Kashrus Kuestions – Raisins (002)

raisinsWhat is the truth about raisins here and imported? Last year there was a whole to do about the KAJ OU and CRC releasing various statements that all raisins are infested etc. Can we eat USA and or Israeli raisins? Do they have to be checked? If yes how? If there are raisins in cereal etc. do we have to remove them and check them? If yes how?
Thanks! 

Memorandum

DATE: February 2, 2009
TO: OU Kashrus Staff

FROM: Rabbi D. Bistricer,OU
RE: Raisins

Approximately two weeks ago, kashrus concerns regarding tolaim in raisins were raised by a number of hashgachos. In response, the OU issued a thorough investigation into the matter, which concluded last week.
The OU’s thorough review of this issue entailed the following:

1) Examination of pest control programs at several OU certified CA raisin plants by local OU mashgichim.
2) Consultation with two USDA entomologists.

3) Inspection of many OU certified containers of raisins, which were not limited to   any particular brand or expiration date, by two experienced OU mashgichim in Lakewood, NJ.

4) Consultation with OU poskim.

The findings of the review revealed that the existence of larvae or other insects in raisins are rather infrequent, assuming that raisins are stored under proper conditions (cool, dry, clean environments), which is typically the case. If the probability or prevalence of insect infestation in any food is determined to be insignificant, there is no halachic obligation to check raisins before consumption. Prior to issuing its statement, the OU was also in contact with other hashgachos, whose findings and statistics were very similar.
Furthermore, Rav Belsky pointed out that since the infestation discovered by all hashgachos was limited to larvae, which were noticed only after soaking raisins for a few hours, there were additional grounds to be lenient. The presence of larvae in raisins likely occurs in storage or when the grapes are already off the vine. The Taz writes that under these circumstances checking for insects is not required, and explicitly mentions raisins as an example (See Taz Y.D. 84:12).
Subsequent to our investigation, a statement was issued on January 29th that raisins may be consumed without checking beforehand, provided that they were stored under proper sanitary conditions. Raisins may be assumed to have been stored properly unless there are obvious signs that would indicate otherwise (mold, webbing, insect damage, broken container, etc).

NOTE: I received a number of inquiries regarding raisins. I posed the question to Rabbi Eliyahu Safran of the OU, who send me this memorandum, which is still applicable.

One comment

  • July 19, 2009 - 11:01 | Permalink

    What about raisans from Israeli companies. Black or white?

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