Kosher kitchens take another hit

Customers for kosher foods are finding it increasingly difficult to put meat on the table. With the closure this week of Agriprocessors main plant in Iowa, and problems at other kosher meat processors in other states, shoppers have been enduring a nationwide shortage of kosher beef and lamb.

It may only get worse. Sara Lee Corp., which owns such names as Sara Lee, Ball Park Franks, and Hillshire Farm, announced Wednesday it is going to close its kosher meat processing operations in Chicago. Sara Lee owns Best’s Kosher, Sinai Kosher, Shofar, and Wilno brands.

Approximately 185 people are expected to lose their jobs when the plant closes in January.

Sara Lee, which employs about 44,000 people worldwide, announced plans to close one of its North American plants back in July, but has only now announced it was singling out its kosher meats processing business.

Nationwide, kosher consumers have been finding normally well-stocked meat cases empty, according to Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a news wire dedicated to Jewish issues.

Problems began last May when Agriprocessors was raided by Immigration and Naturalization.
Then, “meat buyers began shifting their purchases to other companies, which have struggled to meet the increased demand,” reports JTA. ” Alle Processing, a New York City kosher meat supplier that has become the largest in the United States with the collapse of Agriprocessors, has had to place a moratorium on new customers, according to several industry insiders.”

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