Photo Credit: Zsolt Demecs
Members of the rabbinic team at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Csengele kosher slaughterhouse opening in Hungary, July 2020. Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau is at center; Chabad Rabbi Shlomo Köves of Hungary is second from right.

The Chief Rabbinical Council of Israel approved on Monday the importation of glatt-kosher certified foie gras to Israel—an item that has not been non-glatt-kosher in the past.

A member of the Chief Rabbinical Council, Rabbi Simcha Weiss, together with geese experts Professor Ari Z. Zivotofsky and Rabbi Roei Ginon from Chief Rabbinate, visited a slaughterhouse in Hungary last year operating under the EMIH‒Hungarian Jewish Community Association, headed by Chabad Rabbi Shlomo Köves, to closely monitor the process of fattening the birds.

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Upon his return to Israel, a team was set up in order to develop a program to allow the importation of goose-liver products with a glatt-kosher certification.

On Monday, the Rabbinical Council approved the committee’s recommendations.

Csengele kosher slaughterhouse in Hungary has become the first (and for now, the only) to receive glatt-kosher certification for goose liver.

Importers of foie gras will now have to meet a number of new requirements in order for goose liver to be certified with as a glatt-kosher stamp, according to a document detailing the requirements developed by the Chief Rabbinical Council.

Among other things, it is required that the breeding and fattening farms be located within the same site.

The document also stipulates that food for the geese should minimize the chances of esophageal injury to the birds. For example, corn kernels should be prepared in such a way so that they would not retain any coarse and sharp edges, or contain any whole grains in the mix. It was also mandated that (force) feeding should be executed through a silicone tube without any sharp points.

The new regulations also call for supervisors to be made available to carry out inspections at the site of fattening and to closely monitor this process. In addition, slaughterhouses will have to be checked routinely by a mashgiach, a professional kashrut inspector.

Israel banned the local production of foie gras in 2003, and finally enforced that ban in 2006.

The Orthodox Union (OU) decided to stop certifying foie gras production in 2019, after the last local kosher producer shut down.

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