Agriprocessors Suspending Production

Production at the Agriprocessors facility in Iowa has been suspended, a spokesman confirmed.

CEO Bernard Feldman confirmed two weeks ago that the Postville plant would not have “substantial production of any kind in the near future.” The statement by Abrahams is the first to confirm that production has been suspended.

Agriprocessors was the target of a massive federal immigration in May, but in recent weeks its troubles have multiplied, leading to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing earlier this month.

Several companies have filed lawsuits against Agriprocessors, including a St. Louis bank that claims the company defaulted on a $35 million loan. The former Postville plant manager, Sholom Rubashkin, was arrested twice and is now being held in federal custody on multiple charges.

Rubashkin, the son of the company owner Aaron Rubashkin, stands accused of helping illegal employees procure fake work documents and orchestrating an accounting scheme that permitted the company to borrow more money than it had collateral to cover. If convicted, Rubashkin faces more than 50 years in jail.

Agriprocessors’ production woes add to an already unstable market for kosher meat. Retailers, restaurants and customers across the country have reported shortages and price increases.

On Sunday, the market received a dose of good news when Empire Kosher Poultry, a major producer in Pennsylvania, announced it would be increasing production by 50 percent. The increase will go into effect next week, as will a 10 percent reduction in the price of boneless chicken breasts.

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