No matzo shortage expected this year, Manischewitz says
NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) Manischewitz, America’s largest producer of processed kosher food, has resumed full Passover matzo production after its factory relocation contributed to a national shortage last year.
During Passover, which falls between April 9 and April 15 this year, Jews eat the crispy flatbread and other unleavened products to commemorate the ancient Hebrews’ hurried escape from Egypt, before their bread had time to rise.
This season, Manischewitz will ship more than 3 million boxes of kosher-for-Passover matzo and 48,000 boxes of schmura matzo, a strictly supervised version primarily used during the holiday’s traditional seder meals.
Last year, the factory, transitioning from its 2007 move from Jersey City, only shipped out 1.6 million boxes of kosher-for-Passover matzo and did not produce any schmura matzo for sale.
“We had some technical difficulties, but now we’re fully operational,” explained Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz, head of kosher supervision for the company.
Founded more than a century ago as the B. Manischewitz Co. by an Ohio family, the company became the R.A.B. Food Group in 2004. Many of its products had retained the well-known Manischewitz label, however, which the company officially reclaimed last fall.
Manischewitz makes a wide range of kosher products, including soups and pastas, but is especially known for its matzo and other Passover staples.
Some observant Jews shun machine-made schmura matzo, viewing the handmade variety as more pure, but Horowitz said the new Manischewitz facility has the ample space, advanced machinery and trained staff to ensure no forbidden ingredients contaminate any products.
“We have very strict quality control,” he said, as a team of Orthodox Jewish kosher supervisors, wearing nets over their heads and beards, hovered over the machines mixing, pressing, cutting, and baking the dough Monday morning. “Up to 10 percent of the schmura matzo doesn’t make the cut.”