David Trakhtman feeling fed up, July 13 at 1:12pm
I am sorry but this is absolutely ridiculous...
I am not from ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Comission) but being an Australian consumer, I simply wanna know what is justification for the doubled price of the same cut of meat.
I am not an accountant but (even with an inclusion of costs of a shochet [traditional slaughter] and rabbinical supervision) I wanna know how we come to this cost.
I am not on an official mission to convince my fellow Jews to commit keeping kosher, but how can I look in the eye of my brothers and sisters (most of whom, evidently are carnivorous beings) and preach to them an importance of adherence to our dietary law and tradition ?
What hope do I (and my colleagues-kosher caterers) have that on any given day some less-observant Jew will choose to have his Simcha catered kosher ?
How often (or rather rare) can your average observant family expect to eat meat these days, given the costs of private education and other bare necessities ?
I don't wanna pick a fight but I am alarmed and immensely disturbed.
Well I don't see the harm in getting the ACCC involved. Because it's so unfathomable that a Jew would rip off a fellow Jew, it will be very comforting for the ACCC to confirm that their seemingly excessive prices are actually justified. I and you are among many no doubt that will find great comfort in such a finding.
The truth is official statement that reflects some sort of transparency and accountability is long overdue
ACCC won't look at this nor can they do anything about it. Perhaps it would be better to ask the kashrut authorities how much they are charging and how these costs could be minimised. How could costs be cut in the organisation and who is milking the system. Just look at what happened in Sydney and you have your answer.
I can assure you (based on private discussions with particular kashrut authority). It's out of their hands
I can assure you, based in discussions with many people in the industry and having seen it myself, people are being charged excessive costs for things as simple as a kosher lePesach sticker or mashgichim who do not even check things (or make big deals of things which they don't even understand).
I have had good dealings with them, however certain areas/people lack any form of professionalism and this results in extra costs.
Correct David Trakhtman. Don't forget that we cannot eat the rear half of the animal (unless deveining and nerve removal etc). It all comes at a cost. Even if all animals are found to be acceptable, you are only getting half an animal.
Reuven Segal .. So you are saying that the part of the animal that is treif is not sold elsewhere?
Correct (to my understanding). It is time consuming and thus expensive to remove the veins and a specific nerve (sciatic??) so is not done in Australia. It is available in Israel however (for example).
Looooong overdue David Trakhtman... Transparency and accountability would be good
Sorry for interrupting, but just wanted to say, that we have just the same problem here (Estonia). We are bringing meat from France and Germany and it costs not double, but more than 1.5 from usual price of non-kosher meat.
I learned what makes cost of meat and it really depends on various factors - all shochetim are coming from other places and majority from Israel. So, first it is travel expenses. Secondly, making shechita in Estonia or Latvia is a real pain - most of the animals are just sick. So, treifing 8 cows out of 10 is a huge problem. Another issue is small number of consumers, the less we consume, the higher price. The higher price, the less we consume wink emoticon
Just recently Poland allowed again kosher slaughter and this might improve the price, because before ban, 70% of exported meat from Poland was kosher and the price was something like 20-30% higher from non-kosher meat.
And from my experience, the main issue causing price is poor management and logistics in small kosher meat companies.
Can you share this on the "Ask Kosher Australia" page? You might (hopefully) get a response there.
Misha Beshkin The only reason the shochtim are coming from Israel is because the Rabbinical Authority in Israel blackmailed them, as well as many other European countries. For example, I believe it was Holland that was told that either they bring over Israeli shochtim or the Rabbinical authority in Israel will deem all Dutch kosher produce to be non- kosher, amongst other things. This is fact. Think about all these costs- flying them over, room and board, food, wages, bribes (One could reasonably assume), etc. This is the reason so many would drive to France with a car full of eskies and bring back frozen meat.
Tanya Munz- a response or an honest response?
Maya Laznik Yehonadav
I bought 2kg Shnithzels for 70$!!!! ( solomon)
At coles a non kosher kg for18$ only!!!
