May 6, 2013

Industry Refutes ProfessorÕs Contention of Shortage of Kosher Meat

LOS ANGELES — In an article that appeared last week in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal entitled “Israel and American Kosher Red Meat Supply Don’t Add Up,” Professor Pini Herman, an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Southern California Dept. of Geography, contends that there is simply not enough kosher meat to go around. But kashrus officials and industry source say that the reason it “doesn’t add up” is because the Professor’s facts and figures are totally off base. 

Using census data and Jewish population figures, Prof. Herman makes the assumption that 880,000 Jews consume kosher red meat “at the same rate as other Americans of 113 pounds a year (as compared to the average Israeli consuming an estimated 45 pounds of red meat a year).” That in itself is his first faux pas, say the experts, since these Jews consume far more poultry than red meat, namely because of Shabbos and Jewish holidays. His calculations of how much meat is slaughtered is way off, say the experts. He says that there are “only three U.S. domestic glatt kosher processing plants Alle (primarily an importer who engages in some domestic slaughter at rented space in New York processing plant), Agri Star (in Postville, Iowa), and Noah's Ark Processors (in Dawson, Minnesota), who would each have to process approximately 400 cattle a-day to meet demand.” 

Alle is a major domestic producer and slaughters in many plants throughout the US. Herman also ignores plants like Solomon’s, Rosenthal’s, and several other smaller kosher slaughter facilities. There are many other importers of kosher meat from South America and Poland, particularly in Israel that far exceed his numbers. In a ridiculous question, Prof. Herman asks “Could it be that a glatt-kosher red-meat supply is only available for 80 thousand out of the 880 thousand American Jews estimated to eat kosher-only?” 

In an absurd conclusion, he blames recent scandals on the shortage of kosher meat and even says that “Empire Kosher does sell regular kosher beef supervised by the OU (Orthodox Union) and the KAJ (K'Hal Adath Jeshurun),” which it does not.