The London Board for Shechita is taking advice over competition law amid concern about the potential market dominance of two butchers.
It is consulting solicitors following the receipt of applications from two licensees to open what would be, in each case, their fifth kosher meat shop.
In a statement, the Board said that previous applications from both licensees had already raised concerns from other butchers of being “squeezed”.
The Board said that it did not know “whether or not these fears of market dominance are supported by the facts”. But it was “concerned that without a full understanding of the market and its legal responsibilities that any licensing decisions could be subject to legal challenge by aggrieved parties”.
One of the two butchers, Kosher Deli, already has four shops and a factory, with shares also in some of the Board-licensed abattoirs. The other, Stephen Grossman, who owns the Silverman’s chain, has a fourth shop, Simply Kosher, due to open shortly in Temple Fortune and is licensee for manufacturers Lewco Pak.
Until the Board has received legal advice, it will not grant new applications. Blanket restrictions on allowing new kosher meat shops to open near existing outlets had been lifted a long time ago, it explained.