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Revised cRc Iceberg Lettuce Policy

 

The general cRc position is that pre-washed (bagged) iceberg lettuce is acceptable from any source, even if it is not certified as kosher. This is because the method of commercially cleaning leafy lettuces is sufficient to remove the insects typically found in iceberg lettuce. However, in recent weeks, lettuce coming from specific regions in California have been more heavily infested than usual, and it has been brought to our attention that the cleaning methods in use have not always been successful in removing all insects from the lettuce. Accordingly, some hechsherim have temporarily removed certification from a number of brands of iceberg lettuce, of which the Fresh Express brand is the most prominent.

We have not been able to independently confirm these results on a national scale, but accept the findings of these hechsherim based on the research of experienced Mashgichim in multiple cities. Accordingly, the cRc recommends that for the remainder of June 2015, consumers nationally should either (a) purchase iceberg lettuce which bears reliable kosher certification, or (b) wash and inspect iceberg lettuce (fresh or bagged) as per the directions found at http://kshr.us/IcebergLettuce.

In contrast to the above, we have inspected many varieties of prewashed iceberg lettuce sold in the greater Chicago area, and found that the washing-methods used locally have remained effective in spite of the temporarily increased level of infestation. Therefore, while it is always preferred to purchase lettuce and similar items with hashgachah, we consider it acceptable for people in the Chicagoland area to continue purchasing prewashed iceberg lettuce even if it is not certified. As an extra measure of caution, we recommend that those who purchase the non-certified lettuce, should visually inspect a few, small, handfuls of lettuce from each bag before eating the rest of the contents of the bag.

In consultation with other hashgochos, we will continue to monitor this situation and will update our recommendations accordingly.

 


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