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January 17, 2008

Independent Testing Finds Rubashkin Turkeys With Extremely High Sodium Levels Many Times Greater Than Claimed On Rubashkin Food Label

Pre-Thanksgiving reviewers marveled at the good taste of Rubashkin turkeys and ranked them at or near the top of taste rankings, something Rubashkin made a big fuss over.

Within reason the more salt one has in the turkey, the better it will taste, Companies are reluctant to inject sodium into poultry because to do so means declaring the higher sodium content on government mandated food labels. However, if a company were willing to take the risk, increasing the sodium content of turkey without declaring it would give it an unfair advantage against competitors.

Rubashkin, intentionally or not, found himself with such an unfair and illegal advantage.

If you keep kosher and ate Rubaskhin turkey for Thanksgiving and your blood pressure rose to alarming heights, you now may know why. The UFCW Union reports:

    An independent food safety investigation of two brands of Agriprocessor, Inc., turkeys revealed significantly higher than stated sodium content in the company’s Trader Joe’s All Natural Glatt Kosher and Rubashkin’s Aaron’s Best Glatt Kosher brand turkeys.

    The independent analysis of the turkeys was conducted by Strasburger & Siegel, Inc., Food Testing Laboratories at the request of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union. The investigation was requested after employees at Agriprocessors, one of the world’s largest Kosher producers of beef, lamb and poultry products, raised concerns about the accuracy of labeling on the company’s products.

    “Shoppers have the right to know the true nutritional content of the products they buy, and companies have a legal and moral responsibility to provide accurate information,” said Mark Lauritsen, UFCW international vice president and director of the Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing Division.

    According to an official complaint submission to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) by the UFCW, Nutrition Facts labels on Trader Joe’s All Natural Glatt Kosher Turkeys state a sodium level of 80 mg per 4 oz serving size. However, an independent analysis of the product revealed that Trader Joe’s consumers may have been exposed to sodium levels up to 351 mg per serving size, four times higher than stated on the Nutrition Facts label.

    This equates to 339 percent above the stated sodium levels and is far above the 20 percent variation allowed by the USDA.

    Further testing conducted on Rubashkin’s Aaron’s Best Glatt Kosher Turkey, a national brand produced by Agriprocessors, also revealed sodium levels far in excess of the stated amount on the package. The Nutrition Facts state a sodium level of 150 mg per serving size. However, independent testing revealed sodium levels of up to 357 mg per serving size, 138 percent above stated sodium levels. This, too, is far above the variation allowed by the USDA.

    The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that one out of every three American adults has high blood pressure or hypertension. Having high blood pressure increases one’s chance for developing heart disease, a stroke, and other serious conditions.

    In order to maintain a healthy blood pressure, the CDC recommends that an individual “watch the sodium” in prepared foods. One of the most important ways to do this is by closely examining Nutritional Facts labels on products.

    “Today, more and more people are paying close attention to nutritional labeling. As a leader in the meat packing and food processing industry, with more than 250,000 workers, we have an obligation to maintain the integrity of the industry and to ensure that consumers are protected, educated and informed,” added Lauritsen.

     Agriprocessors brand names include Aaron’s Best, Aaron’s Choice, European Glatt, Nevel, Shor Habor, Rubashkin’s, Supreme Kosher, and David’s.

Here are the complete reports from Strasburger & Siegel:

Download official_lab_results_and_labels.pdf

Download final_salt_report.pdf

Comments

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lucky me that I don't have sodium problems because I had a Rubashkin turkey on thanksgiving.

If you keep kosher and ate Rubaskhin turkey for Thanksgiving

That's a contradictory statement.

What do the vendors like Trader Joe's have to say about this? Has anyone sent this report to them? Trader Joe's boast about it's p.c. policies but still carry products that are produce under unfair working conditions. That's a contradiction.
But I don't understand what Steve calls a contradictory statement. Many American Jews keep kosher AND observe Thanksgiving (and Fourth of July, too). It's the Chasids that don't recognize these holidays but they're not the only Jews who observe kashrut.

steve: The deplorable ( yes!) state of Derech Eretz is reason enough for everyone to take every opportunity to express gratitude for just living in this country, where "observant" Jews can screw the government ( there are more than a few), and a pogrom is not the result.Then again, this reality IS enough for one to lose one's appetite, so maybe some kind of logic is at work here, right Steve?.

Sarah,

I wasn't referring to the Thanksgiving part of the statement, but the "kosher" part. In case you aren't aware, Rubashkin should not be considered kosher by any basic kashruth standard, nor by any humane standard, nor by any health standard.

I'm sorry, I should have left out the "Thanksgiving" part. My mistake.

steve: Thanks for clarifying! My remark should therefore not have been directed to you, but, sadly, there are many who do feel that way,a reality that I'm sure you recognize.

