a Hechsher to Bodek, at the time Bodek came into existence, and for a significant amount of time following that. And I was and am a personal aquantance of the individual that worked on "setting up" the "system" used to arrive at "Naki M'Chashash". And, in part, it relied on establishing a Chazakah of non-infestation by inspecting fully an "appreciable" amount of produce in a shipment, NOT EVERY LEAF ON EVERY HEAD. That was further enhanced by other means.

Therefore, as I said previously, to open a bag, or two, of Bodek and find a bug, I don't believe to be a scandal.

Having said that, and reading the text of the Kol Koirah this morning, it does say that the issur does not apply to cabbage and iceberg lettuce, and also not to vegetables grown in greenhouses (Alei Katif, a different category entirely)

Furthermore, the KK doesn't specify a brand, and interestingly, was signed by the Poisek of the agency that gives a hechsher to Bodek. And a search of their site finds no mention regarding the issue relating to Bodek.

So what's up? Are Bodek romaine and spinnach products included in the KK? Has their system proved to be fallible? Was there "really" such a system in place? Have facts on the ground changed? And, apparantly, iceberg and cabbage from all companies are good?

Flatbushyid said...

To anonymous

Thanks, and for some updates. There was a big meeting with rabbonim today with many of the top names in bugs attending. What came out was that Landau's on 18th. Ave. has to stop selling their own washed buggy produce. R' Blumenkrantz took off his endorsement and I am sure he will let everyone know about it in his next torah times article (till then you can call him to verify this) All the rabbonim who were giving a hechser removed it. (It's about time) The vaad of St. Louis was called up and it seems they will also remove their hechser on Reddi Pac (not that it was worth anything in the first place)

To bpunbound
Bodek hasn't sold romaine and spinach products for quite some time now. They stopped when people kept on showing them that their stuff was full of bugs. All they sell is shredded lettuce and cabbage. They shred the lettuce much finer then any other company. According to them they have a mashgiach from Tush (Montreal) checking every run and he rejects runs if this is the case and I repeat if this is the case that every single run they have a masgiach checking it is possible (since it is only iceberg lettuce) to be clean. However, I am troubled how Bodek can sell frozen brussel sprouts when that is impossible to be clean and it is impossible to check. I also don't know how they sell frozen asparagus, broccoli, and califlower. They claim since is is grown somewhere in the hills of guatamala the bugs don't go there. I have personally checked some of their frozen stuff and found it to be infested. In anwser to your question can iceberg and cabbage be used from all companies the anwser is those products can come out clean after a good wash but not always. Again if something is muchzak and it can be shown that it doesn't always become clean after washing every lot has to be checked and not just rely on a machine. There are no companies outside of bodek that are even claiming they do that, to me that means I should't eat them. What is interesting is, this is to my knowledge the first time rabbonim are sticking to their guns and stopping this fraud and "michsol drabbim" "Kol Hakovod" If we would have such unity in klal yisrol moshiach would have already come. We can only hope, "Achaka lo Achaka lo Achaka lo bchol yom shyovah" Halavay!

Hirshel Tzig said...

fltbshyid

So even Fresh Express Iceberg Salads would be OK then? because they're still being sold in the stores