Exclusive control! Be vegetarian for a while they might put the price down, such an exploitation!
Assuming you are correct Reuven Segal, not that Im in any place to question you... The only other option would be for a JCCC to be formed. At least for this once off. The cosumers are in charge at the end of the day, but singularly - powerless.
Shai Szep I am not a butcher, however know enough to be able to give a fact- based response. That being said, the price of meat from a good non-kosher product from a butcher that cares is not that dissimilar to the price of kosher meat. Not to say all kosher meat is great quality (by Australian standards), but if you choose the right butcher, you will at least get a decent product. This last point was told to me by people in the kosher food industry who do not necessarily keep kosher.
What is with UBER? I am lost.
Dianne Kahlberg There was a report late last week I believe that even non-kosher meat has in some cases almost doubled. The meats that were traditionally used by the butchers for beef sausages has even risen to the point where some butchers are replacing it with pork only.
If you want to bring up issues of cost, look towards chicken. Perhaps Solomon's would be willing to explain things? Eric Silver-anything to say?I understand you might have some insight?
Reuven Segal - it's a stupid ride sharing service that is not regulated. You share the ride at your own risk & bc it's a commercial agreement, the driver has no legal insurance covergare if c'v there's an accident etc https://www.uber.com/
Well its nice to read an opinion that strongly suggests we arent being taken advantage of Reuven Segal. On the condition you arent friends or related to anyone in the kosher butcher industries higher ups tongue emoticon
Thanks Dov Bartak . I know what UBER is, but we are not talking about ride sharing a cow.
I am trying to understand the connection to the discussion.
Reuven Segal so am I..I think the point is the transport costs?? maybe?? Michael Roth - anways it is what it is. If you all want cheaper kosher meat, then make aliyah smile emoticon
Shai Szep: I have to pay for meat like anyone else. I am not related to anyone in the industry. It is difficult for me as well (who the hell came up with the idea of a vegetarian meal anyway?!). What I am saying is that I am aware of the costs associated with beef production.
Take the Kosher vs Coles Special price for a cut of meat. Kosher Continental=$42/kg (cannot speak for Solomons) and Coles special = $26. (lets say $32 regular plus or minus). That means where $10/kg difference.
+half animal lost
+animals rejected due to illness
+koshering and checking animals
+loss from rejected animals
+cost of hechsher
+shochet....................etc (perhaps KA would like to tell us how much a shochet is being paid?
Do you still want to tell me that my opinion is unfounded?
As I said, perhaps we should look at the poultry side of things and how that is controlled. It is my understanding that the costs cannot be justified in the same way as beef.
I was very much kidding, Reuven Segal. That was why I made sure to include the tongue emoticon. Anyway, I guess roughly speaking it doesnt sound so bad. Nothing wrong with paying for good quality. If it were between being cheap and nasty or expensive and great, Id choose the latter. Of course not everyone would agree with me and thats understandable. Maybe there is room for a mediocre butcher? I am proud that out butchers are of high quality at the end of the day. I still wouldnt mind seeing the whole cost analysis kosher vs non. Well Id actually prefer someone else summed it all up... Would be interesting either way!
Shai Szep We do have some excellent butchers who do care and others who care very little and the lack of care or quality is obvious.
As for Coles, there have been many reports of what is done to the meat to ensure it looks decent, smells decent and ages differently (heard of the year old meat??).
Anyway....time to fire up the BBQ and consume the kids inheritance.
I am concerned that involving accc will hike the prices even further.
let me explain why - at one stage I was talking about the price for chicken and reasons for such a huge difference. it was made clear to me, that the reason is a lack of competition as not many farms are happy with people coming and checking the way chickens are grown and butched. if it will become more onus (and sorry for saying, but accc has a lot of arseh*les), we only will see further price increases.
so my suggestion is not to get them involved.
