Entry in progress—B.P.
About.com: Kosher Food
What is Glatt Kosher?
By Giora Shimoni, About.com
Question: What is Glatt Kosher?
Answer: The technical definition of glatt kosher is meat from animals with smooth or defect-free lungs, but today the term glatt kosher is often used informally to imply that a product was processed under a stricter standard of kashrut.
While the term glatt technically means the lungs of the kosher and kosher-slaughtered animal were smooth, the term is often used colloquially to imply a higher standard of kashrut, similar to the term mehadrin.
Furthermore, even though only meat can be technically glatt kosher, the term is often loosely used today to refer to non-meat items. Many suppliers of glatt kosher items will refer to all their products at glatt kosher. So one may find fish with the same glatt kosher sticker as used on meat being sold one aisle over. In addition, many suppliers of glatt kosher meat will refer to their whole service as glatt kosher. So there are glatt kosher caterers, restaurants and stores.
What’s the Truth About… Glatt Kosher
A column devoted to researching commonly-held beliefs
By: Rabbi Ari Z. Zivotofsky,** Ph.D.
Misconception: “Glatt Kosher” means something like “extra kosher” and applies to chicken and fish as well as meat.
Fact: Glatt is Yiddish for smooth, and in the context of kashrut it means that the lungs of the animal were smooth, without any adhesions that could potentially prohibit the animal as a treifa, an issue only applicable to animals, not fowl or non-meat products.
From the above explanation, it is clear that referring to chicken, fish or dairy products as glatt is a misuse of the term. In addition, even when referring to meat, it only attests to the status of the lung, but makes no comment about the standards of, for example, the shechitah.
Misconceptions about the meaning of glatt are so widespread that, for many, the term glatt has colloquially taken on the implication of a higher standard, similar to the term mehadrin. In addition, some caterers or stores may have only one kashrut sticker that they use on all products, and hence the sticker on the corned beef sandwich and on the omelette will both say ”glatt kosher.” Although it is technically inaccurate to label chicken, fish, lamb, or dairy products as glatt, it is not uncommon to find such labeling. In the majority of cases, it is probably not being done to mislead; but in some instances it may be intended to imply that the product was processed under a superior hashgachah, as per the term’s informal usage.
Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project
26 February 1954, The Jewish Criterion, pg. 26, cols. 1-2:
All of Scrip’s Israel stores are now stocked with huge quantities of Glat Kosher For Passover meats and other desirable Passover foods and all of the company’s modern facilities in Israel are alerted and prepared to handle the expected large increase in traffic with the maximum of ease and efficiency.
Williamsburg: a Jewish community in transition:
A study of the factors and patterns of change in the organization and structure of a community in transition
By George Kranzler
New York, NY: P. Feldheim
GLATT-KOSHER see Kosher (Yiddish, from German “glatt,” meaning smooth, beyond question). Used in connection with kosher* meat, to indicate special precautions which exclude the use of any meat about which there may be some question or doubt of…
Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project
16 June 1961, The Jewish Criterion, pg. 5, col. 3 ad:
All meat served is Glatt-Kosher, the dairy is 100% Cholov-Israel, fish and all other foods are also 100% kosher.
April 1964, Kosher Food Guide (New York, NY), vol. 30, no. 2, pg. 19 ad:
DISTINCTIVE GLATT KOSHER CATERERS
85 West Burnside Avenue, Bronx 53, N. Y.
Spring 1965, Jewish Life, pg. 80 ad:
Strictly Kosher Cuisine
Only Glatt Meats
On the Ocean at 43rd Street, Miami Beach
(A similar ad in January-February 1964 did NOT have “Glatt”—ed.)
November-December 1965, Jewish Life, pg. 56 ad:
STRICTLY KOSHER CUISINE
Only GLATT MEATS served in the WALDMAN Manner
January-February 1966, Jewish Life, pg. 29, col. 1:
Between them are, ironically, a Shomer Shabboth supermarket, a Shomer Shabboth bakery, and a glatt kosher take-home-complete-meal store. Years ago such luxuries were unknown on the East Side. Shopping had to be done from pushcarts. Kosher baking, cooking, and eating were home activities then. Today, next door to the Forward is a glatt kosher restaurant.
