The Premier Group of Companies is opening a kosher chicken-processing plant in Abingdon in West Lincoln in the Niagara Peninsula.
The province has been without a kosher chicken-processing plant since 2013 when Chai Kosher of Toronto sold its supply rights to Sargent Farms Ltd.
Ontario’s large-volume chicken processors agreed to yield enough of their chicken supplies so a kosher plant could set up business in Ontario, and the Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board put out invitations for a plant.
“We are extremely pleased that Ontario consumers will now have a local option for their kosher chicken purchasing needs," said Henry Zantingh, chairman of the chicken marketing board.
The only Canadian plant left after Chai closed was in Montreal and wholesale prices increased significantly.
"The decision to accept the application of Premier Kosher Inc. is the culmination of tremendous effort on the part of both farmers and industry to find a suitable business partner to own and operate an Ontario kosher chicken processing plant,” Zantingh said in a news release.
“The Ontario chicken industry understands the importance of addressing the needs of all consumers in Ontario,” said Michael Burrows, chairman of the Association of Ontario Chicken Processors (AOCP).
“We are pleased that Premier Kosher Inc. will be in a position to support the ongoing need of kosher consumers to have a locally grown and processed source of chicken.”
Paul Tzellos, president of Premier Kosher Inc., said “this is an exciting opportunity and we look forward to working with the community to ensure that Premier Kosher becomes a trusted and preferred choice for kosher chicken.
The Kashruth Council of Canada (COR) will be working with the Premier Kosher processing plant to provide the kosher certification.
“Ontario’s Jewish community has been looking forward to welcoming the arrival of a new kosher processing plant for several years to provide local Ontario-grown, fresh, kosher chicken,” said Richard Rabkin, Executive Director of the council. Chicken Farmers of Ontario will be working with Chicken Farmers of Canada for an allocation of additional supply to serve the kosher community.
"This has been a long process and this announcement is yet another signal that CFO and the chicken industry of Ontario are open for business and working to meet the needs of all core, niche and specialty chicken markets in Ontario," said Rob Dougans, president and chief executive officer of the chicken board.
Premier Kosher Inc. is also being advised by Chuck Weinberg, former owner of Chai Poultry.
The Premier Kosher plant is expected to be operating by January will have an initial capacity of 50,000 chickens per week.
It expects to employ up to 80 people.