Talking turkey - organically speaking

By Jessica Elgot and Cathy Forman, December 1, 2011

Britain's first organic kosher turkeys will go on sale next week, after more than 20 years of campaigning for organic certification.

The Soil Association has historically refused to certify kosher meat as organic because of the method of slaughter without stunning. This year, more than 300 people signed an online petition demanding that the guidelines be changed.

But now Barnet-based Biblical Foods has secured another official certifier to approve kosher turkeys as organic.

The identity of the certifier is being kept secret until Biblical Foods' official organic launch on December 16 and company members have signed confidentiality agreements.

Around 500 turkeys will be supplied through Biblical Foods, whose Rob Pearce said: "Many families who stayed vegetarian because of the lack of organic meat - and cancer patients who wanted to eat organic kosher meat - can now do so.

"Although kosher food is often considerably more expensive than conventional food, organic kosher meat and poultry prices are similar to non-kosher organic food prices. We are holding the price down as much as possible."

The turkeys are supervised by Manchester Beth Din. They are being stocked by London and Manchester retailers and interest has also been expressed by kosher outlets in Glasgow.

Manchester Beth Din's Rabbi Yehuda Brodie said: "We are glad to be able to facilitate another kosher product for the consumer."

Campaigners were considering developing a rabbinical "kitemark", indicating that the meat was "organically reared".

Shechita UK spokesman Shimon Cohen told the JC earlier this year that he had hit a brick wall when trying to discuss organic kosher meat at government level in 2005.

Last updated: 4:41pm, December 1 2011