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In discussing washing salted meat according to Halachah, there is a lengthy discussion about whether and when we can rely on a non-Jew who claims to have done it.

The Tur (Y"D 69:10) says that there is a disagreement between the Smak and the Riva. The Smak says we can rely on their word if they happen to tell us without realizing that they are giving us the information we want to hear, and that we can rely on them if there had been someone entering and exiting, which itself is broken down into two reasons: fear that they might be caught not washing it, and a general assumption that non-Jews are careful about cleanliness. The Riva says we don't rely on their word at all because we can just have a non-Jewish chef taste it and tell us if there's a salty taste.

Later sources discuss further stringencies and leniencies, including a fear that if they know our customs they may be more apt to lie to reassure us. My understanding is that the general rule of thumb we follow is that, for Ashkenazim, if they casually tell us we can rely on them, whereas for Sepharadim, only if there is someone going in and out may they be trusted.

These issues are mentioned with regard to washing salted meat because that was a common issue that people dealt with - having partially prepared meat in the kitchen with non-Jewish servants around. But the bottom-line issues are relevant across the board.

My question is, with regard to bugs in produce, are we allowed to trust non-Jews in places like restaurants, where there is a minimum requirement of cleanliness required by the government, who spot-checks food establishments (similar to entering and exiting), as well as a reputation they want to uphold that their food is clean? Many people eat salads at business lunches that are held in non-Kosher restaurants. Can they rely on the salad being bug-free for these reasons?

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I see what's bugging you. –  Gershon Gold Aug 20 '13 at 20:05
    
@GershonGold yuk yuk. Also, yuck. –  Seth J Aug 20 '13 at 20:43

2 Answers 2

I think the answer here lies in the fact that, while we can trust a non-Jew trained in bug removal to do his job, we can't rely on a regular restaurant to fully remove bugs to the point that would satisfy the halachic needs of bug removal. At best, if you have a really strict vegan restaurant, they might theoretically remove bugs to a satisfactory degree if you know they do so. Also theoretically, you could check the salad yourself, but that would likely not go over well during your business luncheon, depending what the salad is made from.

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Synapse, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thank you for your perspective on this. My question, though, is from the standpoint of Halachah: may a person rely on non-Jewish checking based on the principles outlined in the Tur 69:10 regarding trusting a non-Jew's report and general cleanliness. –  Seth J Aug 20 '13 at 17:08
    
Has anyone said yea or nay? –  Seth J Aug 20 '13 at 17:09

From the OU:

The FDA tolerance levels of insect infestation in produce are far more permissive than proper halachic standards. For example, the US government allows averages of up to 60 insects per 100 grams in frozen broccoli, and up to 50 insects per 100 grams of frozen spinach (See Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act 402 (a)(3)). (There are no FDA action levels written specifically for fresh salad mixes, and typically the standard required throughout the industry for leafy vegetables is the frozen spinach FDA tolerance level).

My understanding is that from a food-safety perspective, the occasional bug in a salad is not a big concern. Hence the restaurant's interest or government inspections alone aren't enough to guarantee the level of certainty that's needed to call it kosher. (Which most American poskim put at a chance of <10% that there's a bug in your serving.)

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Shalom, thanks for your perspective on this. My question, though, is from the standpoint of Halachah: may a person rely on non-Jewish checking based on the principles outlined in the Tur 69:10 regarding trusting a non-Jew's report and general cleanliness. –  Seth J Aug 20 '13 at 17:09
    
Has anyone said yea or nay? –  Seth J Aug 20 '13 at 17:09
    
"The occasional" is more than 10%??? Something tells me the FDA wouldn't like someone saying 10% of the salads they serve are infested. –  Double AA Aug 20 '13 at 18:54
    
@DoubleAA Probably 1 little bug crawling around wouldn't be enough for someone to call the salad "infested". It would be enough to make it unkosher, though. –  Daniel Aug 20 '13 at 19:47
    
@Daniel Tell that to the guy who finds the ant in his salad. Halacha aside, you wouldn't ask for a serious discount? –  Double AA Aug 20 '13 at 21:26

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