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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:36 am 
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I wondered where to put this article. Ultimately, it deals with rabbinic Kosher but what I found alarming is the part about GM salmon.

Can Seafood Be Kosher and Sustainable?
By PAUL GREENBERG
DEC. 13, 2014
NY Times article


A FEW months ago I was seated at a sustainable-seafood dinner in which neither the hip cooking school director to my left nor the locavore food activist on my right ate the meal. On the menu was Montauk-caught monkfish, a once overexploited creature whose stocks have been rebuilt as a result of markedly improved fisheries management. Still, my tablemates eschewed the monkfish and ate a vegetable plate instead.

Why? Both were observant Jews and monkfish, it turns out, is not kosher.

Many of us in this era of ecologically motivated dietary restrictions find ourselves editing our menu choices, almost religiously culling the sustainable wheat from the ecologically destructive chaff. But on this evening I wondered how those with an older, more traditional layer of proscriptions adjust to the new order. When it comes to fish, can you simultaneously eat sustainably and kosher?

Consider one of the best-known guides to sustainable seafood, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. Right away, you see a major point of disagreement between the Aquarium and the Almighty. Seafood Watch and many other lists strongly recommend a diet that includes seafood lower on the marine food web, with a particular emphasis on farmed filter feeders: Farmed clams, oysters and mussels reduce dead-zone-causing nitrogen pollution from waterways. They can also create habitats for other fish, and have an extremely small carbon footprint to boot (about a 30th of beef cattle). So what’s wrong with clams, oysters and mussels? Trayf, trayf and trayf.

There is, however, a set of bottom-of-the-food chain marine organisms that work much like the forbidden bivalves, but which meet the standards of Scripture. Kelp and other seaweeds are similarly good at removing excess nitrogen from waterways; they grow extremely quickly and, depending on the species, can contain omega-3s, protein, iodine and other essential nutrients. Thanks to a new generation of sea farmers, seaweeds are starting to appear in a variety of forms like noodles and cocktails. And while there is the risk that some seaweeds can be colonized by microscopic (and trayf) crustaceans, farming methods can now make so-called biofouling a nonissue.

Continuing up to the next rung of the marine food web, we encounter a potential bit of synchronicity between God and green in the form of that most kosher of staples, herring. Atlantic herring eat low on the food chain and are correspondingly low in toxins like mercury but high in omega-3s. Furthermore, catching things like herring, anchovies and sardines is considerably less fuel-intensive than harvesting America’s most popular seafood, the unequivocally trayf shrimp. Depending on the method, it can take only around 27 gallons of fuel to catch a metric ton of herring, and more than 10 times that for an equivalent haul of shrimp.

But there are some qualifiers. Environmentalists in New England contend that the herring harvest is now too high, and that by catching herring we’re taking food out of the mouths of bigger fish. But one important clarification: We Americans aren’t eating the Atlantic herring we catch. A majority of Maine herring landings end up in traps for lobsters. In other words, kosher fish are used as bait for trayf. And, like shrimp, lobster often require about eight times more fuel per metric ton to catch than herring.

Moving on to another Jewish staple, salmon, the waters get murkier. Take a genetically engineered salmon under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration. The genome of that fish, the AquaBounty AquAdvantage salmon, is composed of DNA from Atlantic salmon (kosher), coupled with a growth gene from a Pacific king salmon (also kosher).

But the genetically engineered salmon construct also contains an antifreeze promoter from a fish called an ocean pout, which may be trayf (with so many fish in the sea, the Orthodox Union, one of the strictest kosher-certifying organizations, has yet to issue a formal ruling on the pout). It does have hard-to-remove scales, which have earned similarly scaled species like wolfish the thumbs-down. The ocean pout is also inclined to bottom-feeding, a quality the 13th-century biblical commentator Nahmanides felt might help frame the debate around marine kosher laws, but which is not really ultimately used in judging suitability (cf., the perfectly kosher and very bottom-feeding halibut).

All that being said, when we return to the question of the genetically engineered salmon, Rabbi Menachem Genack, the chief executive of the Orthodox Union’s Kosher Division, believes that the genetically engineered salmon would probably be kosher even if some of its genetic material came from trayf. “If this is a salmon that has fins and easily removable scales,” Rabbi Genack told me, “that is what’s critical.”

As for other farmed salmon, the Torah and its commentators keep us in the dark on best practices — there was no salmon aquaculture at the time of Moses. The Monterey Bay Aquarium continues to give most farmed salmon a no-go rating, but approves most wild Alaska salmon.

Meanwhile the Marine Stewardship Council, the world’s leading standards organization for wild seafood, has had much back-and-forth with Alaska’s salmon sector over the last year. In 2013, a portion of the Alaska salmon processors decided not to continue with the eco-certifier and pursued a new Alaska-based sustainability standard. In addition Alaska’s Prince William Sound fishery, a region that produces around 45 million fish annually, is still undergoing re-assessment in part because of concern about the possible impacts of the region’s significant reliance on hatcheries.

Which salmon should we eat? The Lord gave us both free choice and a compulsion to study and debate. Learn the issues, ye diners, and choose accordingly.

