Poultry Kashrus Standards and Hiddurim

Ask the Rov: What issues should one consider regarding the kashrus of poultry?

By Rabbi Chaim Hillel Raskin – Rov of Anash in Petach Tikvah

Among the treifos in fowl is the tearing of the tzomes hagidim – sixteen tendons that connect the upper and lower part of a chicken’s leg. If any of these gidim are torn, they invalidate the chicken as a treifah. According to the Rama, whenever we see an issue with the gidim, we consider the chicken a treifa out of doubt since we aren’t knowledgeable enough to decipher the precise issue.1

In years bygone, even quality hashgachos would not specifically check the gidim since it was a rare problem for which we need not be concerned. However, it was recently discovered that this concern is more prevalent due to the conditions in which chickens are held. Particularly when the chicken’s growth is accelerated artificially, the chicken has difficulty carrying its body weight, and this can at times cause the gidim to tear. Contemporary poskim have determined that this concern entered the threshold of miut hamatzuI (a common minority), and therefore, many reliable hashgachos make sure to examine the intactness of the tzomes hagidim.2

While some just glance at the legs and feel them as they pass on the line, others cut open and inspect each one. For the location of the slit, some prefer the bottom part of the leg, which is later thrown out and doesn’t damage the drumstick, is easier to inspect, and doesn’t present an issue with salting. If the lower part looks healthy, they assume that it is healthy higher up as well. Others argue that it’s necessary to cut and check the upper part itself, since that is the area that halacha is concerned about, and two of the gidim don’t even extend all the way down. When cutting the upper part, extra care is needed to salt the area of the incision.

Chickens used for poultry nowadays mostly get shots against various diseases. Though this can extend the chicken’s lifespan, it can cause serious halachic issues. If the needle pierces a hole in various inner organs, it can render the chicken a treifa with even a small hole.3 A shot in the leg can cause the gidim to detach. It is therefore imperative to purchase poultry from a reliable hashgacha which is aware of and addresses these issues.

See Sources (open PDF)

From The Weekly Farbrengen by Merkaz Anash

In keeping in line with the Rabbonim's policies for websites, we do not allow comments. However, our Rabbonim have approved of including input on articles of substance (Torah, history, memories etc.)

We appreciate your feedback. If you have any additional information to contribute to this article, it will be added below.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

advertise package