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I am aware of this question and of the CRC's lenient policy on lettuce without a hechsher. However, everywhere I've been, it is assumed that one needs to check (pre-washed, even triple-washed) bagged lettuce if it doesn't have a hechsher on the bag. I proceed on the assumption that it is the minhag, if not the halacha, to do so.

My question is instead about pre-checked lettuce with a hechsher on the bag, which one can sometimes find, even from mainstream brands and in regular stores. Strictly speaking, does one need wash and/or check this before use? A few points:

  • My kosher grocery store carried a sign saying something like "Bagged lettuce without a hechsher on the bag must be checked" (perhaps implying, perhaps correctly that bagged lettuce with a hechsher doesn't need to be checked).

  • However, a friend of mine who knows her way around a kosher kitchen suggested to me that even bagged lettuce with a hechsher should be checked (although she didn't seem particularly sure or emphatic about it).

  • There is also the consideration of whether lettuce needs to be checked in principle, even if only by cursory inspection.

Can anyone bring sources to answer this question definitively? Does commercially available bagged lettuce with a reliable hechsher need to be personally checked before it can be used?

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    Often the lettuce that you supposedly don't need to check is full if insecticide. Personally I check all my lettuce,, hechsher or not,, and believe it may be a mitzvah to do so (albeit one on which you don't say a b'racha). – CashCow Jul 5 '16 at 13:51
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The OU and cRc have the policy that bagged, washed iceberg lettuce is almost never a bug issue. Therefore, a bagged iceberg (or iceberg/cabbage/carrot) mix with a hechsher needs no further checking.

(Iceberg forms a very tight head, which is harder for bugs to penetrate. As the OU's Rabbi Genack said, "why do people prefer romaine lettuce? Brighter color, more vitamins, stronger flavor -- well, the bugs like it more for the same reasons!")

For romaine ... it depends what degree of non-bug certainty you require, and whose hechsher it is. A Star-K or OU on the bag means that statistically, this washing process has been found to reduce the odds of a bug to under 10%, which most poskim consider good enough. (Now is that odds of one bug per serving or per bag ... depends who you ask once again!) In their opinion, a bag with such a hechsher is ready to eat. (Though if you happen to see a bug, don't eat it!)

More right-wing hashgachos would want a probability far less than 9.9%, and assurances stronger than statistics on the process (e.g. human checkers).

I contacted a different lettuce machshir that basically said "it's triple washed so it should be fine"; the Star-K or OU would probably want additional checking in that situation.

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    If you can place some links to any articles listing these findings, please do so. Reading "between the lines", I think these organizations require a much stricter checking process for restaurants than they do for home use, even if both places use the same product. 2 Ortho. rabannim I know who are heads of a Va'ad told me that the Torah does not require one to use an X-RAY light or magnifying glass to find bugs in any produce. – DanF Jul 5 '16 at 15:26
  • @Shalom I'm surprised that OU and especially the CRC would allow eating an iceberg/cabbage/carrot mix without a hechsher. Do they consider that pre-shredded carrots don't need a hechsher? Certainly not everyone does – SAH Dec 15 '16 at 6:06

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