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July 03, 2009

Empire Kosher Doubles Production

Empire_kosher_logo New proprietary equipment allows Empire to dramatically boost production.

The press release:

Empire Kosher Poultry Announces New Production Line More than Doubles Weekly Chicken Capacity


MIFFLINTOWN, PA - Empire Kosher Poultry today announced plans to significantly increase its Kosher chicken capacity in time for the High Holiday peak demand period. Empire Kosher's addition of a new, high-speed evisceration line will more than double its capacity. Empire's regularly scheduled non-holiday production capacity is approximately 225,000 chickens per week, with a peak holiday production capacity of approximately 350,000 chickens per week. With the addition of the new line, Empire's regular capacity will expand to more than 500,000 chickens per week and almost 800,000 chickens per week at peak times. Greg Rosenbaum, CEO of Empire, stated, "With our expansion, we believe Empire's capacity will equal or exceed the combined production of Empire and its largest competitor prior to May 2008. Our intent is to assure Kosher consumers that there will be adequate supplies of Kosher chicken in the market at all times. This will particularly impact the peak holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Passover, when we expect Empire's new capacity to prevent the shortages that have historically plagued the industry. Kosher poultry is our business, and we are committed to helping all Kosher consumers who want to serve a holiday poultry meal to do so." Empire, working with a large international supplier of poultry factory equipment, made proprietary changes to a state of the art chicken line. This proprietary design smoothly integrates Kosher slaughter and Rabbinical inspection with the highest speed equipment permitted in United States poultry plants by the Department of Agriculture. Empire has the exclusive right to use the equipment in the Kosher poultry industry for at least three years. Responding to poultry shortages caused by the bankruptcy of a competitor, last November Empire announced that it would increase its chicken capacity by 50% to ensure uninterrupted supplies of Kosher poultry. That capacity expansion was accomplished by altering production schedules and the use of labor overtime. The new line allows Empire to produce more Kosher poultry while returning to regular production schedules. Rosenbaum continued, "We could not have supplied the market with sufficient poultry at Passover without the cooperation and dedication of our union workers and the skill of our Rabbinic workforce. Our union workers, our union, our Rabbis and our supervising Kashrus agencies have worked with us from the very beginning of this project in order to make this expansion seamless." "This additional capacity fits our commitment at Empire to build the nation's finest producer of Kosher poultry products, maintaining the highest standards of Kashrus, food safety, animal welfare, worker conditions and customer service, not to mention product quality and superior taste. Empire also remains committed to being a good corporate citizen." Empire has a record of making charitable poultry donations, including its donation earlier this year of 25 tons of Kosher poultry to food banks in New York City operated by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. About Empire Kosher Poultry, Inc. Empire Kosher Poultry, Inc. is the largest Kosher poultry producer in the United States. With facilities in central Pennsylvania, Empire produces Kosher chickens and Kosher turkeys for the North American market through a fully integrated process, including breeder farms, egg hatcheries, feed mill, grow out houses and processing facilities. Through this fully vertically integrated approach Empire continues to deliver the highest quality poultry products available anywhere. Empire products have won numerous national and international poultry taste-test competitions, and are available in supermarkets, warehouse clubs and butcher shops. For more information visit www.empirekosher.com. # # #

Comments

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Good luck, Agri.

Empire products always seem to be very good quality. Also glad to hear about that new organic line. The previous thread about them mentioned that the chickens are free-range, which is also good news.

Shmarya, does the hassidic/haredi crowd eat Empire products? I seem to recall back in my Lubavitch days that they avoided Empire, even before Rubashkin came into being.

That's the whole Chabad shechita thing, which has nothing to do with kashrut. They also avoided Vineland, etc.

Just as I suspected. Thanks.

The Empire Strikes Back.

This makes the previous post even better.

Now, there's a real chance, if enough consumers demand truly free range humane Kosher poultry, for Empire to be able to meet the demand.

Whoever is in line to buy Agri, should now think twice.

Lubav's account for a small percentage of kosher poultry purchases. Most Kosher poultry is purchased by Conservatives, Reconstructionists, and ... non-Jews. Non-Jews buy kosher poultry because every foodie mag that rates poultry puts kosher birds at the top of the list. They reason that the koshering process is similar to brining and produces a bird that tastes better.

Maybe a stupid question.

If Agri folds or is liquidated, where are the Lubavs going to get their chicken?

A new plant just started operating in New York. Their product is nice and clean.This plant was started by someone who used to be a player at Empire. Doubtful that it would be acceptable to Lubav's but who knows.
Shabbat Shalom and chag samayach!

Hi SOD,

Shabbat Shalom and chag samayach to you, too!

Please keep up informed and updated re this new plant.

I pray that the consuming public will eventually demand the humanly raised and slaughtered poultry from Empire.

Then, at least, a substancial amount of Kosher poultry will have their animals raised and slaughtered, according to Torah precepts, abandoning the Factory-Farming paradigm.

Then, maybe, in the future, the same thing might occur in the Kosher beef industry.


Lubavich didn't eat Empire and encourged everyone else not to use its products for at least last 15-20 years. I don't believe this going to change.

What is the problem with Empire shechita anyway? Why Lubavich is opposed to it?

New proprietary equipment allows Empire to dramatically boost production.

Any chance that this will result in lower prices or will that only happen when more competition appears.

Any chance that this will result in lower prices or will that only happen when more competition appears.

Empire cut wholesale prices about six months ago.

It will be very interesting to see what happens at the Agriprocessors auction tomorrow.

This updated information on Empire, may have a negative effect on the bidder(s) willingness to take control of a facility, that would have a very difficult time to compete in the Kosher chicken market.

I think there is still alot of room for competition since chicken prices that have gone up for the pesach holiday haven't really come down since. Locally where I live chicken is $2.55/lb.

That's your distributor or store, not Empire.

Remember, there are a few other producers, as well: Vineland, David Elliot, etc.

Let's hope the quality doesn't drop any further. Over the past few years (?), we've noticed the production become increasingly sloppy, with significant remaining quills, skin baring hanging onto pieces by a small section, incorrect piece counts cut-up factory-sealed packages, etc. The best kosher chicken we've had was Wise brand, although it was also twice the price of Empire.

Sounds like Empire has a quality control problem that needs correction, if they want to maintain their share of the business.

Have you or anyone else contacted Empire about this.

If they are on the up-and-up, they will takes comments seriously and act accordingly.

I think much of the problems with Empire came from doubling its production to make up for Agriprocessors' slow down.

Hopefully the new equipment will not only double production again, but will also help with QC.

Wise chicken cutlets at Whole Foods here is $11.99/lb. Nonkosher organic free-range chicken cutlets are $10.99/lb.

Empire chicken cutlets are $6.49/lb (not the organic). I wonder how much Empire will charge for the new organic line.

The head mashgiach at Empire Mifflinton for many years was a chassidishe rov, I know, cause I was related to him. AFAIK he did not eat Empire at home though.

i don't understand why this article is here. fm only reports bad news for orthodox jews, and this is good news...

It's good news, since Empire is going to produce truly humanely raised and slaughtered poultry at, hopefully, competitive prices.

Anyone hear anything further about Empire's plans to delve into the kosher beef market? I thought they were going to work with Rosenblatt on this project.

More good news, if this happens.

Would make it much more likely that Agri will go bust or be liquidated.

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