David, you have my mobile. please call me if still unsure. and please don't do anything rush.
Rest assured, I got better things to do with my life
Short Black Mark
As somebody who has not eaten meat (kosher or non-kosher) for over 15 years, i can't add too much to the 'price of meat' discussion... However, as the producer of another locally made kosher product, I can tell you that you should be directing your questions to both the supervising kashrut authority and the producer. The hourly charge for mashgichim is extremely high. Well above award wages. Having said that, it's also up to the producer to decide how they deal with that extra cost. We made the decision to sell our wine for the same price it would sell at in the general market. And as a result of this, we sell 5 bottles to the general market for every 1 bottle we sell in the kosher market (Apparently only Jewish people think all kosher wine is bad!)... Maybe the butchers have a different business model? Knowing that people will buy their meat regardless???
Makes my BLOOD BOIL!!!
Reuven Segal, could you explain why "half animal lost" is an issue? I understand it not being kosher etc but why can't they be onsold to other butchers? Seems like a lost revenue opportunity.
Tanya Munz I would say in short because cheaper for butchers to buy a whole animal??
They are onsold to non-kosher butchers, as far as I know, albeit for somewhat reduced price
Tanya Munz: Of course it is sold on but it means that for any animal processed, you are only getting half (less?) of the product, including some of the best cuts.
The kosher slaughter means that animals are not being processed in the same manner as non-kosher animals and subsequently it is not the most efficient way and this leads to it being more costly for them to process. It must be sold off cheaply for them to be willing to take it.
Many if not most(??) of the butchers now buy animals already processed and cut into portions (non- kosher that is) and ready for sale.
I am in the U.S. at the moment, and the red meat here is more expensive and of inferior quality. At least in the South East. The poultry is cheaper, but not as good, but I think they have lower standards regarding animal welfare.
David, you should be asking why there is such a discrepancy in prices between kosher butchers. Continental is much cheaper than Solomans, and the meat is nicer. Melbourne Kosher is in between, but Yankel is very generous to the needy. It's lack of competition. Solomans can be more expensive because it can get away with it because of a captured market with Chabad.
I think that there is a huge cost to the production of red meat. On the other hand, poultry is far too expensive. I've been told by someone involved in the meat kashrut business that poultry shouldn't be more than 20 - 30% more than non kosher, because there isn't much to do. Killing, draining of the blood, soaking and salting. No deveining etc, like with red meat. Again, lack of competition.
But again, don't compare kosher meat with the supermarket. Compare with a local butcher. Supermarkets have high turnover, low margins, and buying volume to force down prices.
Correct Diane.....on all points. US meat is horrible.
The chickens are worse.
Reuven, I bought an organic chicken to try. It was about $14/ kilo, so very expensive. Tough as an old boot! We threw it out. The regular hormone free chicken we had the previous week was fine. Also the cheaper turkey wings were inedible, and the mince was full of fat.
Tanya Munz, Reuven Segal, David Trakhtman - whatever it costs to run a meat processing plant, non-Kosher process twice as many animals as Kosher in the same time i.e. for the same processing cost because the line MUST run slower in order to identify and prevent confusion between the Kosher, the non-Kosher and sometimes also the Super Glatt Kosher. The carcases are sectioned and each part needs to be positively identified and tracked. The lungs need to be checked.
Let's say the processing plant costs 10K for an hour
non-K produce 100 beasts av edible meat per beast 600Kg, 60,000Kg for $10,000 = $6/Kg
Kosher process [at the most] 50 beasts [more likely 40], 20 might be completely disqualified as Tereif, and of the remaining 30 we only take 60%, the forequarters
Looking at the TOTAL meat produced $12/Kg
Kosher only has 60% of 30,000 Kg
the remaining 40% is sold but ONLY for <$6/Kg i.e. at $6 less than what it costs to produce it
so the Kosher prices to the Kosher consumer MUST subsidise that 60% which is sold BELOW production cost
But that still does not account for the enormous discrepancy in cost of Kosher meat
Thanks for that explanation, Rabbi-Meir Rabi. Although I thought the rejection rate in Australia was lower because the cattle were grass fed in paddocks, rather than stall fed? But that doesn't account for the cost of poultry. I bet if poultry was $8/kg, they would still make a good profit.
