Calming Crisis, Rabbis Rule Kosher Cow Panic Just Hot Air

Rabbinic authorities have put an end to a rumor that was circulating nationwide last week that milk produced in this country was not kosher.

Leading mainstream kashrut supervision agencies have ruled that the milk is indeed kosher.

The cause of the problem was gassy cows and the surgical techniques commonly used to relieve their discomfort. The procedures render the bovines and all that they produce “treif,” or non-kosher.

The gas-releasing procedures have been performed for years. But the controversy erupted recently when an on-site supervisor of a cholov Yisrael dairy reportedly noticed that it was being done more often than people seemed to be aware.

Sharing his observation with a handful of people was all it took for the rumors to take off in religious circles, say observers.

Leading kashrut supervision agencies, including the Orthodox Union, Kof-K, Star K and OK Labs, investigated the matter by examining the cows at dairy farms and consulting experts in bovine anatomy and veterinary medicine.

They concluded that the majority of cows are kosher and, therefore, so is most of the milk produced in the country. If most milk is kosher, then milk overall is rendered acceptable, according to the authorities.

“A certain amount of cows are definitely treif. We’re relying on the law of majority,” said Rabbi Mayer Bendet, spokesman for the OK Laboratories, based in Brooklyn.

Cholov Yisrael dairies, or those in which a kashrut authority supervises the milk production, are separating kosher cows from those which have had the gas-relieving procedure performed.

According to Bendet, this process is likely to cause the price of cholov Yisrael to increase, at least initially. Competition will bring the prices back down by the end of September, he predicted.

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