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For first time: Foie gras gets Glatt Kosher stamp

The Chief Rabbinical Council of Israel approved on Monday the importation of glatt kosher certified foie gras to Israel. The decision was reached in a telephone poll conducted among the council members. Foie gras has always been only non-glatt kosher in the past.

Last year, a member of the Chief Rabbinical Council, Rabbi Simcha Weiss, together with Prof. Ari Z. Zivotofsky and Rabbi Roei Ginon (geese expert from Chief Rabbinate), visited a slaughterhouse in Hungary operating under the ‘EMIH’ – Hungarian Jewish Community Association, headed by Rabbi Shlomo Koves, to closely monitor the process of fattening the birds.

Upon his return to Israel, a special team was set up in order to develop a unique program that would allow to import goose liver products with a glatt kosher certification.

On Monday, the Rabbinical Council approved the committee’s recommendations. Hungarian Csengele kosher slaughterhouse is the first (and only for now) to receive Glatt certification for goose liver.

Foie gras importers will now have to meet a number of new requirements in order for goose liver to be certified with as a glatt kosher stamp. Document was published detailing the requirements developed by the Chief Rabbinical Council.

Among other things, it is required that the breeding and fattening farms be located within the same site.

The document stipulates that the food for the geese should minimize the chances of esophageal injury in the birds. For example, corn kernels should be prepared in such a way, so that they would not retain any coarse and sharp edges or contain any whole grains in the mix. It was also mandated that the feeding should be executed through a silicone tube without any sharp points.

And, last, but not least, the new regulations call for supervisors to be made available to carry out inspections at the site of fattening and to closely monitor this process. As for the rate of slaughter per minute, it is recommended that each slaughterhouse worker should not exceed 4-5 geese per minute. In addition, slaughterhouses will have to be checked routinely by a professional kashrut inspector (mashgiach).

Source: Arutz Sheva


EMIH, with the permission of the Hungarian government, has helped bring six shochtim to work at a kosher slaughterhouse in Csengele (123 km southeast of Budapest) in recent weeks. In compliance with lockdown rules, the shochtim arrived with negative tests for the novel coronavirus.

The slaughterhouse in Csengele is expected to turn out almost one million birds this year, supplying close to 40% of the European market

Mainly geese are slaughtered at the facility in Csengele. As a slaughterhouse for geese, the Csengele institution, Quality Poultry KFT, had a capacity of only 2,400 animals a day when it opened in 2017. It is the only kosher slaughterhouse for geese in Europe, providing foie gras – a delicacy made from goose liver – to France, Israel and beyond.

The switch to chicken is meant to alleviate what Koves expects to be a growing shortage in kosher meat in Europe at least because of the virus. Also, it can switch to producing chicken meat to mitigate a projected shortfall in kosher meat due to the coronavirus.

At the slaughterhouse in Csengele, which is 80 miles southeast of Budapest, about 10,000 chickens can be be slaughtered each day, Rabbi Shlomo Koves, who heads Hungary’s Chabad-affiliated EMIH Jewish federation, said.

The switch to chicken is meant to alleviate what Koves expects to be a growing shortage in kosher meat in Europe at least because of the virus.

Travel restrictions have made it impossible for rabbis, slaughterers and kashrut inspectors to travel across Europe. This means that many kosher slaughterhouses that operated on an ad hoc basis can no longer provide kosher meat. Ad hoc kosher slaughterhouses, mainly in Poland and other parts of central Europe, account for a significant portion of the total produced in Europe.

Additionally, kosher slaughterhouses in Western Europe have shuttered temporarily — also because many of their laborers are foreign nationals from elsewhere in Europe and have returned to their countries of origin because of the virus.

England and France “provide for us with the consumption of our kosher products” yearlong, Koves said. “Now it is our turn to look after them.”

Source: JTA