« Reuben's | Main | Michelin 2008 tweets »

22 January 2008

Letter in the JC re kosher chickens

I was remiss in not posting this sooner.

It's my letter in The Jewish Chronicle in response to an article about the supposedly high quality of kosher chickens. As you might appreciate, I had some views on that.

The original article, in the paper a couple of weeks ago, appeared to be something of a knee-jerk reaction to Hugh et al.

Neither Stephen Grossman nor Rabbi Yehuda Brodie was explicit in their rejection of the possibility that intensively farmed chickens could enter the kosher food chain. Mr Grossman said that his suppliers grow birds about 20 per cent less densely than the intensively reared birds that Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall have been railing against.

He does not say his suppliers raise free-range hens and reject intensive-rearing farming.

In fact, at slaughter weight, Mr Grossman’s suppliers grow 14 birds per square metre. That’s not all that far off from 17 per square metre that got Jamie so exercised. More importantly, it is significantly more than the 12 per square metre, which is the maximum that Defra will allow for a bird to be labelled free-range.

Similarly, Rabbi Brodie says that a damaged bird doesn’t end up in the kosher food chain. By what measure does he mean damaged? I appreciate a bird with broken bones won’t, but what about one with hock burns, caused by sitting for extended periods in its own ammonia-laden faeces?


If for any reason I edit a comment, I explicitly say so. I only edit comments if they are rude, abusive etc. I reserve the right to delete comments if I think they're unduly offensive or constitute spam.

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Actually, during the kosher slaughter process called shechita, the animal is checked inside and out for any sign of disease, malformation, infections, etc. That means that if the chicken has burns, it would not be sellable as kosher.

Eric, I'm not sure that's right about hock burns as they're not actually malformations of the bird. I've seen birds that are for sale in kosher butchers that have what look like hock burns.

The comments to this entry are closed.