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our history



It all started back in 1938 when Joseph N. Katz, an Austrian immigrant, recognized that the Jewish population in America’s suburbs and rural areas could not find kosher foods. Katz sought to change that reality and started his own company on a shoestring budget in a garage in the small town of Liberty, NY and named it after the Empire state. Katz recruited some of the most diligent Rabbis from Israel and Europe and invested a lot of time learning to clean and dress chickens under the Rabbis’ watchful eyes.

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In the early 1960s, Empire Kosher® relocated to Mifflintown, PA when Katz purchased a small processing plant in Juniata county. Today, still headquartered in the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania, Empire Kosher® Poultry, Inc. is the largest kosher poultry producer in the United States.


Practicing sustainable farming, and strictly observing the Jewish dietary laws, Empire Kosher® dependably produces the best tasting and highest quality poultry products. Empire chicken and turkey are not only for those who keep kosher for religious reasons; Empire Kosher® is the best option for anyone who wishes to eat healthy and safely, buy responsibly, promote ethical working practices and animal welfare, and support family-owned Pennsylvania farms and their communities.


Empire Kosher® introduced the first “New York Dressed” kosher chicken into butcher shops in 1941, and in 1947, quickly moved to vacuumed-wrapped poultry with “fresh from the plant” products making storage, shipping and handling simpler and more economical. 

In 1955, with many kosher consumers moving to the suburbs, Empire introduced cut-up chicken in “retail boxes,” prepared in airtight trays, frozen and packed in sealed boxes, ready for local supermarket freezer cases. Now kosher consumers in neighborhoods without local kosher butcher shops could purchase Empire poultry in mainstream grocery stores. In the 1970s, Empire introduced fully cooked chicken and turkey when consumers began using food processors and microwaves for their meal preparation. In 1972, Empire then introduced the first ready to eat delicatessen products, specially designed for use in sandwiches, salads and appetizer trays. Turkey and chicken frankfurters were quick to follow, as did soups in 1978. 



After a fire destroyed more than 80% of our facilities and inventory in early January 1986, we moved operations to a satellite facility 40 miles away. Despite adverse conditions and huge losses, Empire Kosher® managed to meet the market’s demand with the help and support of customers and business associates. Empire Kosher® was able to reconstruct and continue operations in Mifflintown. Through the ashes of this devastation, Empire Kosher® rebuilt and modernized operations. We are now proud to run one of the largest and most modernized kosher poultry processing facilities in the United States.


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