Kosher Or Not!
Hebrew National, the largest brand dealing with kosher food in the US of A seems to have slipped a bit. Their famous tagline, “We answer to a Higher Authority” has fallen woefully short of meeting the Jewish dietary restrictions, so say not one or two but 11 plaintiffs who have sued the brand for violating the trust that the devout Jews had placed on them. They are now charged with several consumer frauds which include a breach of trust for not adhering to the kosher standards.
What are the Allegations?
The plaintiffs have accused the brand of neglecting to follow the requisite specifications which make a product kosher. Their beef products are certainly not 100% kosher claim the complainants whereas their processing plants are also not equipped to produce food items that can be safely regarded as kosher . The actual complaint does not mince words and states that the company has committed "deceptive and wrongful conduct that is designed to mislead and deceive consumer into purchasing its Hebrew National products, at premium prices, by labeling and marketing it as 100% kosher."
What is the Defendant Saying?
So what is the stand of Hebrew National? In fact it was “ConAgra Food Inc”, the parent company which is facing the music now. It has, of course, strongly denied all the accusations about cheating its customers or breach of trust. A formal statement released by Teresa A. Paulsen, the external relations and communications vice president of the parent company reads, "Hebrew National's kosher status is certified by a well-recognized and authorized third party. There is close rabbinical supervision of the food preparation process and packaging equipment."
Who Is To Blame?
Hebrew National is not alone in this though. The company gets its meat-based products from AER, an Illinois based company which looks into the processing as well as the inspection of its finished products. “Triangle K and Associates” is another party which certifies the products as kosher. The logo of Triangle K is well respected by the orthodox Jews who are averse to eating food that is not prepared according to the old Jewish laws. The company website also endorses this view and fully supports Triangle K stating, "It's a symbol of integrity, representing the most trusted and reliable name in strict rabbinical food certification and supervision."
The claimant making the allegations are not convinced though. The lawsuit takes into consideration the belief of certain AER employees who think that the process that is followed does not keep the meat kosher. They had also complained to the supervisors about this practice but had only managed to either lose their jobs or were threatened with transfers to remote areas. The companies have denied any such accusations stating that it was the brainchild of a handful of dissatisfied employees who bore grudges against their employer.
Neither “Triangle K and Associates” nor AER has been named in the lawsuit for now. The onus lies on Hebrew National to prove that it had not played around with Jewish sentiments. The attorneys want the case to be granted a class action status while ConAgra has just a handful of days until July 13 to respond.
The matter is being watched with avid interest by the entire Jewish community eager to see the outcome. We hope to see justice done too and will wait to see whether Hebrew National is guilty of violating the Jewish tradition.
Video Credit- youtube