This story comes to you from the GREEN GUIDE #113 March/April 2006
Kosher Organic Eggs for Passover
by Amy Topel
“Passover is the Jewish celebration of liberation from slavery. To prepare for Passover, a thorough spring cleaning takes place. Jewish kitchens are scrubbed from top to bottom to remove all traces of leaven. The week begins with a dinner, the Seder, which reminds Jews of their good fortune and the pain they have suffered. Prominent on the Seder table is a plate of symbolic foods. Most notably, maror (bitter herbs) and a piece of matzah (unleavened bread) are used to signify the pain of oppression and the joy of freedom. A whole roasted egg is included as well, to symbolize the strength of the Jewish people. “
“Eggs aren’t just important during Passover. They represent the continuity of life and are given at birth celebrations, weddings and funerals. Eggs are also important culinary ingredients because according to kosher law, they are pareve, meaning prepared without meat, milk or their derivatives, and so can be eaten with either meat or milk.
Eggs play an important role in Jewish cuisine, and we are all becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of organic food. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find kosher eggs that are also organic and for one simple reason. The focus of kosher laws is different from that of organic rules.
Kosher laws are open to interpretation so it is difficult to make blanket statements, but according to the Orthodox Union, one of the largest certifiers of kosher foods, “in most instances, what animals eat has no effect on their kosher status.” Kosher meats, poultry and eggs are determined in the processing plant–not on the farm. The laws do not address how a chicken is fed or handled while it is producing eggs. For eggs to be certified as kosher, they must be produced by an approved breed of chicken, they cannot be fertilized by a rooster or contain a blood spot or any brown pigment inside the shell, and they must be washed and packaged properly.
Organic labeling standards for eggs have to do with how the chickens that produce the eggs are grown and fed. Egg-laying chickens cannot be raised with antibiotics or growth hormones and must be given organic feed that is produced without using conventional pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.
Eggland’s Best sells organic eggs and kosher eggs but does not currently sell kosher organic eggs. Bart Slaugh, Ph.D., the company’s director of quality assurance, indicated that they are in the process of getting their organic eggs certified as kosher. The issue is that their organic eggs come from a breed of chicken that lays brown eggs and these eggs are prone to the development of brown spots inside the shell, prohibiting them from being sold as kosher.
While kosher organic eggs are not as easy to find as either kosher or organic eggs are, producers are starting to respond to the public’s desire for products that are produced organically and certified as kosher.”
Is this good for the Jews? Who knows. We can’t wait to see how expensive these eggs will be!