Kosher ingredients are constantly changing. Until now, it was assumed that freeze drying fruits and vegetables eliminated the issue of tolaim (insect infestation) by getting rid of the bugs completely or making them inedible (k’aitz – like wood). This was especially relevant to raspberries and blackberries. Research was done to verify this and it was the accepted conclusion.
Recently, in the course of reviewing some ingredients, this situation came up again and the OK sent some product samples to a renowned posek and kashrus authority. After a thorough inspection and rehydration, the rabbi found some whole insects in the product that returned to their original state and may no longer be in the category of inedible (k’aitz). We then sent additional products for inspection and the rabbonim arrived at the same conclusion.
Therefore, the OK changed our policy and will no longer certify or approve (as ingredients) freeze dried raspberries and blackberries. This does not affect pureed raspberries and blackberries. If we are able to guarantee that the product will not be rehydrated, freeze dried raspberries and blackberries could still receive approval.
The OK has taken steps to share our findings with various organizations and kashrus agencies. I am sure my esteemed father, Rabbi Berel Levy ob”m, is proud that the OK continues to take the high road on kashrus issues and stands fast to our convictions even in the face of potential economic loss
Wishing all of our readers a kosher and freilichen Pesach,
Rabbi Don Yoel Levy