European Parliament proposal would identify kosher slaughter


(JTA) — As part of a proposal to regulate food information, the European Parliament voted to require that meat labels state the method of slaughter.

Kosher meat would be labeled as "meat from slaugher without stunning," according to the proposal that was passed Wednesday by the Parliament. The vote was 559 in favor, 54 against and 32 abstentions.

The proposal will need the approval of the 27 member countries of the European Union before it becomes law, after which food businesses will have between three and five years to comply.

Jewish groups believe that the decision is discriminatory and will have a negative effect on the kosher food industry, according to the Jewish Chronicle. Some 70 percent of each animal killed according to Jewish law is used by the non-kosher market.

The requirement to label meat as slaughtered without stunning was singled out in the proposal, while methods such as electrocution, shooting, gassing or clubbing were not mentioned specifically.

The Parliament rejected a controversial color-coded nutritional labeling system that would indicate the amount of fat, carbohydrates, sugar and sodium in each food and drink product sold in the EU countries.

The proposal comes on the heels of a decision by New Zealand’s government to ban kosher slaughter as part of a new animal welfare code mandating that all animals for commercial consumption be stunned prior to slaughter to ensure that they are treated “humanely and in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge.” 

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