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August 24, 1973 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1973-08-24

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Kosher Beef Shortage Nationwide

JTA Staff Writer

federally imposed price freeze
on beef, slated to remain in
effect until Sept. 12, has re-
sulted in shutdowns of some
kosher processing plants, cur-
tailment of operations and
layoffs of workers in others,
and spreading shortages in
raw and processed kosher
meats, particularly delica-
tessen foods, at the retail
These are the highlights of
a survey by the Jewish Tele-
graphic Agency, _centered on
wholesalers, processors and
kosher butcher shops and
other retail outlets in the
East, the area of the nation's
largest concentration of Jews.
Many housewives, the JTA
was informed were telling
friends they could not con•
tinue to buy kosher meats
because prices have been
raised in some outlets despite
the price freeze.
Reports were widespread
of a rush of panic buying
of meat by Jewish, as well
as non-Jewish, consumers,
which had exacerbated the
problem. Many kosher butch-
er shops were posting signs
of limits on purchasing and
others were closing early
when their supplies were ex-
There was widespread
agreement among spokesmen
for all levels of the industry
that the prices of kosher
meat, like those of non-
kosher meat, would almost
certainly rise after the price
freeze was ended in Septem-
The head of one of the
nation' s largest wholesale
distributors of meat to kosh-
er butchers and provisioners
described to the JTA a
unique arrangement by which
some 200 New York City
kosher butchers have banded
together to get regular sup-
plies of beef.

their regular supplies.
He added that the kosher
butchers were losing money
but that the losses were mini-
mal and "at least they are
staying in business for the
time being."
Hebrew National Kosher
Foods, the country's largest
processor of delicatessen
meats reported that 80 work-
ers, about 20 per cent of
its work force, were fur-
loughed. Leonard Pines, presi-
dent, told the JTA that "most
of our suppliers have gone
out of business."
He said the company was
"somehow" managing to get
enough meat to provide about
half of its normal deliveries
to some 3,000 customers but
that it was "strictly a day-
to-day thing."
Jerome M, Becker, of the
Metropolitan New York Co-
ordinating Council on Jewish
Poverty, reported that spiral-
ing food costs, which are
putting a "fiscal crunch" on
all American families, were
having a "devastating effect"
on kashrut-observing Jews.
Becker said that the Jew
who keeps kosher "is being
most adversely affected by
the current inflationary spi-
"In man cases, the kashrut-
observing Jew is a senior cit-
izen. These older adults,
many of whom subsist on So-
cial Security pensions in
pockets of poverty through-
out the metropolitan area,
can no longer afford even the
cheapest cuts of kosher meat
at today's rapidly-escalating
prices. They are confronted
with t h e unconscionable
choice of abandoning their
life-long principles or suffer-
ing malnutrition."
He reported that the Co-
ordinating Council was acting
"to alleviate the plight of
the hard-core Jewish poor.
We are currently in the proc-
ess of planning programs in
conpunction with the newly-
adopted Title VII Nutrition
Act that will assure the daily
delivery of hot kosher meals
to the aged and infirm Jews
of New York who are in the
most dire need."

After much discussion, he
he said, a number of the
butchers organized a Kosher
Butchers Associates of New
York who, collectively, could
do what some supermarket
chains have been doing—buy-
ing beef animals from ranch-
ers and slaughtering them
"And I will gather you
from amongst the peoples,

The arrangement, he re-
ported, enabled his company
to recall its employes and
resume operations while also
making it possible for the 200
kosher butchers in the group
to get at least 50 percent of

and assemble you out of the
countries where you have
been scattered, and I will
give you the land of Israel."
—Ezekiel 11, 17.

22—Friday, August 24, 1973


Bigger Supply
of Beef, Bigger
Prices Due

After Sept. 12, the date set
for the end of the price
freeze on beef, there will be
plenty of kosher meat avail-
able in Detroit for holiday
shoppers. But at 15 25 per
cent higher prices.
This was the projection by
Allan Cohen, president of
the Detroit Retail Kosher
Meat Dealers Association.
Cohen said that if all fac-
tors are positive, including a
good crop of feed for the
animals, prices eventually
should level off.
Veal and poultry prices
have risen because of in-
creased demand, but at least
one kind of poultry—friers-
dropped 10 cents a pound this
week. Because of the forth-
coming holidays when de-
mand will be high, the price
of pullets, capons and tur-
keys will remain steep, said
Cohen, but there will be
plenty of merchandise avail-
Although supermarkets
have been reporting near-
normal meat supplies, be-
cause they are acquiring beef
directly from suppliers, this
increase has not been reflect-
ed so far in the kosher trade,
Cohen said.
He reported that panic
buying ended two weeks ago,
and now there is more ration-
al purchasing. Although meat
dealers shortened their hours
during the beef shortage,
none had to close, he said.

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