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).