The ultra-Orthodox Britain-based Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (Kedassia Beis Din) has banned consumption of strawberries due to a fear of tiny, microscopic bugs:
An emergency alert was released proclaiming that even with extensive checks and washing, the berries are not to be eaten.
It read: “Until now, the method of washing strawberries thoroughly in soapy water in order to remove any insects was considered halachically (by Jewish religious law) sufficient. However, recent tests have proven that even after this rigorous procedure, insects are still present.
“Until this problem is solved therefore, fresh strawberries should not be eaten.”
A spokesman Keddasia told EJP the organization has spent the last week trying out new methods of cleaning in an effort to lift the ban.
“If you peel the strawberry like a potato then of course it is okay to eat but we want to find a method that is somewhat less drastic,” he said.
“For hundreds of years we have known strawberries contain tiny bugs but we always thought the way we cleaned them was fine. Now we need to find a new method.”
Keddasia is run by the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, the most prominent ultra-orthodox organization in the UK.
Using this standard, few, if any, vegetables and berries will now be kosher.
Coming after the sheitel ban, which was based on false information and "may" soon be retracted, the NYC water ban (same), the R. Slifkin Book Ban (same, but no retraction forseen), and countless other minor bans (of the same nature), along with the rabbis' defense of throat-ripping at Rubashkins and oral-to-genital-contact during circumcision (even with the risk of disease transmission and the infant's death), the Strawberry Ban is sure to drive even more fed-up Jews out of the Orthodox camp entirely.
Where they will end up is a very open question.