« Weberman Trial Postponed Because Satmar School Won’t Cooperate | Main | Monsey Hasid Pleads Guilty To Molesting Two Boys; Gets Probation, Not Jail »

June 14, 2012

Breaking! New Kosher Meat Scandal

Hebrew-national-logoA contractor who slaughters for Hebrew National – a ConAgra brand – in the midwest allegedly engages in tax fraud, money laundering and worker abuse. And to top it all off, AER is allegedly cutting kashrut corners, as well. Class action lawsuit filed.

Hebrew-national-logo

Here's the lowdown, based on the story just posted by the American Jewish World:

• a schochet claims he was paid part of his salary in the US and the rest was paid to relatives in Israel by an Israeli AER rabbi (presumably in cash).

• schochtim and mashgichim were sometimes forced to sleep four to a room in shoddy apartments on mattresses placed on the floor.

• schochtim and mashgichim claim they have repeatedly complained about kashrut problems to Hebrew National's kosher supervisor, Triangle-K (headed by Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag, who lives in Brooklyn but who is outgoing chief rabbi of Holland). But, they claim, Triangle-K ignored them.

• “[Ralbag and AER] did little or nothing to correct the transgressions. Rather, the persons making the complaints were terminated or otherwise threatened with adverse retaliation, such as job transfers to other facilities or states. In turn, non-kosher meat was delivered to ConAgra and packaged, labeled and sold to the public [including the plaintiffs in the lawsuit] as strictly 100% kosher,” a class action lawsuit filed in May against ConAgra doing business as Hebrew National reads. The suit says that ConAgra "is not living up to its self-proclaimed standard of kosher 'as defined by the most stringent Jews who follow Orthodox Jewish Law.'”

If any of this is true it means a return to the bad old days of 1980s and 90s non-glatt (and some glatt) shechita that was riddled with problems just like this.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I don't think Hebrew National is Glatt.

Stringent would be glatt Bet Yosef.

Hebrew National makes no such claim ,it is kosher non glatt.

i don't know anybody who keeps kosher that eats hebrew national.

I keep Kosher.

I eat Hebrew National.

Why should I give money to Rubashkin's ilk?

One transgresses the laws of Kashrut.

The other transgresses the laws of the land.

Which is worse?

The most stringent definition of Orthodox Jewish law?

That attorney and the schochtim must be drugged.

The Israeli schochtim prefer cash payments off the books.

AER is allegedly at fault here and if the my were paying off the books thats tax evasion of course the schochtim reported every cent they got in cash payments and were not involved in tax evasion at all not even a little bit.

A schochet who sees treif being sent out as kosher keeps on working in the plant for any period beyond the incident is lacking in integrity and can not be trusted in kashrut. They are complicit in defrauding the public.


i hope the issue is resolved and that Triangle K bolsters the brand's trustworthiness. as someone who has kept kosher all his life, the HN brand is important in family relationships where many members do not keep kosher and host bbqs.. my rav has told me that if they serve HN (cooked on kosher platform of course), that we should eat it... witha brocha:).. i have no problem with HN and laugh when i go to a Costco, see the "kosher" section and a few yards away, there is HN in the "treif" section.. that, to me, is politics at its most absurd. It's 100% kosher. not glatt, but kosher indeed.

Hebrew National definitely is not, and never has been glatt kosher. In reality, its triangle k supervision is basically considered to be second class by all frum Jews who will not use any of its products except for "emergency situations" however they wish to define this term. But the fact remains that overall kashrut supervision in the U.S.A. stinks to high heaven and only serves to rip off the kosher consumer big time. Too many competing organizations, not enough transparency, and a lack of uniform standards

Surprise surprise, Hebrew National is not really kosher, and Ralbag's Triangle K is worthless.

Only what everyone orthodox has known all along.

Besides that the Ralbags are disgusting sick individuals with their corrupt "hechsher" and corrupt bribe-taking "beis din."

HN may not be glatt kosher but there was a time when "regular" kosher was normal and glatt was the exception. Now it is the other way around and yet halacha has not changed....

BTW Israeli schoctim I believe are generally charedeim.
Charedeim will not eat stam kosher they will only eat some form of glatt.
If they are Sfari charedeim they will only eat schita beit yossef.

HN doesn't meet the kashrut standard of any of the above types of kosher meat.

So non kosher meat was sent to Con Agra who then sold it to the consumers as stringently kosher meat and even sold this meat to the plaintiffs.

