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Kosher meat shortage in Cape Town

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BRIAN JOSS

This was the result of the closure of Claremont Kosher in Cape Town, who supplied most of the kosher meat outlets in the city. Now there is a shortage of local kosher meat.  A great deal of the meat now being sold, is brought up from Johannesburg.

Much like the lamb chops the woman picked up in Checkers. They would ordinarily been sold at Nussbaum’s in Johannesburg for R270 a kilogram. They were flown in and Checkers had to pay for that cost and include it in their own mark-up.

Checkers’ kosher meat usually came from Claremont Kosher’s factory in Paarden Eiland, where Cape Town’s community could also buy their meat directly.

“The UOS Cape Council is aware of the shortage of kosher meat supply in the Western Cape and that this has had an impact upon the insufficient supply of kosher meat to the community,” according to a statement from the United Orthodox Synagogues, Cape Council (UOS Cape).

“We are currently engaging this as a matter of urgency and we hope that we shall be able to resolve this problem shortly and be the bearer of positive news,” said the statement signed by Eric Berger, UOS Cape executive director and chairman, Ivan Klitzner.

Cape Town’s kashrut chief Desmond Maizels said that the other kosher butcheries ( Norrie, Pick n Pay Claremont, Sea Point, and Constantia), have over the past two weeks been asked to increase their stock and production.

Berger told the SA Jewish Report: “We can’t speak for private businesses… As soon as we are privy to more details we will inform the community accordingly. Whether Claremont Kosher is in liquidation will soon be known.”

Word has it that the owner of Claremont Kosher, Alan Schwartz, is emigrating to Australia. Schwartz refused to comment.

Sarita van Wyk, spokesperson for the Shoprite Checkers Group, said they knew Claremont Kosher was closing and made arrangements with an alternative meat supplier for Checkers Sea Point.

“The Kosher Deli is outsourced and butchery products are procured from a reputable manufacturer in Johannesburg. The Shoprite supermarkets in Milnerton and Bothasig have a smaller kosher offering with packaged cold and fresh meat displayed in a dedicated refrigeration unit.

“The Kosher Deli in Sea Point is outsourced to Berkies and the butchery products are procured from Nussbaum’s in Johannesburg,” she said.

Barry Berkowitz, owner of Berkies, said he also has to get most of his meat for the deli from Johannesburg, which adds to the cost, “but I am trying to keep it to the minimum to the benefit of the community”.

Other kosher meat retailers either got their meat from the smaller meat suppliers or they are bringing meat down from Johannesburg.

Miki Smith, the kosher chef at Suikerbossie restaurant in Hout Bay, who provide kosher meals a few times a week, says: “The shortage of kosher meat is a big problem, especially in season, when the holidaymakers from Gauteng arrive in November, January and March. 

The SA Jewish Report asked Baruch Lurie, owner of Nussbaum’s who stepped into the breach when Claremont Kosher closed, if he would be interested in taking over the butchery at Checkers Sea Point. He said it was not a simple question.

But if not Nussbaum’s, then who?

 

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