Daily Israel Report

Kosher Meat in Europe is Safe - for Now

An anti-shechita amendment to the European Union’s food labeling laws has been rejected – but Rabbinical Centre of Europe still cautions.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 12/13/2010, 2:43 PM / Last Update: 12/13/2010, 2:39 PM

Israel news photo

An anti-shechita amendment to the European Union’s food labeling laws has been rejected by the European Council of Ministers – but the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE) warns that it might come up for yet another vote next year.

The EU Ministers convened on Thursday and rejected a kosher labeling amendment.

Last June, the European Parliament voted in support of Amendment 205, which called for all meat products that undergo shechita, or Jewish ritual slaughter, to be labeled “meat from slaughter without stunning.” This would have led many European consumers to shun the products, leading to heavy losses for kosher meat providers.

A new draft will return to the European Parliament for a second reading in 2011, at hich time Amendment 205 could be reintroduced.

“It is vitally important that the ministers sent a clear message that this amendment is problematic and discriminatory,” said Rabbi Arye Goldberg, Deputy Director of the RCE. “However, the battle is not won, as the new draft will return to the European Parliament for a second reading next year. And we must be vigilant to prevent this amendment from eventually passing.”

“While we have won the battle,” Goldberg added, “we have not yet won the war. This type of labeling would create a major blow for European Jewry if passed. We will continue to work to ensure that the Jews in Europe can continue to maintain our religious practices without discrimination or any other difficulties.”