Special Chief Rabbinate Update Regarding So-Called ‘Gush Katif’ Greens

20 Cheshvan 5773

The following is a loose translation of a “special update” released by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel dated today in response to a recent p’sak halacha released by Rishon L’Tzion HaGaon HaRav Moshe Shlomo Amar Shlita, in which he is quoted as saying some of the so-called “gush katif” greens contain dangerous levels of pesticides and therefore, one may use non-gush katif if one knows how to properly clean them.

I must add that despite looking around and contacting associates who are generally willing and able to assist me in my efforts, to date I have not actually seen Rav Amar’s p’sak in the original Hebrew and that I why I did not post it to JKN, unwilling to do so based on media translations.


DATED: 20 Cheshvan 5773/ November 5, 2012

In light of the p’sak Halacha from Rishon L’Tzion and Chief Rabbi Moshe Shlomo Amar Shlita regarding some of the supervised greens contained dangerous levels of pesticides, in some case pesticides prohibited by the Ministry of Health…

The Chief Rabbinate in response to the ruling is instructing those [agencies] granting a hechsher to these companies to condition their kosher supervision on Health Ministry approval of the product to eliminate health concerns. This would be accomplished by sample testing in ministry laboratories or an independent lab approved by the ministry.

It must be stressed that all eateries and establishments being certified by a local rabbinate MAY NOT use any greens that are not of the supervised (so-called gush katif brands). In essence there is no change in the Chief Rabbinate’s policy and only the so-called gush katif greens are permitted for use in any establishment with local rabbinate hashgacha.

Health Ministry officials view this matter with the utmost of seriousness, stating it demands immediately and thorough investigation towards establishing criteria to coordinate between the Chief Rabbinate and health officials.

Companies that do not comply with the new standard will not receive a kashrut certification and those products will be banned from eateries certified by local rabbinates nationwide.


  • chaim
    November 5, 2012 - 19:10 | Permalink

    Re the high levels of Pesticide in Katif type lettuce.

    .Similarly the frozen brocolli /cauliflower /spinach Etc imported from central America etc..Let these suppliers declare what pesticides they use.have they been authorised by any government agency at the concentration levels they use.what checks are the Hechsher agencies making regarding the health issues on using higher dosages of chemical pesticides?

    Its a know problem with Esrogim ( especially morrocan-where there is no Jewish presence in the fields) that they are totally contaminated with pesticides to stop insect damage to the esrog. irresponsible people then make “esrog Jam” and people eat this lethal concoction

  • Sholem
    November 6, 2012 - 02:29 | Permalink

    Back in the heim we managed without gush katif produce, without bedatz hechsherim, without many modern chumras. Suddenly we can’t check the lettuce that we’ve been checking for thousands of years?!?! Come on, we’re loosing the plot here.

  • Chicago kosher
    November 6, 2012 - 20:56 | Permalink

    the cRc here in Chicago posted a youtube video on how to check for bugs.

  • Ido
    November 6, 2012 - 21:17 | Permalink

    Sholem: Back in the ‘heim’ (unless you are a sefardi!) the vegetables were not growing in the hot climate of the middle east, so any comparison is invalid. Being careful to avoid even dead insects involves up to SIX issurei doraita – hardly what you could call a ‘modern chumra’…

  • Yitzi
    November 7, 2012 - 00:32 | Permalink

    All of these new hechsherim and chumras regarding kosher are driving people away, and in this case leads to actual health risk. When does the madness stop? At what level do we stop making it up as we go along and return to following halacha? Following halacha was good enough for all of your forefathers, what makes you so much less capable to do so?

  • abby breitstein
    November 7, 2012 - 00:53 | Permalink

    I thought the whole idea with the bug-free produce is that the cleanliness is achieved through nets and special greenhouses, not through application of extreme quantities of pesticides. Is the data on pesticide residue R’ Amar cites publicly available?

  • David
    November 7, 2012 - 01:17 | Permalink

    Sholem, do you want to live in the past?

    Life progresses, Internet, airplanes, and bug-free veggies.

    I’m serious.

    You sound like those who say “my great-grandmother only read tzeena ureena, so that’s good enough for my daughter.”

  • Michael
    November 7, 2012 - 14:08 | Permalink


    I think you will find that the veg from Central America is bug free despite not using large quantities of pesticides, mainly because of the climate. That is why ‘Chasalat’, the largest Israeli ‘Gush Katif’ grower set up in Ecuador.

    When visiting Ecuador last year with a kosher group, I discussed the veg checking with our mashgiach, told me how easy it was to check veg that grew there (not any special ‘Gush Katif’ veg) due to the climate leading to many less bugs.

  • eli kokhav
    November 13, 2012 - 09:01 | Permalink

    Please can you kindly update the list of which ‘insect free’ veegtables have high levels of pesticide and also which ones are the cleanest?
    You last did this in 2010.
    In addition a link to the Hebrew website with this infomration would be helpful.
    Thankyou very much.

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