London…With Passover due to start next Friday night (April 15th), shoppers are finding extreme slim pickings of poultry products including eggs. The shortages come on top of significantly higher prices due to inflation and Covid related issues. The worldwide shortage of poultry including kosher could not have come at a worse time as Jews prepare to celebrate the 8-day Passover holiday (April 15 – April 23) with poultry being a mainstay of the traditional Seder and Passover meals. The impact of the shortages continues to spread as even massive grocery store chains like Walmart are not able to keep up with demand particularly with Easter looming. The shortages are due to many factors including Covid related worker shortages. In London, kosher supervisors were finding up to 80% of the supply of chickens to be not suitable for kosher slaughter. Rabbis in Israel have also found an extraordinarily high rate of infected chickens.
Kosher poultry producers in the US and Canada have been trying to meet the holiday demand by producing round-the-clock but are finding the availability of healthy kosher chickens scarce. Some stores in Brooklyn were limiting customers to 2 packages of cut up quarter chickens as well as such products as chicken cutlets. Hotel programs were also scrambling to have an ample supply of poultry products, but some hotels say that they had pre-ordered many months ago and are expecting to have an ample supply. Passover consumers will also have to deal with the significant increases in the price of poultry and eggs even when they do find the products. “I never thought I’d have to turn customers away when they ask for chicken,” said one popular butcher in Boro Park. Most industry experts predict that the shortages may last for 3-4 months “and even more.”