Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bugs Still in Your Food

In my last post about bugs in your food, I noted the "clear and present danger" of violating many Torah prohibitions in the consumption of garden-variety salad. ;- )
Surprised I was to then see a web post on a mailing list from Michigan that I still belong to, offering a solution to the problem. At least it seemed that way.
Yes, it's PestCatch™ - a new system approved by major kashrut organizations for insect checking. Sounds like the end to our problems. After all, you just stick your salad into the device, run it, and the produce is kosher and ready to eat, right?
Wrong.
It turns out that PestCatch™ is only a system for checking bugs. Basically, you still have to wash the salad, rinse it and check the water for bugs. That's how we would do it. But now, instead of checking the water, you can check the filter in the bottom of the bucket for bugs, with the included magnifying glass. (Why you'd want to use a magnifying glass I have no idea. Isn't the whole point that it's not treif if you can't see the bug with the naked eye? But I digress.)
Listen to the endorsement of the Badatz Iggud Rabbanim of England:
“I am pleased to endorse the use of PestCatch™ tool for the verification of vegetables and fruit that require checking for infestation. When used as per the instructions included with it, the tool is a very effective and time-saving method to ascertain the freedom from infestation for produce that can be cleaned by a proper washing process prior to verification with the PestCatch™ tool. I would however comment that where one starts with a product that is knowingly infested one should have two consecutive clean PestCatch™ filter tests before approving the use of the product.”

Some endorsement. But there's more. On the web site itself the following note appears:
Important Note:
The PestCatch™ device is a TESTING device to determine small pest infestation level. It is NOT a produce-cleaning tool. Also, please note that while PestCatch™ was confirmed as an excellent verification tool which will give high confidence and probability, it does not guarantee 100% success in detecting bugs, many times it depends on the use, inspection method and other external factors.
So, it's only for testing. And to be honest, it really doesn't work 100% of the time. And you might not use it correctly anyway.
It this false advertising? Not really. They do tell the truth. But stating that the product has the endorsements of these major kashrut organizations gives the impression that using it will make your salad kosher. Which it won't.
That's a job that you have to do yourself, with a bowl, some water, soap and really good eyes. And a magnifying glass. There I go again.

Disclosure notice: I am not an owner of PestCatch™ nor do I have any financial interest in this endeavor - if that wasn't already clear from this post. This post is not to be construed as a recommendation for or against the use of this product. Please use it only in a safe, sanitary kitchen environment. ChoppingWood takes no spiritual responsibility for any bugs consumed as a result of the improper or proper use of the PestCatch™ system. All right reserved. Copyright 2009. Have a good day.