Amid mad cow fears, butchers explain what makes kosher meat a safer buy.
The USDA's cautionary recall is limited to 10,000
-pounds of meat distributed from the Verns Moses Lake
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Meats facility in Washington state, which had imported
the cow suffering from bovine spongiform encephalopa-
thy (BSE) from Canada.
According to a press release from the Great Atlantic
& Pacific Tea Co., which acquired the Farmer Jack
iven the reputation for kosher beef as a safer,
supermarket chain in 1989, all the chain's suppliers of
cleaner alternative to non-kosher meat prod-
fresh kosher and non-kosher beef "have reaffirmed the
ucts, retailers throughout the United States
safety of their beef and have assured us that they have
are cautiously optimistic that the recent dis-
not sourced any beef products from the Verns facility in
covery of the first case of mad cow disease in the United Washington state," the release states.
States will result in increased sales.
Most of Hiller's kosher and non-kosher meat is
Some butchers say they are fielding inquiries about
processed in Michigan, Ducharme said. "Some is from
their beef from potential customers who have never vis-
other places in the Midwest. But none is from the
ited or called their establishments.
Pacific Northwest or Canada."
"The public's antenna is way up on this," said Steve
Gilmer of Quality Kosher Emporium in suburban
Atlanta. "When they find out there is meat insulated
is a fatal brain-wasting disease similar to the
from this incident, they consider shopping here."
variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD.
Curtis Ducharme, meat manager at Hiller's
Most reports of humans contracting CJD from eating
Supermarkets, which operates six stores in metropolitan
diseased beef occurred in the 1990s in the United
Detroit, said the chain sees numerous non-Jewish peo-
Kingdom. So far, 139 cases have surfaced worldwide.
ple buying kosher meat "especially at the Ann Arbor
In June 2002, a cow in Israel's Golan Heights was
store, where they a little more health conscious."
found to be infected with mad cow, _but Israeli health
officials said the animal was isolated and no infected
meat reached consumers.
U.S. health officials believe the animal found in
Washington state got sick from infected Canadian feed
before it was shipped to the United States.
Subsequently, possible ground meat from the infected
cow has been recalled from supermarkets in eight
Western states and Guam. Overall, U.S. exports of beef
dropped 90 percent in the week following the discovery.
U.S. officials say tough new measures against mad
cow protect the domestic feed supply and that the U.S.
beef supply remains safe. The vast majority of beef pro-
duced in the United States comes from young,. grain-fed
steers less than 24 months of age.
But, according to a Dec. 31, 2003, article in the New
York Times, a-2002 Department of Agriculture survey of
34 processing plants found that 35 percent of the meat
that had gone through grinding machines contained
spinal tissue, where mad cow disease is found.
Additionally, it was only on Dec. 30 that Agriculture
Secretary Ann Veneman banned the use of "downers," .
or cows that cannot walk — a possible sign of mad cow
disease — for meat.
Kosher butcher Sam Duben assists customer Barbara Jonas of Bingham Farms at the Farmer Jack supermarket at Orchard Lake and Maple in West Bloomfield.