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EU Discriminates Against Shechitah

Europe takes another step towards discriminating against kosher food: Negative labels might soon be placed on meat produced by shechitah.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 6/20/2010, 6:54 PM / Last Update: 6/21/2010, 8:58 AM

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Europe takes another step towards discriminating against kosher food: Negative labels might soon be placed on meat produced by shechitah.

The European Parliament backed a proposal this past Wednesday to require special labeling on meat produced by Jewish ritual slaughter, known as shechita. According to the new resolution, the meat would be marked as “meat from slaughter without stunning.”

This would make such meat – some of which is sold on the non-kosher market – unattractive to non-kosher consumers. 

Not all animals, or parts thereof, that are slaughtered according to the rules of shechitah may be eaten. Some animals are found to be unfit after slaughter, while the hindquarters even of acceptable animals are not eaten - because of the difficulty in removing the gid hanasheh (sciatic nerve) and the cheilev (forbidden fats). In addition, some customs require that especially large blood vessels be removed.

If these parts of the kosher-slaughtered animals cannot be sold to those who eat non-kosher, it will drive up the prices of kosher meat to exorbitant levels. On the other hand, some have suggested a renewal of the nikkur (porging) practice, in which skilled Torah scholars can remove – and teach others to remove – the forbidden parts, thus rendering the rest of the hindquarters kosher and sellable to consumers who keep kosher.

The EU Parliament’s approval of the new regulation does not yet make it law in the European Union, however. The bill must also still pass a  EU Commission vote, scheduled for the “near future.”

In other shechitah-related news, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger has announced that he will remove the kosher certification from South American meat unless the slaughterhouses there stop their "shackle-and-hoist" methods, which have been deemed cruel. Israel receives almost 80% of its imported meat from South America. The Rabbi set the year 2011 as the deadline.