Empire Kosher shut down production of kosher chickens for one day, leading to fears of a shortage for Passover.
Money woes apparently have caused the shutdown of the Vineland Kosher Poultry plant in southern New Jersey. A union official representing 160 workers at the plant told the Daily Journal newspaper that the factory halted production Dec. 30. Plant management did not return a reporter's phone calls. Financial troubles are believed to be behind the closure. In October, the company warned the city it might lay off 50 workers, or 25 percent of its workforce, by the end of the year. Plant owners also had looked to sell the company.
The kosher meat market is in a tailspin as production at the Agriprocessors' meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, which had been operating at a fraction of its normal capacity since May, finally ground to a halt this week. The company, whose meat was sold under the labels Rubashkin's and Aaron's Best, among others, filed for bankruptcy Nov. 4.
The battle for the lucrative kosher consumer market took a strange twist last month. Shortly after the end of Passover, Jewish shoppers were shocked to find Trader Joe's markets had eliminated their selection of Empire kosher chicken, substituting instead the company's own organic, nonkosher chicken.