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Chicago…Who’s on First? What’s on Second? The old Abbott and Costello routine could very well apply to many meat shelves on the eve of Rosh Hashanah that begins September 8th. While many supermarkets scrambled to showcase kosher meat and poultry in the past two years, this year’s lineup includes a resurging AgriStar with its Aaron’s Best brand. At Jewel-Osco here, an 8 piece cut up Aaron’s Best chicken went for $1.69 a lb. while an Alle’s kosher fresh shoulder roast went for $5.99. A 12oz. pack of Aaron’s sliced beef was advertised at $4.99. The reappearance of Aaron’s in both beef and poultry appears to have cut into some traditional competitors. While Empire was available in most stores, it had to compete with the Aaron’s poultry in many stores. In New Jersey’s Acme market, it was all Empire in the promotional ads with $1.99 a lb. for turkey and $2.99 for turkey breast. In addition to the supermarkets, Aaron’s was also being sold in many independent kosher stores. Hershey Friedman, the Canadian Jewish magnate who bought Agri is touting his Canadian roots in producing American quality products as part of an aggressive marketing effort. In markets like New York, the key players also include KJ Poultry, a rapidly rising kosher poultry producer in Monroe, NY. Industry sources say that there is absolutely no shortage of kosher meat and poultry in any major kosher market in the US this Rosh Hashanah.
London…Staff Reporters…The shocking news that shechita (kosher slaughter) was effectively banned in New Zealand appears to have set other developments in motion in the past week. Kosher Today has learned that Rabbis in Europe are convinced that a new regulation on shechita adopted by the European Union was directly related to the New Zealand requirement that animals be stunned prior to shechita, effectively ending shechita in New Zealand. A source here told Kosher Today: “The New Zealand action has emboldened animal rights activists in many part of the world to go for the jugular.” The EU adopted a new regulation which will require that kosher meat be labeled as “meat from slaughter without stunning.” The European action was closely followed by a warning from Rabbi Yona Metzger, Chief Rabbi of Israel, that he would order the Chief Rabbinate to stop certifying kosher meats imported from South America, namely Uruguay, unless the practice of shackling and hoisting of animals was ended. Although Metzger had previously spoken out against the practice, this was the first time he actually set a deadline in 2011. About 70% of Israel’s beef is imported from South America. There were also rumblings in many other parts of the world, including Australia. Henry Grunwald QC, chairman of Shechita UK, the umbrella organization that defends shechita, said the decision will have a serious impact on the kosher meat industry, particularly since 70% of an animal killed by shechita is consumed by the non-kosher market. He said: “This ill-conceived amendment discriminates against kosher food and will have a significant impact on the kosher meat industry across Europe. The Jewish community is fully supportive of providing consumers with information about the origins of their food and we urged MEPs that if they wanted to label meat and meat products, labels should include those killed by electrocution, shooting, gassing or clubbing as well as the many millions of animals that are mis-stunned during the stunning process. To pick on one method is suspicious, troubling and discriminatory.”