March-April 1967, Jewish Life, pg. 72, col. 2 ad:
Schechter & Hirsch’s
Strickly Kosher Meals Only Glatt
Not Gebruckte Food & Shmura Matzo
1 October 1967, New York (NY) Times, pg. 413 ad:
under (u) supervision
Boardwalk at Tennessee Ave.
ATLANTIC CITY, N. J.
June 1969, Jewish Spectator, pg. 19, col. 1:
The Glat Kosher Borscht Belt
_By ELKANAH SCHWARTZ
RABBI SCHWARTZ is Assistant Editor of Orthodox Jewish Life and the author of “American Life: Shtetl Style,” a collection of short stories.
GLAT KOSHER refers to meat in connection with which no ritual doubts-and-questions have arisen, due to anatomical abnormalities or lesions in the vital organs of the animal.
HOLOV YISROEL refers to milk from the herd of a Jewish farmer, or to milk from non-Jewish farmers under Jewish supervision from the cow to the door of the Orthodox consumer.
The Book of Kashruth:
A Treasury of Kosher Facts and Frauds
by Seymour E. Freedman
New York, NY: Bloch Publishing
Glatt Kosher Meat—
In recent years a new title--”glatt Kosher meat"--has become popular among both the observant and non-observant Jews. Many have used the terminology without quite fully understanding its meaning. To some, the words ”glatt Kosher” have implications of a whole new set of commandments related to the Dietary Laws. This is not so. Glatt Kosher is not a new law of Kashruth. The great stress upon the observant housewife to purchase only glatt Kosher meats arose in recent years in the Chasidic community, particularly with the Satmer Rebbi, and from that vantage point spread to other Chasidic and non-Chasidic Orthodox Jews.
The recent popularity of glatt Kosher meat is another incident of Chasidic independence from Misnagdic practice. There are many Jews who are confused by this sudden emphasis on glatt Kosher meat and consider it as if it were a whole new set of dietary requirements. The fact of the matter is that the concept of glatt Kosher meat is not a new phenomenon. It is discussed in the Talmud. Clarification ofthe glatt principle is as follows:
The word glatt means “smooth.” As is generally known, the cow eats a good portion of its daily food requirement in the field. Often the grass which it eats is mixed with foreign objects that have a tendency to puncture the lungs as they pass down the esophagus of the cow into the upper stomach. A punctured lung raises the question of Kashruth because if the puncture is such that it does not heal, then the animal is trayfe. The Talmud states that if the punctures of the lung are covered over with scabs, however, then the animal may be accepted as Kosher.
After an animal is slaughtered by the shochet, it is opened, and the shochet places his hand inside the animal and feels the lungs. If he finds that scabs have formed on the lungs, he will have the lungs removed and examined or blown up so that he can test them and see if the punctures have been covered by scabs or not. If the scabs have healed the punctures of the lung, the animal is declared Kosher; if not it is declared trayfe. The Chasidic Satmer Rabbi and his followers recently began insisting upon glatt Kosher meat, that is meat which comes from an animal whose lungs were smooth (glatt) and without scabs of any kind. Such choosing of glatt Kosher meat only is commendable as a superpious requisite since non-glatt meat is also Kosher if the scabs have sufficiently haled the punctures. However, the unfortunate aspect of this new phenomenon in Kashruth is that it has been carried to an extreme by many Orthodox Jews, who naively have come to accept only glatt Kosher meat as really Kosher, and all other meats as questionable.
8 November 1971, New York magazine, “Kosher Catering,” pg. 52, col. 2:
Two of these caterers are designated “Glatt Kosher”; when I asked one of them what that means, he said, “Just say it’s super-kosher.”
8 December 1972, Xenia (OH) Daily Gazette, “Some Jews forgotten” by Paul Cowan, pg. 4, col. 3:
They prefer to be near a glat kosher butcher shop and a familiar shul than to feel disoriented in the half-goyishe suburbs where their children live.
OCLC WorldCat record
Kinar holiday village : glatt kosher for Jews and Gentiles
by Yehonatan Tommer
Type: Book; English
Publisher: Jerusalem : Jewish National Fund, 1986.
OCLC WorldCat record
The International gourmet glatt kosher cookbook: a collection of recipes
by Jeanette Jacobs
Type: Book; English
Publisher: Las Vegas : New Beginnings, 2001.