Buffalo gets approval
by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-05-10
Kosher food connoisseurs could soon be putting buffalo steaks on the barbeque as well as enjoying pizza made with buffalo mozzarella following Israel's Chief Sephardi Rabbi granting kosher approval to the Asian water buffalo. The move means Israel will be able to offer kosher buffalo for the first time in over 50 years.
Rabbi Shlomo Amar has given his seal of approval following an initiative by two university researchers from Bar Ilan in Israel as well as campaigning by beef breeders to breed the animal for food consumption.
Dr Zohar Amar and Dr Ari Zivotofsky experts in animals that are kosher provided the chief rabbi with research into the water buffalo and following his own investigations has decreed the animal and its by products including milk and cheese are suitable for kosher consumption.
According to research, Israel had been home to the water buffalo for many years and prior to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, 5000 were raised in the previous years.
While kosher buffalo may be new again in Israel, in the United States it has been available for many years to kosher observant Jews, though mainly as steaks.
Israeli buffalo farmers are likely to offer a full range of products both for its own local market as well as internationally.
"If they intend to export the steaks, milk and cheese, we will certainly be interested in taking it," one kosher food importer told SomethingJewish. "There's a huge demand for Israeli cheeses and milk drinks, so buffalo products will add additional choice to the kosher customer."
As well as being an alternative to cows milk, buffalo milk is said to have medicinal benefits including controlling eczema and other skin conditions as well as providing relief from irritable bowel syndrome.