And what of the rest of the fish in the sea? The cod and tuna (kosher, kosher), the dogfish and catfish (trayf, trayf), the invasive lionfish and Asian carp (kosher, kosher), and the mighty swordfish (it’s complicated). Scripture lays out the physical characteristics Jews must reject. But it does not elucidate the environmental traits a fishery should have.

For that, Jews must turn to the disciplines of science and logic. Plain and simple, it makes sense that, for a wild fish to be acceptable, its populations must be well researched and robustly monitored, with catch limits clearly defined and peripheral damage to the environment accurately assessed. Farmed seafood should not result in a net loss of marine life. The point of aquaculture is to add marine protein to the world, not subtract it through the grinding up of other creatures for feed or the destruction of habitat. We might also consider whether a swift death and a minimum of suffering be granted to our seafood, just as Scripture demands we grant other animals.

If these basic and rational criteria can’t be met, then it may be time to rethink the whole seafood endeavor and eat like my recent, abstemious dining companions. The vegetable plate can always be kosher.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/opinion/sunday/can-seafood-be-kosher-and-sustainable.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=0

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:54 pm 
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We don't always know the origins of the foods available for our tables. Sometimes it's pretty darn tough. I've eliminated quite a lot of things from my plate, and from my home but it can get so complicated that it becomes burdonsome.

You never know if that turkey sausage is encased in pork casings, or something else. The package doesn't say and you can't even peel it off because we aren't even to touch that which is unclean.

You never know if that turkey ham was soaked in pork ham juices, or not. I don't even buy it anymore. How about jelly beans? Were they made with geletin which is 78% pork geletin? Probably. Skip the swiss-miss with the miniature marshmellos, what else might be in it that's not kosher? Read this lable, read that one, try and decode if an ingredient really means something else.

Is it wild salmon or farm raised? Is farm raised ok if it's not raised in china? Why do chinese pea pods for restaurant use have Kosher written on the box?

How about the meats we do eat? Were THEY killed in a Kosher manner? Probably if you purchased it in a Kosher store, but when none is available, should you simply skip all meats?

What's in the chicken feed? Are chickens really kosher anymore? The cattle were being fed meat byproducts which helped in the spread of madcow disease...We don't know what's in ANYTHING we purchase at the market level.

I get so very frustrated by it all, and now they want to further complicate things with GMO everything. You can't even be guarenteed that your veggies weren't grown in fields where they spread pig poop! Or the grass the beef ate, or, the grain they were fed...

Now there's a move to prevent us from knowing the origin of anything we eat.

I'd like to take the world's systems, form it into a golf ball, plant it on a T and whack it with the biggest golf clup I can find. It's frustrating.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:02 am 
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Judith1 wrote:
We don't always know the origins of the foods available for our tables. Sometimes it's pretty darn tough. I've eliminated quite a lot of things from my plate, and from my home but it can get so complicated that it becomes burdonsome.

You never know if that turkey sausage is encased in pork casings, or something else. The package doesn't say and you can't even peel it off because we aren't even to touch that which is unclean.

You never know if that turkey ham was soaked in pork ham juices, or not. I don't even buy it anymore. How about jelly beans? Were they made with geletin which is 78% pork geletin? Probably. Skip the swiss-miss with the miniature marshmellos, what else might be in it that's not kosher? Read this lable, read that one, try and decode if an ingredient really means something else.

Is it wild salmon or farm raised? Is farm raised ok if it's not raised in china? Why do chinese pea pods for restaurant use have Kosher written on the box?

How about the meats we do eat? Were THEY killed in a Kosher manner? Probably if you purchased it in a Kosher store, but when none is available, should you simply skip all meats?

What's in the chicken feed? Are chickens really kosher anymore? The cattle were being fed meat byproducts which helped in the spread of madcow disease...We don't know what's in ANYTHING we purchase at the market level.

I get so very frustrated by it all, and now they want to further complicate things with GMO everything. You can't even be guarenteed that your veggies weren't grown in fields where they spread pig poop! Or the grass the beef ate, or, the grain they were fed...

Now there's a move to prevent us from knowing the origin of anything we eat.

I'd like to take the world's systems, form it into a golf ball, plant it on a T and whack it with the biggest golf clup I can find. It's frustrating.


Those are all good points.

My daughter just moved in with us after not living near her for 5 years. She isn't used to reading labels for HFCS, aluminum etc. I know I must get on her nerves sometimes. LOL

Is seems 90% of what is sold in the stores "as food" is crap.

Because of how meat production is done and all; I need to get more self reliant.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:58 pm 
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I would love to be more self reliant with regard to meats and gardening. Once upon a time, I was, and I sure do miss that.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 8:44 am 
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"the Orthodox Union, one of the strictest kosher-certifying organizations, has yet to issue a formal ruling on the pout" <--- well who gives a shit who they are anyway? What are they, the Jewish papacy?

No man is going to tell me what is Kosher and what isn't, save the Living Torah himself and his commandments...


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 9:42 am 
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Texas Jon wrote:
What are they, the Jewish papacy?



Yes. lol.

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