By Rabbi Yair Hoffman
Wednesday night, Rabbi Moshe Vaya, arguably the greatest Torah expert on bugs and worms in fish in the world, addressed close to 200 people at Shaaray Tefilah in Lawrence, New York. Introduced by Rabbi Dovid Weinberger Shlita, the Morah D’Asra of Shaaray Tefilah, Rav Vaya went into an in depth analysis of the problems associated with many of the foods we eat on a daily basis. The presentation was in English and Rav Vaya displayed a masterful grasp of numerous issues in regard to bugs and a wonderful sense of humor as well.
Here are some tidbits:
1] It is almost impossible to clean strawberries as there is a new type of thrip that developed within the past 36 months that is impervious to removal through soap.
2] Corn on the cob is a food that should be avoided because there are thrips that go in between the corn and the cob that cannot generally be detected. Canned and frozen corn are generally washed well and are free from problems.
3] Raisins are almost always infested lately and sometimes the bugs can only be seen after soaking them for two hours. Even later more bugs will come out of the raisins after five hours. Rav Vaya Shlita holds that one should make raisins at home by putting grapes in an oven for two hours at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. He also says that they taste much much better that way.
4] Rav Vaya also stated that if one did observe an anisakis worm go from the stomach to the flesh than that worm is forbidden to be consumed. He further explained that his position and those of many Gedolim that he spoke to is that one does not have to be concerned for this. Rav Vaya did explain that ideally, all anisakis worms should be removed from fish. Rav Vaya’s position seems to be a middle ground position.