Meet the Jewish Teen Who Helped Carry Out Kosher Chicken E Coli Study

17-Year-Old Jack Millman Collected Samples for Experiment


By JTA

Published October 14, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

For several months during the spring of his 10th grade year, Jack Millman had an unusual Saturday ritual: He and his mother would ride around metropolitan New York and buy up vast quantities of raw chicken.

Millman and his mother, Ann Marks, didn’t cook the poultry. Instead they put it on ice and shipped it overnight to a lab in Arizona, which tested it for antibiotic-resistant strains of the E. coli bacteria.

The study, which included 213 samples of raw chicken purchased at 15 locations in the New York area, found that kosher chicken has nearly twice the frequency of antibiotic-resistant strains as non-kosher. The results were first published in the journal F1000 Research in July.

The findings are perplexing. Kosher laws contain no requirements about how chickens are raised, and the only difference between kosher and conventional poultry is in the slaughtering and de-feathering.

Lance Price, a microbiologist with Translation Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix who helped design the study, suggested that kosher companies may be sourcing from producers or hatcheries that use more antibiotics.

But Joe Regenstein, a food scientist at Cornell University, and Timothy Lytton, the author of a recently published book on the kosher food industry, dispute that notion.

Writing recently in Food Safety News, Regenstein and Lytton say a likelier explanation lies in the kosher method of feather removal. Most poultry is placed in scalding water before plucking, but kosher poultry is dry plucked or soaked in very cold water due to restrictions prohibiting any form of cooking before the meat has been soaked and salted.

“Immersion in scalding water prior to plucking of non-kosher poultry production reduces microbial load, by either washing microbes away or by killing them, which might account for differences between kosher and other production methods,” Regenstein and Lytton wrote.

Millman, 17, who does not keep kosher, told JTA in an interview between classes at the prestigious Horace Mann School that he was “very surprised” by the findings. The Manhattan resident first became interested in kosher issues a few years ago during a family trip to Israel.


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!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • 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.