While it is true that shochtim who were working in South America have returned home, it is not true that there will be a shortage of meat for Pesach – and stores that have raised prices are doing so with no justification, the Chief Rabbinate said Monday. “There is a large supply of meat in warehouses, more than enough to satisfy demand for Pesach,” the Rabbinate said in a statement.
While almost all of Israel’s supply of fowl is produced domestically, much of its imported meat is imported from South America. Shochtim who work in South America – mostly in Uruguay and Argentina – are responsible for 95% of the imported kosher meat in Israel, which constitutes the large majority of meat sold in the country.
In recent days, 50 teams of shochtim have returned home in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, and the number of shochtim who remained is a small percentage of the usual number who work in South American slaughterhouses. In recent weeks, the shochtim worked at an accelerated pace in order to ensure that there would be a sufficient supply of meat for Pesach, the Rabbinate said.
“As far as we know, importers’ warehouses are fully stocked with kosher and glatt meat,” said Moshe Dagan, Rabbinate Director-General. “This is due to the planning of the Rabbinate, ensuring that there would be sufficient supplies for Pesach. We also took into account the fact that demand would be much higher this year, as many Israelis who would have gone abroad for Pesach will be at home. We are acting with all efforts and in all channels to lower the cost of living, and to ensure there is enough to supply demand. We do not see any justification for raising prices at this time,” the Rabbinate said.