Q: I bought an item in a store that is popular in our family because of its reputation for insect-free products, only to discover that it was infested. I passed the information on to my mother, so that she would know to be mindful of checking for bugs. I’m worried that since I shared my experience with her, my parents have stopped buying in that store, and I’m concerned that the information I passed on constitutes lashon hara. How can I correct what I did?
A: Storekeepers are not responsible for products packaged by the manufacturer, and therefore divulging such information does not constitute lashon hara, because the infestation is not their fault. A storekeeper is responsible for nuts, seeds and other products sold “by the pound.” If the latter were the case, another determining factor would be how the information was relayed. The conditions for lashon hara l’toeles must be adhered to, i.e. no exaggeration, with no personal grudge in mind, and no harm to the storekeeper intended. If you said the above with the sole purpose of passing on the awareness that even products from this store need to be checked, it wouldn’t be considered lashon hara, and the fact that they no longer buy there is irrelevant.
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