Sunday, March 30, 2014

Kosher chicken makes it into Maclean’s

The shortage of kosher chicken made it into Maclean’s Magazine’s April 14 issue where the writer highlights criticisms of supply management.

Reporter Justin Ling tells how Chai Kosher Poultry sold its plant supply quota (to Sargent Farms) and left the Ontario market in the lurch with only one kosher chicken supplier for all of Canada – Marvid of Montreal.

The company could not meet demand, so hiked prices by about 50 per cent.

Ling quotes Richard Rabkin saying “the effect on the  kosher community has been quite drastic” and has hit the grocery budgets of the Orthodox Jewish community right across Canada.

Ling also tells how Alan Burke of the East Beach Jewish Community Association is leading an effort to re-open Chai Kosher Poultry, but is running into trouble lining up supplies.

Buying plant-supply quota from other processors is too expensive and so far the chicken board has not given the Jews chicken supply through its new specialty markets policy.

Maclean’s says nothing about the lack of chicken for CAMI International Poultry Inc. which had its Quebec supplies cut off when the marketing boards and large-volume processors in Ontario and Quebec made a deal to stop trade in live chicken.

That has left the Asian community in the Toronto area without a supplier of Hong Kong dressed chicken which have heads and feet left on.

CAMI is taking the chicken marketing boards and the federal government to court in an effort to get chicken supplies to revive its business and serve the Asian market.

Ling also tells how the kosher community was left without cheese this winter when the federal trade department stopped issuing supplementary import permits. There is no kosher cheese processor in Canada.

After the Jews protested, the federal government re-instated permits to import kosher cheese.
It has not granted similar import permits to CAMI.

John Slot of the Ontario Independent Poultry Processors Association has said privately that the situation simply shows that the Jewish community has more political clout than the Asians.

And neither one, it seems, has as much clout at the Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board.