Sir did you. Know this meat was likely not kosher.

Plaintiff: yes sir!

Did you have the occasion to buy this non kosher HN meat ?

Plaintiff : yes sir!

Did you purchase the HN meat?

Plaintiff: Yes sir!

Did you eat the metal?

Plaintiff: No sir!

Why did you not eat the meat?

Plaintiff: because from my experience gained while employed as a ritual slaughterer by AER the meat was very likely not kosher.

Then why did you by the meat if you wouldn't eat it?

Plaintiff: well I bought the meat because my lawyer told me to. Has something to do with standing. Didn't really understand his reason........


I keep strictly kosher and I sometimes eat Hebrew National. Their certification is as meaningful or meaningless as all the other genovim out there in the kashrus racket. Like Rubashkin is kosher and this is not? Give me a break, how brainwashed and gullible can you be?

Anyone who gloats "I told you so" and "everyone Orthodox knows they're not really kosher" on this issue is an idiot.

The very fact that kashrus certification has become a capitalist business, with entities competing for influence and profits, has inevitably led to the corruption of the entire system, which is riddled with blatant conflicts of interest. It's an utter disgrace.

Chaim,

If your Orthodox and your family custom doesn't hold by glatt you eat stam kosher. It is Halachically valid. FYI my grandfather learned in Slobodke with the Alter. Rav rudderman founder of Ner Yisroel was his chavrusa at Slobodka and my dad went to Ner Yisroel. Never was stam kosher questioned as being Halachically valid
Most Ortho American Jews did not eat glatt in the 60s or 70s.
The reality of the kosher market places in areas where there are populations of Orthodox Jews they only sell glatt.

Ralbag is NOT a chief rabbi of Holland. He is a chief rabbi of the Amsterdam Jewish Community.

Gebrokts is to pesach what glatt is to meat. If u by mistake ate gbrokts then did u in essence eat chometz? Absolutely not. Same by glatt. If u ate non glatt by mistake did u eat traif? Absolutely not. Sefardim on the other hand must eat bais yosef and eating any other shechita is considered traif even if its glatt according to ashkenazim.

R Ralbag's statement re above claim got forwarded to me, it reads as follows:

"It has come to our attention that a false and slanderous email about the Kashrus
of Hebrew National, under the strict Rabbinical Supervision of Triangle K, has
been sent out.
Let us emphatically state that we thoroughly investigate and seriously look into, any and all Kashrus complaints which come to our attention.
Over the years, we have enacted various precautions , regulations , and
enhancements, to insure the Kashrus of the Hebrew National brand.
This includes unexpected oral tests and exams of the Halachic material required
to be mastered , and the constant scrutiny of the level of piety and fear-of -
heaven of our slaughterers and lung inspectors. Anyone found not to be up-to-par
with our standards, has been terminated . All these are documented facts.
Clearly these lies are coming from persons found to be below-par, and consequently
were duly removed.
These disgruntled and frustrated workers are now attempting to make themselves
righteous, by making bogus Kashrus claims.
We strongly stand behind our Triangle K Kashrus symbol, on the Hebrew National
brand, to be 100% strictly Kosher.
Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag - Triangle K Kosher Supervision"

Posted by: gershon | June 14, 2012 at 05:20 PM

Aryeh Ralbag [writer spits in disgust] is a horrible person, a pathological liar, and a Judaism whore. He'll do anything for a few bucks.

I'll take R' Ralbag's word any day, over Shmarya the meshumad.

@abcdef "Only what everyone orthodox has known all along."

What we have known all along is that IN GOD WE TRUST generally stops on the back of the dollar bill. No, not all hechsherim are equal - some have more integrity and conscientiousness than others, but they're all first and foremost businesses.

And for those who might see this as further proof that we need a "Magen Tzedek" hechsher, while it might theoretically have helped here in terms of the abuse of employees, don't forget that such a hechsher would also be a business and is thus liable to corruption and negligence just like everyone else.

"I'll take R' Ralbag's word any day, over Shmarya the meshumad.

Posted by: PrettyBoyFloyd | June 14, 2012 at 05:49 PM"

And I'd take Shmarya's word over Aryeh Ralbag's [writer spits in contempt]. For all the things Shmarya does, he's just an individual with a blog, unlike Ralbak [writer spits again] who is a supposed Rabbi and Judge in Rabbinical court who perverts justice and perverts the Torah in order to line his own pockets.