Rubashkin’s Aaron’s Best Glatt Kosher Turkey

Now we know why their turkey is "glatt" while others are plain. It must be the extra sodium that they throw in.

"rubash-in should not be considered kosher..." RUBASH-IN SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A JEW.

http://yudelstake.blogspot.com/2008/01/kaj-v-weismandel.html#c5129831422842308802

Yudel Shain said...
RE: 9000 chickens that turned over:

When I heard the story a few weeks ago it was , that R' Weismandel's people didn't tell KAJ about it & it went out as KAJ/OU- BTW that is one of the KAJ reasons for leaving Weismandel / Brodie / Rubashkin & Co. THERE WERE NUMEROUS episodes kashrus related.

Fallen chickens in crates are a serious "treif" problem, every chicken must be checked prior to use.

Why does KAJ claim that they are remaining till Pesach "because we didn't have a problef of treifas"? They sure did have more than one.

"kosher" is not synonymous with healthy

Food in general isn't about healthy eating.
Healthy eating is a choice and nutrition facts on food packaging is one way the consumer can make proper decisions regarding their diet.
A company that lies on their nutrition label claiming to have less sodium in their product than is actually present and not only that, but has a sodium content way above the RDA is putting lives in danger. Toddlers and young children can die from too much salt that an adult would usually be able to tolerate. Then you have those adults who have high blood pressure as it is and their lives are being put at risk.
This is a health and safety issue and Rubashkin should be penalised. If they don't shape up, then they should be shut up.

Turkeys are tasteless. They are 'birds of our affliction' rather than 'birds of our thanksgiving'.

Thanksgiving requires the greatest bird based delicacy which is foie gras. There are of course both cruelty and Kashrut complications that arise from its production.

Shmarya, how about having a campaign to persuade Rubashkin to get involved in foie gras production?

How about putting Rubashkin out of business and patronizing local butchers once more? The last thing we need is a "Walmart" of kosher food.

How about putting Rubashkin out of business and patronizing local butchers once more? The last thing we need is a "Walmart" of kosher food.

Barry:Shmarya is more interested in venting his spleen than promoting another's liver.

How about putting Rubashkin out of business and patronizing local butchers once more? The last thing we need is a "Walmart" of kosher food.

SHUT THEM DOWN!!!!!

I would say the "Independent Testing Lab" is run by Anti-Semites!!

Oh, Siegel is one of the names.

Hmmmm, Let me think. Ah, I have it. The Independent Testing Lab are not rum by anti-Semites but Anti_semites are behind this all,

Shmarya, your headline of 'Hundreds Of Times Greater Than Claimed On Rubashkin Food Label' is wrong by a factor of at least 50! The report states that the salt level is three to four times greater than claimed, not 100's of times.
Why am I the only person who noticed this mistake? What is wrong with Jewish education? Dr Fred what is your doctorate in?

Steve,
I'm sorry I misunderstood your post. I fully agree that the meat and poultry from these goneffs cannot be kosher because of how they mistreat workers, lie, cheat and steal. As for Thanksgiving, as I'm sure you know, lots of Jews use that day to give thanks for being in this country, still pretty good even with its warts and all. Even if there's no service in the siddur no reason not to do it.
I wish informational picket lines could be formed outside Trader Joe's stores.
Best,
Sarah

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."

By the way, the sodium level is not the only thing that they are falsifying on the label. Vehmayvin Yavin.

Glatt Kosher Turkey

Talk about deception. For the uneducated, there is no such thing as "glatt kosher" poultry. Poultry is either kosher or not kosher. Labeling it "glatt" implies that this turkey is more kosher than say Kiryas Yoel or Vineland poultry which are only labelled "kosher". Another brilliant "marketing decision" by Lubinsky and Co.

Here is my correspondence with Trader Joe's last November. I think they are starting to regret their decision to go with Rubashkin:

Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 5:18 PM
To: Web Customer Relations
Subject: Trader Joe's General Feedback Form

It is highly regrettable that you decided to carry Aaron's
Rubashkin turkeys. This brand is not recognized by mainstream Orthodox
Jews as being kosher. Furthermore, Agriprocessors the company that
produces Aaron's, has had several federal violations related to cruelty
to animals, workers rights and several health violations. Here is one
of several articles:

http://www.forward.com/articles/11401/

The entire beef, poultry and egg industry had 34 recalls in 2006, while
AgriProcessors had two during the past eight months alone - both Class
I, the highest risk level.

In both March and September of 2006, the USDA sent the AgriProcessors
plant manager a "Letter of Warning" reviewing a series of problems. At
the end of the three-page September letter, the inspector wrote that the
slaughterhouse's efforts to correct the problems had been "ineffective."
The letter concluded that "these findings lead us to question your
ability to maintain sanitary conditions, and to produce a safe and
wholesome product."

