Cornell Kosher and Halal Food Initiative
The Cornell Kosher and Halal Food initiative provides a wide range of inputs to the various stakeholders in the kosher and halal food arena. A key focus at the time is the issue of religious slaughter and animal welfare. The initiative also provides introduction and more advanced discussions of kosher and halal practices for various stakeholders and other interested groups. A distance learning version of the Introduction to Kosher and Halal Food Regulations is available through the Kansas State University Food Industry Distance Learning Program.
The Cornell Kosher Food Initiative (CKFI) is a special program within the Department of Food Science that provides research, teaching, and extension programming in the area of religious foods, particularly - kosher and halal. The program also covers ethnic foods. The stakeholders include consumers who follow these rules or choose to purchase products under religious supervision, the food industry that prepares such products for all consumers, the secular regulatory authorities that need to integrate these two religious systems into the secular food system, and finally the religious supervision authorities who need to better understand food science. The CKFI provides written material (including an extensive web based article at www.ift.org, go to on-line publications, go to Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, vol. 2, issue 3), specialized talks, and email responses to many questions from all these groups along with journalists. Some of the program's major accomplishments in recent years have included a humane (halal) slaughter poster for on farm and small locker plants that has been translated into Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Spanish. Design of a special pen for small animal (sheep, goat, calf) religious slaughter that has successfully been built and beta-tested. The CKFI has and is participating in animal welfare initiatives of the Food Marketing Institute and the National Council of Chain Restaurants; the Humane Farm Animal Care program; and a review of the OIE (the UN's World Animal Health Organization)a international animal welfare standards. The recent undercover video taken by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) at the largest glatt kosher slaughterhouse in the US has required intensive efforts by the program to help move forward to a hopefully much improved religious slaughter situation that fully meets the needs of the various religious groups while meeting modern animal welfare requirements.
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The food law extension program has focused on providing general insights and discussions of food law, with a particular emphasis on how food scientists can interact with the system at various points in the legal/regulatory process. Both USDA and FDA activity is monitored regularly to maintain a current view. Insights into the Congressional process can be shared as the agent was the Institute of Food Technologists' first Congressional Science Fellow.
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- Contact: Joe M. Regenstein