yeah - we've been through this before and all I get is the bleating of "4 legs good 2 legs bad"
Let's consider the following:
Kosher chicken costs on av, $7/Kg more than non-Kosher
5,000Kg of Kosher is processed/week 35K EXTRA
let's pay 2 rabbis $100/hr for 10 hours/week 2K
let's pay 2 Shochtim $100/hr for 20 hours/week 4K
let's pay 3 Mashgichim $80/hr for 40 hours/week 9.6K
let's pay 3 admin staff $80/hr for 20 hours/week 4.8K
that's $20,400 from 35K
leaving $14,600 spare cash EVERY WEEK
It is also V troubling that the Rabbis and K orgs have not explained this - and my guess is that they do not wish to be drawn into a discussion in which they will have to offer transparent figures
because at the end of the day - there is still an enormous gap between the money brought in by Kosher meat and poultry
Well...perhaps we have to look at the figures you quoted Rabbi-Meir Rabi. What gives a kosher authority the right to pay the rabbi $100/hr, a mashgiach and admin $80/hr?? I am aware of how much shochtim really get paid and am disgusted by it.
How can that be justified? If we want to lower the price of kosher meat, bringing the kashrut authorities to account would be the first logical step.
I am speculating. I am suggesting that even if they pay that much and it is justified, rabbis after all, carry great responsibilities and have acquired great expertise and must continue studying and being a servant to their community - something is still not adding up
Servant to their community? For $100/hr? An engineer must keep studying to keep up with latest advances, programs and may spend 5-10+ years getting degrees and won't come close to this. They have great responsibilities too, acquire great expertise (certainly more than many so- called Rabbis). Good luck trying to get $100/hour.
As for servant to the community, a Rabbi charging $100/hour is a servant to no- one but himself, and certainly not doing it for the community.
Anyway - here is the biggest truely the BIGGEST issue with all of this. Discussion about the unreasonably high costs of Kosher, comes up regularly and in all the years it has been aired the rabbis and Kosher orgs feel no need to respond -THEY FEEL NO NEED to RESPOND.
THAT is the real problem - a communal org that makes or sanctions that the community pay and need not disclose
just as there has been no response to this -
Critical Kosher Alert
Melbourne and Sydney Cafe/Restaurants have critical Kashrus flaws. Kosher Australia Melbourne - KAM , and its sister agency KAS [Kosher Authority Sydney] do not employ systems that prevent nor even...
You still have to pay for the chickens and the processing plant. I bet the staffing expenses is lower than that.
Depends on which butcher you're talking about, Reuven. Take scotch fillet. Good butcher, $34/kg, Continental Kosher Butchers, $42/kg, Solomoms butcher, $54.45/kg. Big discrepancies. Non kosher may be even more. Haven't looked lately.
Chickens and processing plant ALREADY included bcs my calculations are for the EXTRA cost of Kosher chickens, on av $7 more than non K
Correct Diane Katz. Big difference between Continental Kosher Butchers and Solomons. The quality of Solomons beef cannot compare to Continental either, so I cannot understand why it is so much more expensive. However, if you think that $8/kg extra on a $40 cut of meat is excessive, you haven't fully understood the costs involved. The explanation given by Rabbi-Meir Rabi in terms of losses and extra costs justifies the extra 17.5%. I don't want to pay it either but someone has to if they want their meat kosher. I do believe the kosher authorities need to be open and honest for a change.
Chickens on the other hand.........Eric Silver anything to add?
I think Continental Kosher Butchers prices are entirely reasonable. Just commenting on the differences between them and Solomons. They are, after all, a business, not a charity.
