What’s making the kosher meat at the Passover seders different this year?

Kosher meat Thornhill
Packages of kosher double beef brisket sell for $51.99 per kilo ahead of Passover at this Ontario store. (Ellin Bessner photo)

The week before Passover is always a busy time for supermarkets’ kosher meat sections. But this year, the meat you’ll find is likely different, because of a change in how kosher cows are being slaughtered in Canada.

Rabbis have allowed a temporary but significant change in how Shechita is being carried out, while the country’s two main kosher certifying bodies, the Kashruth Council of Canada and the Jewish Community Council in Montreal, which runs MK Kosher, have launched a high-profile legal dispute against the Canadian government. At issue are newly enforced regulations designed to make the killing process more humane for animals—but Jewish groups say they are based on bad science and also violate Jewish freedom of religion; plus, they warn, if they have to continue following them, the added costs could effectively end kosher slaughter in Canada.

So who is right? How painless is Jewish ritual slaughter of beef, and what does science say? Is this a Charter case or mainly about money? To discuss the issue, we’re joined by Rabbi Allan Nadler, an Orthodox Montreal commentator and professor, and Dr. Joe Regenstein, a food scientist professor emeritus from Cornell University in New York, who is also one of the world’s foremost experts on ritual slaughter.

What we talked about:

  • Hear why MK Kosher and COR are suing the Canadian government on The CJN Daily
  • Learn about a similar, previous threat to the kosher veal industry in Canada, in The CJN (from 2018)
  • Why a Canada-U.S. trade dispute led to higher prices for all kosher imports, in The CJN


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.