Horsemeat crisis prompts kosher sales surge

The horsemeat scandal has led to an upsurge in kosher beef sales (Photo: AP)

The horsemeat scandal has led to an upsurge in kosher beef sales (Photo: AP)

The head of the Manchester Beth Din has said that the Food Standards Agency and meat companies could “learn a lot” from kosher producers.

The horsemeat scandal has provided an unprecedented boost for kosher meat suppliers, with butchers reporting “booming” business as consumers turn to guaranteed safe sources.

Jacky Lipowicz, chairman of the Licensed Kosher Meat Traders’ Association, said the scandal could be “the best thing” to happen to the kosher meat industry for years.

Shoppers who previously bought non-kosher meat have returned to kosher stores following concerns about the threat of contamination of supermarket products.

Elaine Mann, of Louis Mann and Son butchers in Edgware, north west London, said there had been a “surge” in people buying kosher beef. “People always say kosher meat is expensive, but now you know why.”

Transparency in the kosher food chain, and the safeguards employed in shechita, guarantee that kosher meat is protected from the spiralling threat posed by confusion over food safety.

Manchester Beth Din administrator Rabbi Yehuda Brodie said: “The level of supervision which exists in all kosher establishments — either retail or otherwise — ensures that any ingredient or meat meets our requirements.

“There would be no way whatsoever that anything could find its way into a kosher product which is not perfectly acceptable.”

The shechita process ensures kosher consumers can fully trace the source of their meat. Animals are first checked by a vet to ensure they have no illnesses or diseases. A shomer then makes a note of every animal slaughtered and the exact number being delivered to processing plants or butchers.

Every piece of meat is sealed and an inspector later checks they are still intact. Any meat with a broken seal is thrown away.

Inspectors also check the exact amounts sold to ensure no additional, unsupervised animals have entered the chain.

Rabbi Brodie said kosher food production methods were the “gold standard... In many countries there’s strong evidence that non-Jewish people buy kosher meat because of the integrity and the close monitoring.”

There was also reassurance over the standards applied to processed meat such as kosher salami, viennas and ready-meals. Hermolis, one of the leading suppliers of pre-prepared kosher meals, is supervised by Kedassia.

In a statement issued to reassure consumers, the kashrut authority said: “All processing of kosher meat is undertaken, exclusively and without exception, using Kedassia kosher meat of UK origin, which is under constant rabbinical supervision from the time of slaughter.”

Last updated: 4:11pm, February 14 2013