But Rabbi-Meir Rabi is just speculating, as he said. I'm sure the wages expenses would be lower than that. But there are other costs.
BTW, Reuven, just opened the Camembert I made. I took it to the U.S. with me. It was amazing. Not quite ripe yet, but the taste was amazing. Will make more! Thanks!
Rabbi-Meir Rabi: Who polices the police? The scandal regarding the disgusting behavior of certain individuals from Sydney's kashrut elite goes to show that they must be open, or blocked.
Diane Katz: this will get you started:http://www.jewishnews.net.au/.../kashrut-commission-of...
Then you can look at how Kosher Australasia was set up and by whom. It just gets worse from there.
Kashrut Commission of Inquiry | The Australian Jewish News
THE NSW Kashrut Authority (KA) has 36 days to make...
Reuven Segal, see here
The only question being who verifies the verifier, because a lot of power in the hands of a couple of people is a recipe for disaster. Work conditions of the Kashrut supervisors and their integrity could also be overseen and val...See More
Time to Break the Monopoly
Kashrut and other religious services have become lazy and careless. There is no need for them to improve...
Some transparency would be good. These "loyal" or secret religious institutions like yeshiva are corrupt and self serving, creating anti Jewish sentiment amongst both Jews nd Gentiles.
Rabbi-Meir Rabi: What the community DOES NOT NEED is another governing body. It just needs to bring in people who are not connected and protected who actually believe in what they are doing.
All kosher companies need are people asking foolish questions for hours on end when there is real work to be done. Most people really don't know or understand the rules anyway (you are surely aware of how much rubbish information is out there, much of which comes from kashrut authorities based on what side of the bed they woke up on that day rather than religious fact). As one former kosher restaurant owner once told KA when he was not being supervised properly despite paying hefty fees- "I am not paying you to trust that I am doing the right thing. I am paying you to make sure that I am not making mistakes". If current authorities cannot do their jobs, kick them to the curb as would happen in any REAL organisation .
Reuven, if unsure your friend had people to ask. so your claim is - more inspections will make it more affordable? and just because your friend is unsure what people do, it doesn't make them doing nothing. we have a working body.
there is no organisations where rules are simple (regardless of religious affiliation). check anything - any work place. name one and I will show you b*llsh... around it. let us be realistic.
the price can be driven down by competition. so we need a larger consumption market and new outlets. latter is a possible.
Margarita Stein: You misunderstand what happened. The owner was rarely being checked. He was religious, educated and did not have any questions, but wanted to do the right thing by his customers. He spoke to KA, was told they trust him (more or less) and he responded to the effect that even if he tries to do the right thing, it was possible for him to stuff up and he expected them to be his safety plan.....this is the pretty accurate gist of it. Quite honorable considering how many stuff ups(made public or not) have occurred at kosher stores over the years.
I don't accept that there should be "b*llsh..." at a religious kosher institution. If so, something has to be done from the top down. This is what is driving up prices unnecessarily- bullsh*t by those out to protect themselves and their hip pocket. The fact that they refused to be honorable and open their books says just about all I need to know, and their actions say everything else. They work for themselves and not the community or religion (the 'they' know who 'they' are). Being open would force them to scrutiny which is something that they don't like and subsequently do not do.
Price can be driven down by competition but 'let us be realistic'. Is it competition amongst the butchers or the kashrut authorities that needs to be addressed? As for butchers, it is not realistic to assume we can support others. There is simply no 'larger consumption market'.
I'll tell you what's not adding up Rabbi-Meir Rabi... It's a monopoly. Plain and simple.
how often is often enough, Reuven? who will decide? I have trust in the organisation, sorry they didn't check your friend. however, since he has done things right, you just proved my point - the decision made was correct.
any organisation has a set of rules, which often don't make sense for ppl outside (and sometimes inside too).
competition is a real driving force and with the small community it's not easy.
Tanya, small community is not easy to serve. however denying the reality of the situation and the expense associated with it is not the way.
real question is the competition abd our support for it.
