June 25, 2012

A Lawsuit That is Far from Kosher, Triangle-K Says

NEW YORK -- Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag, the kashrus administrator of the Triangle-K, is proud of the kashrus improvements he has made at Hebrew National, who while using the award-winning advertising slogan of “We Answer to a Higher Authority” have not always been as kosher as the slogan would seem to indicate. 

ConAgra Foods is being sued by consumers who contend that hot dogs and other products sold under its Hebrew National brand are not kosher. The lawsuit alleges that meat processing services provided to ConAgra by privately held AER Services fell short of the standards necessary to label Hebrew National products as kosher. As a result, they said, ConAgra misled consumers and was able to charge premium prices. 

Eleven individual consumers filed their complaint in May in Minnesota state court. ConAgra moved the case this month to a federal court in St. Paul. But Rabbi Ralbag maintains that he has significantly improved the kashrus and that the lawsuit was part of a campaign by disgruntled former employees. 

In a statement, he reviewed the kashrus procedures in the slaughtering operation, examination of cattle before and after shechitah, examination of knives, post-slaughter inspection, removal of blood, and disciplining of shochtim. While being kosher, the Hebrew National meats are not glatt kosher that is the standard used by most Orthodox Jews.