AgriProcessors is the largest producer of kosher beef, and markets its
product under the Aaron's Best and Supreme Kosher labels, among others.

A spokesman for AgriProcessors did not return calls seeking comment.

Felicia Nestor, a Food & Water Watch expert on the meat and poultry
industry, who reviewed the USDA documents at the request of the Forward
said that the issues at the AgriProcessors plant are "systemic
problems."

"It seems like there are just problems throughout this," said Nestor,
who is a senior policy analyst at Food & Water Watch, a consumer
advocacy group. "We're talking about problems in beef, chicken, lamb and
turkey."

There were at least 18 records in which AgriProcessors was cited for
fecal matter appearing on the animals being prepared. During December -
after the plant had received its letter of warning - AgriProcessors
received six warnings for fecal matter within 10 days. On December 26,
the inspector wrote that during multiple checks of 10 chickens, "fecal
contamination varied between 70 and 80%." Other problems, including bile
contamination, were noted at the time. After a number of warnings, the
inspector wrote that "further planned actions have either not been
implemented or have not been effective."

There were also at least five instances in which AgriProcessors was
cited for not taking the required measures to fend off mad cow disease.

This is not the first time that AgriProcessors has landed in trouble
because of documents released by the USDA in response to a request from
the FOIA. In 2006, PETA secured the release of documents in which USDA
officials censured AgriProcessors for the inhumane treatment of its
animals


I request that you pull all these products out of your freezers and send
them back to Agriprocessors for a full refund. You do not need this
type of negative publicity.

-------------------------------------------
Web Customer Relations wrote:
Hi, Steve-

Thanks for your email. This Thanksgiving, Trader Joe's will be selling
Trader Joe's Brand All Natural, Brined Fresh Young Turkey at $1.69/lb
and TJ's Brand All Natural, Glatt Kosher Fresh Young Turkey at $1.99/lb.


Thanks for shopping with us,

Marci

Customer Relations

-------------------------------------------
Marci,
Thanks for your prompt reply. I was unaware that TJ's has their own private label of kosher poultry. Please advise the source of this poultry and under which supervisory agency it is being produced. Furthermore, please note that there is no such thing as "glatt kosher" poultry (despite such deceptive advertising by Agriprocessors among others). Poultry is either classified as "kosher" or "unkosher", there is no mid-tier. I think you have confused poultry with beef.
-------------------------------------------
Hi, Steve-

These turkeys certified by the Orthodox Union as Glatt.

Thanks for shopping with us,

Marci
Trader Joe's Customer Relations

"greps!burp!"scuse me

Is this Marci an idiot? Balducci's in NYC advertised hams on sale as being the perfect food for Hanukkah dinners and then apologized. Where do they find these people? Anyone know the address or e-mail of the CEO of Trader Joe's? I'll contact him/her. Don't want to be accused by any more posters as not being part of the solution.

steve said: This brand is not recognized by mainstream Orthodox Jews as being kosher.

I don't like Rubashkin's, but this is a patently nonsensical statement.

Since when are turkeys "glatt kosher?" Do midget mashgichim blow up their lungs?

Zach,

Awaken from your slumber! If you noticed, I mentioned "mainstream", which does not include Chabadniks or left wing extremists. Now that the KAJ is pulling the plug, the truth is filtering down to even the most diehard Rubashkin fressers. Some mashgichim require restaurants to kasher their keilim upon taking over a hashgacha that previously used Rubashkin. I think my comment was right on target. The point I was trying to make to Trader Joe's is that they could have chosen a supplier that was recognized as "kosher" by all Orthodox Jews, and not one fraught with scandal and controversy like Rubashkin.

Sarah, my post of 'if you're not part of the solution..' only happened to follow yours, it was not accusatory. You seem to be very much part of the solution. Regards!

"Awaken from your slumber! If you noticed, I mentioned "mainstream", which does not include Chabadniks or left wing extremists. Now that the KAJ is pulling the plug, the truth is filtering down to even the most diehard Rubashkin fressers. Some mashgichim require restaurants to kasher their keilim upon taking over a hashgacha that previously used Rubashkin. I think my comment was right on target. The point I was trying to make to Trader Joe's is that they could have chosen a supplier that was recognized as "kosher" by all Orthodox Jews, and not one fraught with scandal and controversy like Rubashkin."

Steve, you need to back these claims with specific examples to have credibility. I'm not doubting you personally, but these claims go against the disturbing reality that the mainstream Orthodox establishment has done exactly the opposite: either actively or tacitly approved these products as kosher.

There are very strong objections to living in the USA let alone being thankful let alone celebrating the 4th July.

