Kosher Cutbacks

Ever since the massive Agriprocessers kosher meat processing plant in Iowa was raided earlier this year by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, there’s been speculation about a looming kosher meat shortage: The Iowa plant was the largest kosher slaughterhouse in the country and Agriprocessers, which had revolutionized the kosher meat industry, provided about 60 percent of the country’s kosher meat.

No longer. The company has now shut down its beef operation and filed for bankruptcy, according to USA Today. Agriprocessors had already shut down its plant in Nebraska, which was the country’s fifth largest kosher plant, and, in an instance of very poor timing, the Forward reports the third-largest kosher beef slaughterhouse, North Star Beef, has temporarily halted work after a fire. That leaves, well, not a lot of meat. Kosher meat prices are reported to have increased by 30 percent, USA Today writes, and many shops can’t get enough beef. The unraveling of Agriprocessors, which was accused of inhumane slaughter as well, has also reignited an in-depth debate about kosher certification and ethical eating.

In the meantime, as NPR reports, “If kosher meat is harder to find or dramatically more expensive, it may also mean that observant Jews like Esther Yehudis Morgan who keep kosher need to reconsider their traditions. She says meat is an important part of her Friday night Shabbat meal.”

“I have a big freezer, thank god,” Morgan says. “But I don’t have a cow in the backyard.”

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