European Parliament in New Vote to Label Kosher Meat

Mar 29, 2011

The European Parliament is set to debate a new amendment to the EU’s draft Food Information Regulation next month, which will consider the labelling of all meat slaughtered using the Jewish shechita method.

Last year, the Council of Ministers blocked an attempt by the European Parliament to label meat slaughtered without stunning and that amendment has since been reintroduced by Dutch MEP, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy. However, Shechita UK believes that a newer, more direct amendment on the issue, proposed by Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson, amounts to undisguised discrimination and is now calling on members of the Jewish community to contact MEPs to express their opposition to both amendments which will be debated on 11th April.

This new amendment would require that meat be labelled, ‘This product comes from an animal slaughtered by the Shechita Method’. Mr. Stevenson is proposing a similar amendment for Halal food but is not suggesting that food slaughtered by other religious or secular methods be labelled.

Mr. Stevenson is picking on Jews and Muslims by saying that only their slaughter methods should be labelled. He is blatantly discriminating against our communities”, commented Shimon Cohen of Shechita UK. “It is the twenty first century equivalent of the yellow star, but on our food. We have our own labels for Kosher meat, but we do not want the law to discriminate against us by singling us out in this way.”

“Mr. Stevenson is a known opponent of Shechita and he is doing all he can to sow doubts in the minds of consumers about our slaughter methods, which are in fact both legal and humane – far more humane than the electrocution, clubbing, shooting and gassing that takes place in secular slaughter.”

The European Parliament has a track record of voting for labelling of meat products slaughtered according to religious methods. The Regulation will be finalised after further negotiations between the Parliament and Council of Ministers later this year.

A list of MEPs can be found on the website of the European Parliament or by clicking here.