The USA constitution was largely drafted by Thomas Jefferson who was influenced by the writings of Joseph Locke who in turn was influenced by the philosophy of Baruch d'Spinoza who was cursed by the Amsterdam Beth Din

"THE CURSE AGAINST SPINOZA

cursed be he by day, and cursed be he by night; cursed be he when he lieth down, and cursed be he when he riseth up; cursed be he when he goeth out and cursed be he when he cometh in; the Lord will not pardon him; the wrath and fury of the Lord will be kindled against this man, and bring down upon him all the curses which are written in the Book of the Law; and the Lord will destroy his name from under the heavens; and, to his undoing, the Lord will cut him off from all the tribes of Israel, with all the curses of the firmament which are written in the Book of the Law; but ye that cleave unto the Lord God live all of you this day! We ordain that no one may communicate with him verbally or in writing, nor show him any favor, nor stay under the same roof with him, nor be within four cubits of him, nor read anything composed or written by him. "

How can ehrliche Yidden live in the U.S.R. -U(nder) S(pinoza's) R(oof)- let alone celebrate its founding on the 4th July. Why are Neturei Karta Chachomim not seen chanting 'Death of America' when in Tehran?

"lucky me that I don't have sodium problems because I had a Rubashkin turkey on thanksgiving." said Mark.

good gezunt for u mark.
i hope your turkey was at least kosher. one who lies to fellow jews on sodium could sure lie about kashrus too. don't u think?

PS: looking from another angle, the case of this sect shcheetah, reminds me too much of the indian sheitle problem.

Since when are turkeys "glatt kosher?" Do midget mashgichim blow up their lungs?


very, very good question , reb yochanan. if this is not gneivas daas, what is?

mainstream Orthodox establishment has done exactly the opposite

I'm sorry, but I do not consider Weissmandl and his $200K annual fee or the OU as representing the "mainstream". The OU is relying strictly on Weissmandl, while the KAJ pulled out because they refuse to rely on him. Weissmandal relies on Rubashkin that they are doing everyting on the up and up in regards to labeling and shipping. All of the rabbis that I've spoken to will not eat their product, though most of them are afraid to speak out against the OU and MMW. Most of the frum baalei battim that I know stay away from Rubashkin. Also, most kosher restaurants in the NY area do not use Rubashkin.

The rubas-kin meat industry has nothing to do with kashrus as the consumer thinks of the term. It deals with THE ILLUSION OF KASHRUS. Innocent but ignorant consumers fall prey to pychological manipulation used to market the products and buy, and fress, and support the UberKike's agenda also enabling him ( Yes, I know there are 3 of the abominations - sort of like the father, son, and holy ghost ) to have lots of money to spread around in his Brooklyn soup kitchens and lining the pockets of greasy politicians and other parasites.

Barry,

Thomas Jefferson had nothing to do with the drafting of the US Constitution. At the time it was written, in Philadelphia (a few blocks from an Orthodox synagogue that is still in the neighborhood and is still Orthodox), he was in Paris, serving as US Minister to France.

I confused the declaration of independence with the constitution. i.

Barry,
I think you may have confused more than that.
Best,
Sarah

The US Constitution was largely the work of James Madison who (to Jefferson's disgust) was heavily influenced by the early works of the Chasam Sofer . In 1785 Madison successfully lobbied Congress to pass the Alien and Sedition Law to have Jefferson expelled from the USA to France. Jefferson and Madison were broiges and never corresponded with each other ever again. On learning of Madison's death in 1789 and the constitution's ratification by 8 of the required 9 States and impending ratification by the State of Alaska, Jefferson rushed back to the USA to prevent this final ratification of the Chasam Sofer constitution. As his ship was approaching New York harbor a giant turkey descended from the sky, sunk its talons in Jefferson's shoulders and lifted him high into the sky over New York state. Naturally Jefferson was terrified and he immediately did teshuva. Immediately afterwards a giant American Eagle (which is black with a white face like a Haredi Jew to differentiate it from a schwartze) attacked and killed the giant turkey. (Some say the eagle was female and that the turkey before being killed grabbed the snood the eagle was wearing in its beak and that is why the flesh on top of a turkeys beak is called a snood). The eagle caught hold of the falling Jefferson in mid air, descended to 20 feet and dropped Jefferson into a lake. Jefferson swam out of the lake and was a bit upset that after doing teshuva he did not have a better landing then being dropped into a lake and being left dripping with a carp stuck in his shirt. Anyway at least he had a fish for Shabbos. Imagine Jefferson's delight when on cutting open th he found a diamond. He then understood that he should sell that diamond and found a kollel. That is why we eat a turkey as thanksgiving for Lakewood Kollel
(See VOS IZ NEIAS archives 1776-1800)

Barry: Actually Ben Franklin wanted the American Turkey to be the national bird, because the eagle is a predator. (No joke!) Now I know why (joke).

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