Kashrus Update: No Concern Over Insect Infestation in Raisins For Now


raisins1Matzav.com reported last week the AKO (Association of Kashrus Organizations) held a meeting in Flatbush to discuss the recent alerts regarding insect infestation in raisins which we have been covering extensively. We have now acquired additional information that supports our report last week that most of the poskim involved say that raisins may be used without a problem.

The recent tumult erupted after someone discovered drosophila larvae in raisins and brought it to the attention of the kashrus world. These larvae are not visible when one visually inspects raisins, but can be seen in water that had been used to soak raisins. In the ensuing weeks, kashrus professionals from the OU, Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc), KAJ, Hisachdus Harabonom (CRC) and other hashgachos have been investigating this claim.

The cRc, which, led by its Kashrus Administrator, Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, has been at the forefront of this matter, has informed Matzav.com of the following:

There are, in fact, a limited number of drosophila larvae in some boxes of raisins, but it is unclear whether they are common enough to raise a halachic concern.

Although the Torah forbids us from eating bugs, one is only required to inspect a vegetable if there is a reasonable concern that it might be infested. It is unclear whether the infestation level found in raisins exceeds this threshold, which is halachically referred to as miut hamatzui. [Although there was a high infestation levels first reported in raisins, it has since been found to be a much lower number.] Furthermore, it is unclear whether bugs which are as difficult to find and identify as drosophila larvae are in fact included in the class of forbidden bugs.

USDA personnel have confirmed that drosophila larvae hatch after the grapes/raisins are detached from the ground and do not leave the raisin where they were hatched until after they have left the larvae stage. In cases such as this, where the bug hatched in a fruit which isn’t attached to the ground and the bug never left that fruit, all halachic authorities agree that one may consume the bug (see Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah, 84:4).

At first, one expert suggested that drosophila larvae may hatch while the grape is attached to the ground, which caused hesitation amongst the kashrus professionals, but after conferring with her colleagues and clarifying which bug the kashrus professionals were referring to, she retracted her statement. In truth, even if there was a possibility that the larvae hatched while the grapes were attached to the ground, there would be basis for permitting the raisins based on a Taz in Yoreh Deah 84:12.

Many poskim and kashrus agencies, including the Chicago Rabbinical Council, have therefore conclude that the recent report of bug infestation of raisins should not concern kosher consumers, and raisins may be eaten.

[Of course, raisins showing visible signs of infestation by bugs other than the ones discussed above should not be eaten until the bugs are removed].

Matzav.com will continue to be in contact with leading kashrus agencies who continue to monitor for any new developments.
{Dovid Bernstein-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. “Many poskim and kashrus agencies”
    Any names? Which Poskim and which agencies? And what about the other Poskim? Who are they? Rabbi Vaye, world renown bug expert,recently released a Tu Bishvat bug-guide. He seems to feel that there currently is a problem raisins!!

  2. Rav Shlomo Gissinger, a mumcheh in this field, gave a shiur in his shul this shabbos in which he explained why it is his psak that there is currently no problem with raisins.

  3. The Gilyon Maharsha in Hilchos Toy;laim (YD 84 on TAz s:k 12)
    says from the bais hillel that anshei maaseh do not or should not eat raisins
    This is on the TAz that is the mekor for the CRC’s heter (yd ibid.)