Dairy cows
Dairy cowsIsrael news photo: file

The Israel Agriculture Association has announced that dairy cows will begin receiving kosher for Passover bedding this week, and beginning next week, will get kosher for Passover food as well.

Dairy cows normally sleep on hay, from wheat plants. However, due to concern that the hay could stick to the animals' bodies and trace amounts could enter the milk, the animals will sleep on non-wheat bedding beginning on Tuesday of this week.

In addition, milk will be specially filtered to ensure that no traces of grain enter the final product.

The cows' normal diet, which includes fermented wheat and other grains that Jews are forbidden to eat on Passover, would not render their milk unsuitable for consumption on Passover. However, Jews are forbidden to derive any benefit from grains that are not kosher for Passover during the holiday, a prohibition which for dairy farmers extends to the food given to their herds.

The cows' temporary new diet will consist primarily of corn and legumes, which Ashkenazi Jews do not traditionally eat on Passover but are permitted to own and make use of them on Passover.

Israel is home to roughly 120,000 dairy cows, which are expected to produce approximately 1,250 million liters of milk in 2010. The average dairy cow in Israel gives 11,000 liters of milk a year, putting Israel at first place worldwide for milk production per cow. Israelis consume an average of 160 liters of milk a year per person.