July 27, 2009

Empire Finally Gets a Chasidic Hechsher, but Still Not on its Own Label

Mifflintown, PA…Empire Kosher Poultry recently announced that it was launching a new line of kosher poultry in mid-August, under the supervision of Rabbi Binyomin Gruber of Monsey. Although many Chasidic groups have used the poultry facility in Mifflintown to produce poultry, this would mark the first time that a Chasidic hechsher publicly acknowledges use of the Empire plant. A statement by Empire noted: “In light of its recent announcement that Empire will be expanding capacity in the kosher poultry market, the company received requests to add a Chasidishe Schechita (Chasidic-run slaughter) on a “contract manufacturing” basis. Empire invited Rabbi Gruber to inspect the Mifflintown facility to determine its suitability for this type of production. His inspection and follow-up visits essentially created the new brand, which will be sold directly into Chasidic communities.” While Empire did not identify the contractor, it said: “The new production will be contracted for by a family-owned master distribution company in the New York City area. That company’s mission is to bring the best quality Kosher poultry to the Chasidic community – at affordable prices.” Sources said that Empire was still reluctant to add a Chasidic certification on its Empire label, which remains under the reliable supervision of the Orthodox Union. The dual certifications have become increasingly popular as food manufacturers seek to attract an estimated 250,000 Chasidic Jews, most of which purchase food products that include the certification of a Chasidic certification agency or rabbi they trust.