Response to the OK Pesach 5775 Article on Tropicana
We will be posting an additional response to this article. The article states as follows: Summer 5774 (2014 ) The first time he ever heard of insect infestation. Checked in office and found nothing. Notified Tropicana and they did extensive testing and found nothing. Winter 5775 (2015) Claim by person in Lakewood. Took fine mesh cloth and filtered nothing found. Invited person to demonstrate methodology for finding insects and invitation was refused by person. Bought more Orange Juice and had Rabbi Eckstein filter and inspect. Several dots were found. Sent the samples to Lab. Lab confirmed dots were not insects.
The Lab Test According to Rabbi Eckstein the following took place אמנם לפע"ד לאחר שבימים האחרונים נתברר ידיעה חדשה ע"י בירור המעבדה נראה צד גדול להתיר בשופי כדאבאר . המומחים שבמערכת הכשרות של "האוי קאי" עשו הסינון כדמיבעי ולקטו מעל גבי המסננת כל החלקים שנראה להם לפי התמונות והבירורים שאכן הם חלקי השרץ והמגן וניכרים הם במראם שהם מראה חום ושלחו כל אותן הפירורים הדקים למעבדה ידוע בעלת שם. ותשובת המעבדה ברורה שרובן מאותן פירורין הם מחלקי גרעיני הפרי שנתפררו על ידי הסחיטה ועוד חלקים מהקליפה עצמה ואינם שרצים כלל
First we must inform everyone that Rabbi Eckstein also gives supervision on an OJ company. This means that the data collection was done under the supervision of interested parties only. There was no independent party to validate what was sent and what was not sent. Why wasn’t Marvin Winston commissioned to purchase Tropicana in a supermarket next to his office in NJ and do the sampling from what he purchased and not what was cherry picked and sent to him. This flawed method of data collection invalidates any results received. It was sent in towel paper, which dried out all of the insects’ moisture.
Rabbi Eckstein says that the sample was sent to a famous lab with a prominent name. After quick search on the internet we see that according to buzzfile he has only one employee. http://www.buzzfile.com/business/Winston-Marvin-Food-Consultant-732-679-1121 According to the following it appears his facility is only 846 square feet. [It’s his kitchen counter and sink] http://www.retailreport.com/uploads/spaces/browntown_flyer.pdf The biggest problem is the recipient of the sampling was not a lab but a consultant. The claim that a famous lab with a prominent name did the testing is ridiculous.
The Real Problem The issue of scale bug infestation of oranges is not new. In 1889 (125 years ago) the California orange crop was almost completely destroyed by scale bugs. For a complete history of how the citrus growers fought off the scale bugs then and until the current, you can purchase the following book. http://www.thepress.purdue.edu/titles/format/9781557532855
The August 76 issue of Consumer Reports contains a report on frozen orange juice. They tested 6 eight oz samples of 27 brands. The infestation problem was not the focus of the report so they did not publish the exact number of scale bugs found in their sampling except for the worst 2.
We now have a baseline that for at least the last 39 years OJ has been infested. There were three classifications 1> relatively free 2> not relatively free 3> offenders. The worst of the offenders had 300 scales for 6 containers of frozen which comes to 50 scales per container. The next to worse had several dozen (which we will say must mean at least 2) which would be 24 for 6 containers this comes to 4 per container. The relatively free had either none (2 brands were immaculate) or a few whole insects (13 brands rated as relatively free). Tropicana was in category 2 which means it was not relatively free. According to CR we are dealing with whole scale bugs. If the CR definition of whole scale bugs meets the Halachic standards of בריה then BITUL would not help. All the TSHUVAS printed in the article are irrelevant since 25 of 27 brands had a minimum of 2 whole bugs per six containers they reached the 10% threshold for בדיקה . If the CR definition of whole scale bugs does not meet the Halachic definition because they were נתרסק (mutilated ) it would still be prohibited to drink Tropicana without straining since the TSHUVOS quoted by the OK are not to be relied upon. Further in the article they discuss liquid orange juice. Again Tropicana does not do too well.
Anyone with the slightest knowledge of agriculture can tell you that since the anti pesticide paradigm has taken over the farming industry, insect infestation has increased exponentially. We can only say that in the past 39 years things have only deteriorated immeasurably. The CR statement that scale insects are ubiquitous is just as true today as 39 years ago. We now have a major national lab (CR) that concurs with the findings of all the בודקים and חשובער אברכים who have given from their precious time to investigate this problem and save the Tzibur from the prohibition of שרצים.
Before certifying a product that has an infestation problem at least two things have to done. The first one is to guarantee the technology used to produce the product has the functionality to prevent the insects from ending up in the food eaten by the consumer. The second is a monitoring protocol to ensure that everything is functioning properly. These organizations have done neither. Their rationalization is that infestation doesn’t exist. We must remind everyone that this organization also claims that adulteration of Cocoa also doesn’t exist.
We must realize that scale bug infestation of OJ exists today. Anyone searching thru the internet can find dozens of articles discussing the issue. We have CR and the many Rabbonim who have tested and found either whole scale bugs or scale bug parts in OJ. The ability to avoid violating the prohibition involved with scale infestation is very simple. After purchasing orange juice from the store pour it into a container using a filter with the correct mesh value, which can be purchased in many hardware stores, and then refrigerate it. This one 80 mesh certified by the Bdatz Aida for filtering juice, can be purchased at Monsey Housewares
We must remember words of חז"ל that say גדול עונשו של לבן יותר מעונשו של תכלת Since this is an easy law to abide by the punishment for violating it is increased.
TOSHAV MONSEY firstname.lastname@example.org
The CR article can be downloaded at http://www.bohirus.com/pdf/current/cr.pdf