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I have noticed that some non-Jewish owned produce stores in U.S. have someone trimming the rotten or ugly leaves off the edge of lettuce, cabbage and other similar leafy vegetables. The knife used is cold but it comes from an unknown source. The same knife may have been used to cut unkosher meat, fish, onions, etc. There is no knowing where the knife has been used.

Can someone buy such produce? Would it be sufficient to manually remove an extra layer of leaves from these vegetables after buying them?

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The OU in discussing cut fruit at the office says it is permitted.

If your co-workers bought a fruit platter from a supermarket, you may partake of the fruit since you can assume the supermarket has a dedicated knife for fruit platters. Additionally, due to the sheer volume of fruit cut at one time in such a scenario, we regard the knives and surfaces as clean. The same applies to precut watermelon sold in supermarkets; there is no need to trim the edges.

The halachot of cut salads (assuming there is no concern of insect infestation) would be similar to what we discussed above regarding fruit.

  • This is useful info for me for a separate question that I was wondering about, that you indirectly answered. However, I don't think this scenario would apply to mine, here. Fruit and veg. platters are often done in a separate department - sometimes by the "deli" or "catering" dept. in the back of the store, which may have separate dedicated tables and areas for such prep. Also, when preparing platters, they often use machines or food processors, also dedicated for just the fruit. In my scenario, it is being done in the open where the produce bins are, and a man sits there w/ the knife. – DanF Apr 30 '15 at 21:12
  • @DanF Why is that different? – Double AA Apr 30 '15 at 21:28
  • @DoubleAA as mentioned in comment, I think with "catering", there is a better chance of using dedicated knives and, even more likely, machines. Platters are often "mass produced" such as what you get in Costco. They tend to use food processors reserved for fruit, etc. In my case, a single guy is using a knife, which I don't think may be dedicated for just the veggies. It's my sense of what goes on, not definitive proof. I've worked w/ some non-Jewish caterers in the past. – DanF Apr 30 '15 at 21:37

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