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A person who wants to become a kosher butcher, or shochet, needs to receive special training in the practice of shechita, ritual slaughtering conducted in accordance with Jewish law. Some shochets focus on the slaughter itself, their more traditional role, while others also prepare carcasses for sale and use. Butchers who want to be able to sell kosher meats from a kosher slaughtering source will need proper training and rabbinical certification of their facilities to sell to devout Jewish customers.
Under Jewish law, the person who slaughters animals is not just someone who knows how to perform slaughter appropriately. This person must also be devoutly religious. Training to become a kosher butcher starts with religious education and the successful development of religious values. A devout student can apply for shochet training and will receive certification after a sufficient number of hours of education. The training to become a kosher butcher includes mentoring from a qualified butcher, supervision during slaughter, and information about slaughtering techniques.
In addition to killing animals in a specific way and fully draining their blood, the kosher butcher also removes materials not permitted under Jewish law, such as nerves. A person who wants to become a kosher butcher needs detailed training in animal anatomy to successfully prepare meats. The work also includes more conventional food safety training to handle meat appropriately, as well as culinary education to learn about different cuts of meat and how to handle meat to prepare it for sale.
Butchers who want to be able to offer kosher meats to their customers but do not intend to slaughter animals themselves will need to attend training to learn about Jewish dietary laws. They should also establish a contract with a certified shochet for meat delivery, and may want to meet with a rabbi to discuss the butcher shop and food handling facility. The rabbi can provide advice and assistance on koshering the facility to avoid situations like contamination of meats with dairy products.
After a person becomes a kosher butcher, it can help to subscribe to religious and trade magazines to keep up with the field. Periodic revisions to procedures may occur, and it is important to be aware of them. Trade magazines can also help butchers with regulatory compliance that will not violate religious precepts. Subscriptions to professional publications can also make the kosher butcher aware of workshops, conferences, and other events they may find interesting.
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