Kosher beef purchased at authorized locations poses no risk
to consumers says Dr. Alex Levental, head of Public Health
Services at the Ministry of Health. "Shechita has a
big advantage in terms of protecting against mad-cow disease.
[At non-kosher slaughterhouses they] stun the cow before
slaughtering it, causing the [type of] protein that causes
the disease to leave the brain and disperse throughout the
body. As a result the disease spreads."
The official explained that the disease virus lives only in
nervous tissue and especially the brain. Many non-kosher
methods of killing the animals involved damage to the brain,
either from a blow or from a stake driven through the brain,
that causes the germs to travel from the brain to the
surrounding meat. The shechitah process, besides being
more humane, does not cause contact between nerve tissue and
the meat. Thus, kosher consumers have much less to fear from
the incurable disease.
Imported frozen meat in Israel is also completely safe
because for several years import permits in Israel have only
been issued for beef from countries that have not reported
even a single incident of mad-cow disease.
The Golan Heights cow that died last week was stricken with
BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), commonly known as mad-
cow disease, the Ministry of Agriculture's veterinary
services department confirmed last week. The findings, based
on lab tests of a brain sample sent to the Animal Health
Organization in Bern, Switzerland, supported the preliminary
diagnosis made in Israel. The dead animal was a 10-year-old
milk cow at Kibbutz Ortal on the Golan Heights.
The health ministry recommended people buy meat only in
licensed stores and eat only in licensed restaurants. Some 80
million kilos of beef, half of it imported frozen and the
rest fresh and locally produced, are consumed in Israel each
The Golan dairy where the first Israeli case of BSE was
confirmed, continued to operate as normal. All other cows
will be tested. So far no further evidence of the disease has
been found. The disease is not passed on in milk.