July 29, 2013

The EU a Continued Thorn for Kosher

Jerusalem… The latest action by the European Union to curtail any relationship with companies and institutions beyond the Green Line is a potential threat to many kosher food companies that produce beyond the Green Line and export their foods to EU countries, KosherToday has learned. The action would also apply to the Golan Heights where many foods, particularly wines, are exported to EU countries. While some Israeli sources say that food and wine represents only a small portion of the $287 million worth of goods produced beyond the Green Line each year, some estimated food and wine sales to Europe to be as much as $50 million.

The EU has also attempted to regulate schechita (kosher slaughter) as it tightened humane slaughter laws but in the end extended an exemption to ritual slaughter by Jews and Muslims. Sources told Kosher Today that animal rights activists have not given up “and will try again and again” to get the EU to ban kosher slaughter. In the meantime, some Jewish leaders are pressing the EU to intervene with Poland whose Parliament recently passed an anti-schechita bill in which that country would potentially loose $500 million in the sale of kosher meat. Poland is part of the 28-country European Union. Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Shudrich told Ami Magazine that in the meantime schechita was continuing and that he believed that previous agreements with the Jewish community, including guarantees of schechita take precedent over Parliament’s actions. An appeal is pending in Poland’s highest court.