Big blow to the conservative and reformed.

PrettyBoyFloyd [writer spits in contempt] how many fictitious penn names do you post under?

@Rose

How do you figure? Are you of the opinion we eat nothing but hot dogs?

Theodox: In God We Trust. Everyone else pays cash.

Most of the non glatt meat in America comes from Hebrew national. And I am not referring to hot dogs, salami etc.

I believe that con Agra is the largest kosher meat supplier in the country.

I live on Long Island and know of one non glatt butcher in Jericho next door to whole foods. There must be a few more.

The reality is that the Conservative Jewish community is a minor player in the kashrus observant community. Unfortunately per data accumulated by JTS approximately 15% of Conservative affiliated Jews keep kosher at home. Don't ask me to provide a link to the source but I read it either in the Jewish Week or the Forwards a bunch of years ago.

I once had to deal with this guy Ralbag and from my own personal experience, it felt like this guy was all about the money. So I guess it is appropriate that he his in the kashrut business. He's probably no different than anyone else in that racket.

"So I guess it is appropriate that he his in the kashrut business. He's probably no different than anyone else in that racket.

Posted by: neverFrum | June 14, 2012 at 08:21 PM"

Ralbag is much worse than anyone else in the Kashrus business. With him it's only about the money. His triangle-k is absolutely worthless. He is a whore!

you can be sure that whether these claims are true or not, ortho rabbis of all stripes will speak from the bima, write in the charedi rags, and post online about how non OU hashgachas are as good as treif. and thats because so many are on the OU payroll, or have relatives that are and have conflicts of interest they never mention. but when a scandal involves an OU place, they keep their mouths shut like a kept woman.

The Office of the Chief Rabbi referred this query to our Kashrut Division, which has sent up this report:

The basic rule of thumb is that all Kashrut is the US is commercial and therefore corruptible. However, one should not think of all the supervising organizations as Mafiosi and/or whores; rather, think of them as Gangs and concubines.
Our opinion is that anything labeled as Kosher may or may not be halachically kosher. However, because some Jew made a few bucks, it's better than eating non-hekhshered foodstuffs. After all, how else is a Jew with no qualifications to do anything going to get a job?
---END REPORT FROM KASHRUT DIVISION, OFFICE OF THE CHIEF RABBI---

Ralbag officiated at my wedding. The guy struck me as a creepy fraud.

Are these complaints about working conditions or about kashrus? All the comments here seem to be confusing the issues. I don't know what Ralbag has to do with the working conditions at the plants.

"Hebrew National's kosher supervisor, Triangle-K (headed by Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag, who lives in Brooklyn but who is outgoing chief rabbi of Holland)"

Say what? He's chief rabbi of Holland and lives in the US?

Next year in Jerusal... eh, ah... Brooklyn... The new Mecca.

Ralbag was suspended from his position in Amsterdam when he maligned gays last year.

I keep kosher, but I don't believe in glatt. It's an unnecessary chumra. Besides, I think it's statistically impossible for everything they sell as glatt to be glatt. I eat HN, and I'm disappointed that there are problems there, too. Not as bad as Rubbishcan, but still.

Ralbag is maligned by the "real frum" Jews, probably because he's Sephardi and Ashkenazim look upon them (often, not always) as 2nd class Jews.

Is there anything sacred anymore? Kesef, kesef tirdof.

I eat HN, and I'm disappointed that there are problems there, too.

I think everywhere has its own issues, but the people out at the slaughterhouse here (Green Bay) are very passionate about their work and are dedicated to doing it all right. The plant and the kosher procedures are regularly checked by rabbis from several groups - IF I ate hot dogs, I would have no issue with HN.

Fun story - there is a Jewish Camp (actually, there are several) in the North Woods that buys non-glatt kosher meat from a local supplier (because it is cheaper - and it is kosher). What they get is marked Glatt - it's just $2 a pound cheaper because they didn't order Glatt.

Ralbag is Sephardi??? No Yochanan, believe me, he isn't.

This is the problem with free enterprise when it comes to kashrus.

I have a very hard time relying on the hechsher of a private individual who does it as a private business.

Here in Europe I try to make it a principle of eating kashrus given by official communities where the dayonim who give the hechsher are employees and don't depend on the business for their salaries.

and therefore, in principle, I will not eat hechsherim by rabbonim who go to factories outside their town and community where there is an official rabbi and community Beis Din. That often means that you eat stuff that is so-called less strict, but it's probably in hte long run, considerably more reliable.

