Where’s the Beef?

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Much as been written about the ongoing crisis at the AgriProcessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa and the repercussions. JTA even has an audio report of how the raid unfolded.

But only a few articles have been addressing the potential shortage of kosher meat. The Forward wrote:

Rabbi Seth Mandel, the Orthodox Union’s head of kosher slaughter, estimated that AgriProcessors produces around 55% of glatt kosher beef sold in the United States and that the plant in Postvillle produces 85% of AgriProcessors beef. The company also produces the greatest share of glatt kosher poultry on the market.

According to Mandel, the impact of a production crisis at AgriProcessors would be most acutely felt in regions that have relatively small numbers of people who keep kosher. In those areas, AgriProcessors meat — sold under brand names including Aaron’s Best, Supreme Kosher and Rubashkin — is usually the only kosher meat available. (MORE)

Meanwhile, JTA reports that “Agriprocessors, which markets its products as Aaron’s Best and Rubashkin’s, provides an estimated 60 percent of the nation’s kosher meat and 40 percent of its kosher poultry.” (MORE)

That’s a lot of kosher meat. And Aaron’s is frequently priced much less than the other brands (which now makes sense). With food prices rising dramatically due to the increasing price of commodities and fuel, there’s no telling what a kosher meat shortage could mean for Jews.

Posted on May 20, 2008

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