How could something so small be that bad for you? That was one of the questions addressed at COR’s recent bug checking seminar given to the Eitz Chaim girl’s school in Toronto. Over 140 students and teachers participated in a presentation by Rabbi Yechiel Teichman, one of COR’s talented Rabbinic Coordinators, and Richard Rabkin, Director of Marketing & Business Development.
Rabbi Teichman explained to the girls why insect infestation has become a more significant problem in recent years – because when governments banned the use of insecticides due to their harmful environmental effects, insects came back with a vengeance. He also took the students through an innovative slide show that documented the types of bugs often found in fruits and vegetables, and pictures of the bugs “in action” hiding in hard to reach places on certain vegetable types such as broccoli. Finally, Rabbi Teichman demonstrated the proper way to wash fruits and vegetables to ensure that they are insect free.
COR’s Director of Marketing, Richard Rabkin, was on hand to make sure that the students were attentive by giving out some of COR’s now famous COR cookies to girls who answered questions correctly. He also told the girls about food products that are found on supermarket shelves that have insects in them. For example, “cochineal” is a type of beetle that is often used to produce scarlet, orange or red dies in food. It takes about 70,000 cochineals to make one pound of cochineal die and is used in many common drinks including Tropicana Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice and Dole Diced Peaches in Strawberry Gel. This fact of course elicited an overwhelming “Ewwww!” from the audience. Thankfully, kosher certified food will never have cochineal/carmine extract – another reason to always look for the COR symbol!
Of course COR made sure to emphasize that eating fruits and vegetables is a crucial component to a healthy diet, but simply cleaning them first ensures a healthy “spiritual diet.”
Which brings us back to the original question – could something so small – a bug – really be that bad for you? Well, viruses have proven that particles that are microscopic have the ability to take life, so insects which are visible to the naked eye, and forbidden by the Torah, can surely spiritually damaging.
To sum up the experience, one of the Eitz Chaim girls described the COR in the Community bug checking seminar succinctly, “Bugs are gross, and COR’s cookies are awesome.” Indeed.