As an increasing number of kosher retailers, restaurants and supermarkets across the country reported shortages of kosher meat this week, Empire Kosher Poultry announced it would increase output by 50 percent to allay fears of a poultry shortage.
In addition, Empire, the world’s largest kosher poultry producer, said it would reduce the price of fresh chicken cutlets (skinless and boneless chicken breast) by at least 10 percent beginning Monday.
Kosher butchers reported as much as a 30-cent per pound increase in the cost of kosher chickens within the last two months. An Empire spokesman said his company increased prices by 20-cents a pound on chicken legs.
Meanwhile, Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa, at one time the largest kosher meat slaughterhouse in the country, has stopped all meat and chicken processing. Its plant was raided in May by immigration inspectors who arrested nearly 400 illegal immigrant employees. The plant’s manager, Sholom Rubashkin, the son of Agriprocessors’ owner, was later arrested on immigration law charges. He was arrested again last Friday on federal bank-fraud charges.
Although the plant has not slaughtered any steer since last month, one area butcher said he received a shipment from Agriprocessors of meat that had been frozen and stored in its warehouse.