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Following the shutdown at the Off Haemek slaughterhouse at the start of the week, a shortage has been created - not of regular, battery-raised chicken, but of Teva-Off chicken at the big retail chains.

Teva-Off calls itself the only chicken producer in Israel that grows the birds without constant infusions of antibiotics and chemicals. Its fowl are fed better quality food, the company says, and taste better. Battery-raised chickens are fed protein from animal sources while the Teva-Off birds eat 100% vegetarian fare, the company says.

Also, its birds aren't given growth hormones, and no less important they do not suffer from overcrowding, the company says. Coop density does not exceed 12 birds per 12 per square meter, it says.

Which is all very well, but you probably can't find any to buy right now although Teva-Off is sold at about 400 points of sale throughout the country. Teva-Off's turnover is about NIS 80 million a year, estimate industry sources. Therefore, a single day of shortage could translate into lost income of about NIS 300,000 (based on 250 business days a year).

A source close to Teva-Off confirmed that the shutdown of Off Haemek did create a supply problem, but said the company is negotiating with other slaughterhouses.

"Teva-Off is a strong, successful brand with a loyal clientele," the company commented. "We are looking for another production site and are in negotiations with several entities. When we find a solution, we'll be back in the market, big time."