The Chief Rabbinate on Sunday warned Israelis to check their rice – for bugs. In a letter, the Rabbinate's kashrut division wrote that “tons of rice have been infested with insects. The rice has been distributed to stores throughout the country. The presence of the insects has been confirmed by inspectors in several areas that were checked.”
The source of the problem, a Rabbinate official said, was in improper storage of the rice. The rice was apparently kept in too hot of a storage unit when it was imported, leading to an outbreak of insects. Much of the rice was bound for use in restaurants and institutions, but some of it is likely to show up on store shelves.
Restaurants, institutions, and marketers who get the rice have been instructed on how to check for the insects' presence. They have instructions to return the rice to the importer if insects are found. Consumers are instructed to check the rice as well. A small amount of rice in eah bag should be checked carefully, and if no bugs are found consumers can assume there is no problem. If bugs are found, they should return the rice to the place of purchase.
The problem was discovered by several kashrut inspectors in the field, and the Rabbinate praised them, saying that the process of discovery and quick action was proof that Israel's kashrut system was sound.