Based on information provided by leading Kashrut experts in the field, at present there are extremely high levels of thrip infestation in strawberries all over the world.
Very recent research, both locally and abroad, has shown that even the most thorough washing systems currently in place are inadequate in ridding the strawberries completely of thrips and thrip larvae.
Thrips (tiny insects approximately 1mm long which are sometimes yellow to white) can hide under the seeds and therefore survive the most stringent cleaning methods. An untrained eye cannot detect this bug, though it is not microscopic in size. The ingestion of even one such insect can be a severe Torah prohibition – not one, but six prohibitions! In this respect it is far worse than eating pork!
As a result, a large number of Kashrut organizations Israel, the USA and Canada have either disallowed or discouraged the use of strawberries. Some allow their use, but require very time-consuming and cumbersome efforts, making it virtually impossible for an average person (i.e., not an expert checker) to guarantee that they have sufficiently cleaned their strawberries.
The Beth Din therefore suggests that people refrain from eating fresh strawberries. Strawberry jam, ice cream, yoghurt and juice are still under invstigation at this stage and are not affected.
We will continue to monitor the situation and keep the community advised.