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Nowadays you can purchase pre checked fresh lettuce, and frozen checked veggies. What is more preferable - to check yourself or to purchase pre checked?

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"What is more L'Chatchila..." - Don't you mean "what is more preferable", since by definition, when in a position to ask this question, one is approaching it mil'chat'chila? (Using the word "preferable" would probably also increase the question's legibility.) –  WAF Jan 19 '11 at 23:20
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Halacha does not require us to check for bugs unless a product has a halachic certainty of having bugs (chazaka- which may require checking mideoraisa) or commonly has bugs (matzui, which requires checking miderabanan).

The best possible method to do a large amount of lettuce is to create a halachic certainty that there are no bugs (a chazaka) by checking 3 heads. If they are clean, the rest of the batch can be halachically assumed to be clean. (Heard from R' S. Eider)

Most of the hashgachas on the triple washed lettuce merely relied on the washing process and possibly spot checks. I can only assume that they held that (at least when pesticides are used), it is at best "matsui" and the triple wash with chemicals is assumed to release any remaining bugs.

Practically, I have found that fresh leaves that have been sprayed with pesticides are very clean. Though I check them anyway, I do so after rinsing with only water. I can go through a head in less than 10 minutes. I have found a brand of organic leaves that still have hashgacha (not iceberg), but have stopped buying them because every container I bought had a bug on almost every leaf.

R' Heineman permitted plain frozen vegetables without hashgacha. I was told by a colleague that he did so after seeing the process in the factory. The vegetable would be spun and drained and spun again. If any bugs were found after the second spin, the batch would be tossed since if any bugs were found, people would stop buying the brand. I assume the heter is similar to the triple-wash above.

Halacha l'maisa: Consult your Rav if you should go by the triple-wash or frozen veggies. If you are using a hashgacha that is "machzik" their batches, there is no need to check leaves or veggies any more than you need to check a banana.

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Wait... so we need to check bananas now? (Joke.) –  msh210 Jan 20 '11 at 5:54
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Star-K describing their policy on pre-washed bags: "With a vegetable cleaning system, the means of creating a chazakah is to see if the system can effectively clean three batches of lettuce, or any other leafy vegetable, that you know was previously contaminated. After going through the wash system three samples are checked. If the samples are found to be free of infestation, a chazakah on the system has been achieved. It can now be assumed that the system can effectively clean the vegetables and no more checking is required!" star-k.org/kashrus/kk-vegetables-washed.htm –  Shalom Jan 20 '11 at 14:11
    
@mhs-I used to host a Rosh Kollel from Eretz Yisrael who's posek told him he needs to check all fruit! But that my point- there is no guarantee that your fruit is bug free, but the requirement to check is only when it's "halachically common". –  YDK Jan 20 '11 at 15:21
    
@ Shalom- A chazaka on the system! I wonder if that's where the dispute starts? –  YDK Jan 20 '11 at 15:24
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I would imagine both; buy pre-checked lettuce, then rinse and check them with a quick once over.

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Why do you so imagine? –  msh210 Jul 24 '12 at 21:08
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I know that R' Avraham Blumenkrantz zt"l wrote very sharply (in his annual Pesach guide) against what he called the "commercialization" of checking for bugs, the standards for which, he argued, are inadequate.

With that said, though, it may just depend on whether you have the necessary qualities (patience and sharpness of eyesight, among others) to do a proper job yourself. If you do, then indeed it's probably much better to do so rather than to rely on someone else's word. Otherwise, though, you're likely better off with the pre-checked vegetables, since then at least there's a reasonable chance that they are bug-free.

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