Kosher Chicken Shortage Hits London

With Poultry Virus, Jews Fret About Passover Without Chicken

Kosher supervisors inspect chickens in a Jerusalem plant.
Getty Images
Kosher supervisors inspect chickens in a Jerusalem plant.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published March 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

London may be facing a Passover without chicken soup.

The city’s ultra-Orthodox kosher supervision authority announced March 7 that nearly all of the chickens slaughtered under their supervision in recent weeks were found to be unkosher.

In its statement, the Kashrus Committee of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations said that the 80% of slaughtered chickens had broken leg tendons, which makes them unfit for kosher consumption.

It’s the same problem that has plagued U.S. kosher chicken plants since the summer of 2012, as the Forward reported March 1. A mutant chicken virus that damages bird’s leg tendons has run rampant in the Pennsylvania chicken population, rendering large portions of those birds unkosher.

The problem appears to be far more acute in the London than it ever was in the United States. Kosher authorities in New York said that the outbreak affected only 25% of slaughtered birds at U.S. kosher poultry plants during the outbreak’s worst point.

“I can’t even imagine the consequences of dealing with such a devastating problem on the eve of Passover,” said Menachem Lubinsky, president and CEO of Lubicom, a U.S.-based Kosher industry consulting firm.

Passover is traditionally a peak time for kosher poultry consumption. Kosher chicken plants run overtime in the weeks leading up to the holiday.

London’s Orthodox Jewish community is already resigned to the possibility of having no chicken this Passover.

“If it’s the will of God, then we won’t have chickens this holiday,” said Rabbi Chaim Feldman, a London rabbi, according to the Israeli ultra-Orthodox news site Behadrey Haredim.

U.S. kosher officials say they have contained the virus here, both by vaccinating breeder chickens and by testing chicken flocks for the virus before they are brought to the plant.

London’s Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.