Hummus Elite
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Glatt Kosher Middle Eastern / Mediterranean Cuisine
What is Glatt Kosher?

The Yiddish and German definition of glatt is “smooth”, but when used in reference to kosher cattle meat, glatt kosher indicates meat that is unblemished and defect-free due to the excellent condition of the animal's lungs. Sephardic Jews say animals that are not kosher exhibit lungs scarred with lesions or scabs (treif). Alternatively, Ashkenazic Jews hold the view that although defective lungs may be found, meat may still be considered kosher if lesions are removable and the lungs remain airtight. However, technically defined “glatt” animal lungs must pass the strict requirements established by Sephardic law in order for the meat to be genuinely considered “glatt kosher”.

Animals smaller than cows such as ducks, sheep, chickens and goats must always pass the glatt test before being eaten by those adhering to Jewish dietary laws (kashrut). Although this rule may seem slightly arcane, it was probably based on an entirely logical assessment regarding the health of an animal. In ancient times, an animal that appeared healthy would presumably have healthy lungs, or lungs without visible defects, and be safe to eat.

Sometimes you might see chicken advertised by meat suppliers as being “glatt kosher chickens”. This is an erroneous tag since it misrepresents regular kosher chicken as a higher quality of kosher chicken. All chicken must be glatt for it to be kosher and edible under Jewish dietary laws. Currently, chicken lungs are routinely checked in Israel because of the prevalence of a viral avian illness called Newcastle's disease. Although many kosher consumers are highly concerned with glatt kosher foods, the truth is that perhaps only one in 15 to 20 animals can be thought of as authentically glatt kosher.

Some individuals who follow strict Jewish dietary laws have relaxed glatt kosher rules to include smaller animals that may possess easily eliminated lung adhesions as being kosher. In addition, even though meat is advertised as glatt kosher meat, the process of converting meat into kosher food is not complete following a lung examination. Other steps are often necessary before the meat can be properly prepared, cooked and considered kosher.

Misconceptions regarding the true definition of glatt is so broad that many people generally view the term as describing a higher standard of kosher meat, similar to what “mehadrin” denotes. Additionally, kosher stores and caterers may apply one kashrut sticker on all products that is printed with the “glatt kosher” term. This means you may see a “glatt kosher” sticker on an omelette or corned beef sandwich when technically, such food should not have such a sticker. Not purposefully meant to mislead, store proprietors may be implying that the food item was simply processed using a superior form of hashgachah, or kosher supervision.
Glatt Kosher
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