Margarita Stein What utter rubbish! Why do stores need a hechsher at all then? Are we to assume that they are all going to do the right thing, just because they wear a kippah or dress the part? Look at what happeened in Germany with the butcher and the US with the slaughterhouse, Israel with the ultra- Charedi wedding hall importing meat from Gaza, and so on. They all dressed the part and abused the trust. The 'decision', if consciously made, means that he should not have to pay for the hecsher. After all, what is he paying for? A certificate? I would print him one for free.
This set of rules that don't make sense for people 'outside the click' is bogus. Why does no-one from KA for example explain them? Why do they refuse to give concrete responses? If the rules do not make sense for someone 'inside' such a small organisation, then perhaps it is because it was a bad decision. Bring in a professional to do the job properly instead of giving someone tenure. In any reasonable organisation has rules put down on paper. What does KA have? Can you forward me anything?
There is no denying the expense associated with kosher meat production. I have nothing to gain from it, financially or otherwise. What I am opposed to however is that everything has been covered up and die hard supporters refuse to own up to the fact that we are being taken for a ride, sometimes by the retailers, but certainly by some of the authorities. The fact that they are covering up everything leads me to this understanding. Perhaps they are afraid to have to answer why certain people are being paid excessive wages (thus pushing up prices) for minimal work, or hiring someone known in the community as a bully (and worse), even though he has atleast 3 other community- related jobs (really? he can work 4 jobs?). To clear these community- based organisations, perhaps they just have to be honest for a change. Not so difficult.
Ruvi, You seem to be obsessed by the excessive wages paid to shochtim and mashgichim. I dont know of any mashgiach that is being paid excessively for their work. Yes, in some cases the hourly rate looks good, but when you take into account that the work in those cases is casual - no work no pay, as well as very early starts and staggered working hours it really isnt so great after all. I'm curious to know what you think is a justified wage?
Short Black Mark
Adam Ruschinek... I can't speak for Reuven Segal but I think the issue at hand is not what the individual mashgichim get paid but what the kosher producers get charged by kashrut authorities.
I am talking across the organisation. I have come across many mashgichim over the years who, for example, were supervising shops and didn't know the basics of kitniot (shops preparing for Pesach). Their knowledge is minimal and so should be their wages. I do not care if work is casual- get an education or find a role that is full- time. Who hasn't worked long hours and had early starts? Do you think people in food production do not work long hours and have early starts every day and many weekends? David Trakhtman- care to give us some insight into your work week? Ask a kosher butcher what time they begin work and how many hours a day they work.
How can a company be charged $50 per hour for a mashgiach to more or less sit there with no added benefit? I know it happens. Who is charged for this? It is all of us.
My point is that KA as an organisation refuses to be honest and open.
Short Black Mark: you are entirely correct. How can kosher food producers keep prices down when 1. they cannot work of shabbat or chagim 2. they have to pay for expensive kosher supplies and 3. They have to pay for excessive supervision by kosher authorities??
I am done with this topic. As usual in this community, it is never the fault of an organisation or the people in it. It is the people being abused by the system in place who are really at fault.
Reuven Segal I think kosher Australia are having an info night tonight. U can ask your questions there!
I believe it is a last minute thing since all this has blown up.
I have asked questions before and not received either a response or a respectable response. For example, I was told to contact the 'Rav HaMachshir' about specific industrial cheesemaking products because there is no list- 'only he knows'- and was helpfully told to go look on some websites. I had to call OU in the US to get a proper response. That is service? From the head of an organisation? That being said, I have had good, honest and helpful discussions with certain employees there (many thanks Yankel Wajsbort and Mordy Hoenders), some I have known for many years. With all that being said, I do not expect that there will be much in the way of honest answers and transparency. That is what I want and anything less is meaningless. What is there to hide?
They know the questions people are asking, and they know what people expect.
Perhaps I am expecting too much.