I appreciate it's more complicated in the US but here you can do it.

And in Israel, one should make a point of eating only rabbanut hechsherim. There is no reason why non-hreidim should fund the growth of hareidi mosdos through their kashrus operations.

I refused to do business with him or his dad RIP, however the glatt of the OU and OK, Kof-K and others are akin to plain kosher of Ralbag. Some OU meat is below kosher standard.

"We answer to a higher authority"

The almighty dollar!!!

From the venom he keep spiting out, its very obvious that
PrettyBoyFloyd is just a disgruntled human being.

refused to do business with him or his dad RIP, however the glatt of the OU and OK, Kof-K and others are akin to plain kosher of Ralbag. Some OU meat is below kosher standard.

Posted by: Alexander | June 15, 2012 at 09:31 AM
----------------------------------
Care to elaborate on that? Where is there glatt slaughter by the OK or Kof-K, anyway?
Both Ralbag and his father were brilliant. THey use obscure references of achronim to allow certain practices to happen in the places under their supervision. Unfortunately, throwing a piece of meat in salt water is not the same as soaking, salting the meat to draw out the blood, then washing it 3 times.

Reb Moshe Feinstein did not hold by glatt meat and trusted local butcher shops on the lower east side after he went there and spoke to the owners and saw the operations. Hebrew National was not trusted - not because of the glatt crap (Sinai in Chicago was trusted for many years and they were not glatt). Hebrew National had rabbis like Altusky that knew how to make shortcuts like Ralbag and no one trusted them for that. Especially after Sholom Rubin's Kosher Police caught them defrosting unsalted meat in hot water, akin to cooking it.

this sounds like a labor dispute pure and simple, not a kashrus issue. Working and living conditions are part of a shochet and or mashgiach's contract. If the rabbonim are processing non-kosher as kosher, who is at fault: the company or mashgichim? Sounds like these Rabbonim should form a union and strike!

I'll eat Hebrew National, but I'm not shomer kashrut. I've heard that there are "issues" with the Hebrew National kashrut for years, though what I remember hearing was that Hebrew National's kashrut is certified by a Conservative rabbi, which Orthodox folks obviously aren't going to hold by, glatt or no. Being Conservative myself, I didn't particularly care, though if I were to completely kasher my kitchen, I might opt against using their products so that a broader range of people could eat in my home.

Reading the article, I agree with State of Disgust that this sounds like a labor issue more than anything else. I've never considered the possibility of a union for shochets/mashgichim (though really, given the specialized nature of their business, I would have assumed they already have quite a bit of control over the terms of their employment), but I would, in theory, support something like that, if it weren't for the fact that I could see it being coopted by ultra-Orthodox mashgichim, who would then bar anyone less frum from membership.

Ralbag is a money whore a pathalogical liar and perverter of Halacha for a few buck he will kasher a pig

"Ralbag is a money whore a pathalogical liar and perverter of Halacha for a few buck he will kasher a pig

Posted by: Lanna Hardrock dinig ding ding ding | June 17, 2012 at 09:59 AM"

I couldn't have said it better myself!

I'm surprised that you haven't mentioned the Sieger heter meah rabbonom matter. Or maybe you're giving Ralbag the benefit of the doubt;many people in the frum community defend his actions. Or maybe the hashgacha issue is a whole different mattern than Sieger. Your thoughts?

These, tax fraud, money laundering and worker abuse, are just big and heavy cases to be faced with somebody who is having not so big salary to finance all the case.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------------

----------------------

Please Scroll Down Toward The Bottom Of This Page For More Search Options And For A List Of Recent Posts

----------------------

----------------------

Recent Posts

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

Comment Rules

  • 1. No anonymous comments.

    2. Use only one name or alias and stick with that.

    3. Do not use anyone else's name or alias.

    4. Do not sockpuppet.

    5. Try to argue using facts and logic.

    6. Do not lie.

    7. No name-calling, please.

    8. Do not post entire articles or long article excerpts.

    ***Violation of these rules may lead to the violator's comments being edited or his future comments being banned.***

Older Posts Complete Archives

Search FailedMessiah

Lijit Search

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------------

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com in the Media

RSS Feed

Blog Widget by LinkWithin