Off Oz prefers the European process, which it then adapts to kosher requirements. That is how it became one of the leading poultry processors in Israel, not least thanks to its CEO, Uzi Makhlab. Active in the industry for over 50 years, Uzi Makhlab has immense experience and is an authority in the market. Although he can be very critical when it comes to judging meat quality, he really appreciates good value and performance. His loyalty to Marel Poultry as Off Oz’s equipment supplier over many years is proof of this.
The kosher process is tightly regulated and involves special measures in some parts of the processing line. Scalding, for example, isn’t allowed, which makes good plucking a challenge. By fine-tuning its pluckers, Marel Poultry has turned this into a successful process. Off Oz’s kosher products don’t, in fact, differ all that much from typical ‘European’ products, particularly as the chickens processed are regular 2400-grams [8.4 oz] Ross and Cobb broilers.
Segev Shalom plant
Back in 2011, the Off Oz plant in Segev Shalom was equipped exclusively with Marel Poultry systems. Today, it runs at 12,000 bph [200 bpm]. The plant also has a separate turkey processing line, which also utilizes Marel equipment and is capable of processing 1,200 tph [20 tpm]. As cut-up end products are most important in Israel, there’s a key role for distribution in the process. First, based on weight and visual quality from the SmartWeigher and IRIS, about 10% of the products are selected for sale whole. The remaining 90% are cut up and allocated to one of the two Marel Poultry ACM-NT lines, which include the highly regarded JLR anatomic leg cutter. Further downstream, deboning of the front halves is done with the help of three FHF-XB filleting lines. Thighs are deboned by two Thigh Fillet Systems.
Thigh meat in Israel
Thigh fillet meat is an extremely valuable product in Israel. It costs more than breast meat and is in fact the most expensive part of the chicken. Most of the time, boneless thighs are sold in bulk or on retail trays, unfolded like a schnitzel. Off Oz used to debone its thighs manually, a laborious process which involved a lot of workers. CEO Uzi Makhlab has been on the lookout for an automated system that could replace the manual work, while maintaining the same fillet quality. That is why Off Oz was one of the world’s first processing plants to commission Marel Poultry’s Thigh Fillet System.
A second system
Once the first Thigh Fillet System had been commissioned, Uzi Makhlab was so surprised by the superior quality produced on the system that he ordered a second line almost immediately. Today, both systems at Off Oz are running continuously, which means that together they process about 19,000 thighs per hour. “Switching to automated thigh filleting was one of the best investments I ever made,” says Uzi Makhlab. “I don’t see any difference in the end products since we stopped manual deboning; that is the best compliment I can pay any machine.”
About Off Oz
The Oz & Hadar Group was established in 1988. Since then it has been led by Mr. Uzi Makhlab. He has developed an arsenal of leading companies, which together give complete control of every stage in the supply chain - from egg to shelf. Oz & Hadar includes two processing plants, called Off Oz, in Sderot and Segev Shalom. Over the years, the group has acquired an excellent reputation for being one of Israel’s largest poultry producers. Today, the Oz & Hadar Group employs some 2,000 people all over the country. Their products can be found in a variety of restaurants, hotels, retail chains and butcher shops in Israel. They meet the strictest hygiene and kosher standards in both Israel and Europe. That is because export is also important to Oz & Hadar. It exports products not only to European countries such as France, England, Germany and Benelux, but also to North America, the Far East and Africa.