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Kosher Meat Prices Drop 20% During Past Two Months

Prices of kosher meat in New York City have dropped an average of 20 percent during the past two months and appear to have leveled off at, or slightly below, their mid-August peaks, the New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty reported. Jerome M. Becker, council president, said such prices had risen an average of 20 percent between the second and third week in August during a nation-wide meat shortage.

The drop was indicated in the third survey of such prices by the council since Aug. However, wide price fluctuations were reported from the various parts of the metropolitan area in which the council funds local Jewish community councils to help New York City’s estimated 272,000 poor Jews. The council said that in some instances, the discrepancies were attributed to differences in prices between kosher and glatt kosher meat,

Glatt kosher meat, the only kind accepted by some very Orthodox families, is defined by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, which maintains a nation-wide public service kosher certification program, as meat from a kosher animal, ritually slaughtered, the lungs of which are to be free of adhesions of any type.” Such meat, the council said, is called “glatt” or perfectly. smooth and has come to mean special care in inspection of carcasses of kosher animals.

Becker said the “measurable reduction” in kosher meat prices must mean that kashrut-observing elderly Jewish poor “will not be confronted with unbearable hardships in maintaining the dietary laws that are fundamental to their religious way of life.” Council data indicated that lowest current prices for glatt kosher chicken were found in Boro Park in Brooklyn, while prices were equally high on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the Concourse area in the Bronx, and Far Rock away in Queens. Glatt kosher chopped meat was found to be lowest in price in Brooklyn’s Coney Island and highest in Far Rockaway, Becker said.

REGULAR KOSHER CHICKEN PRICES FLUCTUATE ALL OVER CITY

Regular kosher chicken varied from lowest prices in Coney Island to the most expensive in the Washington Heights-Inwood section of Manhattan. Chopped kosher meat prices ranged from a low in Coney Island to a high in Far Rockaway. Lowest prices for kosher chuck were reported in Coney Island and the highest in Washington Heights-Inwood. Coney Island reported the lowest prices for kosher rib steak in the city. Brighton Beach in Brooklyn and Far Rockaway had the highest prices in that category.

The survey found that on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, kosher meat prices were down slightly more than 20 percent from mid-August highs. Chopped meat, totally unavailable in the area which has a large population of Jewish poor, is now reported available at $1.69 a pound. Kosher chopped meat in the Bronx, another area of Jewish poor, which hit a peak of $2, is reported down 35 percent to $1.29, but glatt kosher chopped meat was $1.60 a pound.

Becker said the greatest price fluctuations were recorded in Brooklyn, where chicken is down by 20 to 30 percent, chuck down 10 percent and chopped meat down 10 to 15 percent from August highs. Rib steaks were reported down an average of 10 percent, selling at up to $2,79 but with some butchers selling the steaks at $1.98 a pound.

Rabbi Jack Cohen, council executive director, said that despite the downward trend in prices, the disparity between kosher and non-kosher meats was “astronomical,” a situation exacerbated by the still higher prices for glatt kosher meats. He suggested the creation, with government help, of shopping cooperatives in poverty pockets in the city to provide a more equitable price structure for kosher provisions in all parts of the city.

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