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Etrog jam may be poisonous

October 3, 2009

Today’s Maayanei Hayeshua magazine published an article about a lady that distributes etrog peels as a segula for various problems.

Last year, I was thinking of making etrog jam and giving it out to women as a segula for easy delivery. However, someone pointed out to me that etrog growers use a huge amount of pesticides to keep the bugs away and preserve the etrogs’ appearances. Apparently, since etrogs are not usually eaten, the authorities do not regulate the amount of pesticides used on them.

We set out to check the facts. After contacting one of the leading etrog growers in Israel we were told that they do use large amounts of very strong pesticides to keep the etrog trees free of infestation. The grower thought that if using an etrog that had been picked months ago and had since turned very yellow, it was possible to wash the insecticide on the superficial surface of the etrog skin, since it would probably wear off by then. However, he said that he could not vouch for how deep the insecticide sinks into the fruit.

I would suggest that before consuming etrogs or etrog jam, you may want to weigh the segula against the possible dangerous effects of the insecticide (especially if you are expecting).

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2009 10:22 pm

    Did the growers tell you which pesticides were used for growing the etrogim? I stumbled across this study…-a0198707078 and it sounds like the pesticide called imazalil can diffuse through orange skins to the pulp. Of course you’d also need to know what is considered a safe amount of pesticide for humans.
    moadim lsimcha!

    • Leah permalink*
      October 3, 2009 10:44 pm

      Thanks for the link Meira. I don’t know which pesticide they are using, but they sure use a lot of it. I wouldn’t eat an etrog unless I was sure it came from an orchard that was not sprayed.

  2. October 4, 2009 8:02 pm

    I’m disturbed that there is no regulation on pesticides for non-food crops. The pesticides leach into the ground and into the water supply, and we end up ingesting them anyway.

    • Leah permalink*
      October 4, 2009 8:16 pm

      I am with you on this one.

      Take a look at my other post on Gush Katif veggies. These we ingest directly. Rav Shmuel Eliyahu suggested this is grounds for a class-action suit.

  3. October 8, 2009 10:24 pm

    I was going to make esrog jam and give it to my 5 year old daughter who is very speech delayed. I heard that it works wonders on speech. Now what do I do?


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