Published Winter 2016

While the act of shechitah itself is an exquisitely humane form of animal slaughter, the manner in which an animal is handled prior to reaching the shochet should also conform with the Torah’s sensitivity for tza’ar ba’alei chaim (the prohibition against causing unnecessary pain and harm to creatures). Our mission to certify meat products of the highest quality was recently enhanced when two prominent members of our meat team, Rabbi Zvi Holland and Rabbi Tzvi Shaul Goldberg, traveled to Iowa in order to take part in an accredited certification program through PAACO (Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization). Instructors included world renowned experts in the field of animal welfare such as Dr. Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University and consultant to the livestock industry. She is considered a leading authority on animal welfare.

Published Winter 2016

Often when consumers purchase meat from a butcher shop, or eat at a restaurant or catered event, they are unaware of the original hashgacha that certified the meat as kosher at its point of origin. They place their confidence in the retail establishment’s kosher certification to determine the acceptability of the received product.
Some shoppers have a preference for meat produced by specific companies, trusting that this producer always conforms to a single set of kosher standards. However, unbeknownst to the consumer the company may actually produce their products at different locations, supervised by various hashgochos that do not all share the same standards. In January 2016, Congress repealed country-of-origin labeling laws for packaged meat products, making it more difficult for consumers to track where their meat comes from.
STAR-K certified meat/poultry companies and retail establishments consistently satisfy the requirements set by HaRav Moshe Heinemann, shlit”a, regardless of […]

Published Winter 2016

All the knives of the shochtim must be checked to ensure that they are sharp and without even the slightest ‘pegima’. This must be done before and after the shechitah.
There must be a sink with running water near the place of shechitah for the shochtim to sharpen their knives.
Animals may not be prodded to the shechitah box with a plug-in electric prod.
The head restraint in the box which holds the animal during shechitah must be calibrated so that the animal’s head cannot move during shechitah, but not so tightly that it affects the animal’s breathing.
A system must be in place, to track any animal that becomes a nevaila.
Animals may not be stunned at any time after the shechitah.
No hot water may be used on the animals anywhere in the slaughter house.
No electric current may be applied to the animal at any point, including when used to tenderize the […]

Published Winter 2016

It is written in our Torah, “Ubosor basodeh treifa lo socheilu” (Shmos 22:30), it is forbidden to eat treif meat.  While the expression “treif” (non-kosher) has become the universal connotation for food that is not kosher, in truth, the word treif specifically refers to an animal whose flesh was torn or ripped.  Technically speaking, if a kosher species of animal or fowl was attacked by a predator, the meat of the victim may be deemed treif.  However, the meat of an animal improperly kosher slaughtered is not treifah, it is called a neveila.  Technically, meat of a non-kosher animal species is the meat of a temeiah.  Yet, the term “treif” has found its way through the portals of the slaughterhouse, as well as the aisles of the non-kosher meat section of the supermarkets.  No matter what the name, all of these categories of meat are forbidden to be […]

Published Winter 2016

Keeping kosher does not preclude being a locavore,[1] but it definitely presents substantial challenges, particularly for omnivores. Barely a handful of communities in the world today still host facilities where kosher meat is processed from slaughter to salting, and sold from steak to salami, all within close proximity to a kosher consumer base. Like most items in the modern marketplace, it’s much more common to find beef and poultry products traveling vast distances from slaughterhouse to processor, and from distributor to retailer, before reaching the dinner table.

The Old Way
This very untraditional configuration has uprooted the once prominent communal fixtures of shochet and bodek (one who checks for abnormalities that render meat treifah). It’s also a complete departure from an extreme version of locavorism that was practiced in many pre-war European kehilos, which legislated bans on ‘sh’chutay chutz’, not allowing meat slaughtered in a different city to be […]