Judge shuts down New Square poultry plant
Timothy O'Connor • Journal News
WHITE PLAINS — A federal judge has ordered a New Square kosher poultry slaughterhouse padlocked for unsanitary conditions that pose a health risk to the community.
The U.S. Attorney's Office filed papers asking Judge Stephen C. Robinson to temporarily stop New Square Meats from slaughtering and processing chickens following years of attempts by the USDA to bring the plant into compliance with the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act.
A lawyer for New Square meats did not oppose the government's efforts to close the plant during a hearing today in U.S. District Court in White Plains. But he asked that the plant be allowed to continue operations for two weeks for the community and the plant's owners to find another source of poultry for the community.
Government lawyers opposed that, saying the risk of illness or worse was too great to allow the plant to continue operating.
Robinson agreed with the federal government.
"It is not clear to this court that the defendant has ever fully appreciated its actions or the potential harm to the community it purports to serve," he said.
The ruling comes as New Square Meats is seeking to build a larger, state-of-the-art facility in New Square, a Hasidic Jewish village in Ramapo.
Federal authorities said New Square Meats has been selling uninspected poultry since 2002.
During an April visit to the plant, federal investigators said they found poultry residue on walls, light fixtures, and the manager's office.
Employee restrooms had no soap or hand sanitizer while rubbish and foul-smelling pools of water were found outside the plant, according to court papers federal authorities filed asking for the temporary restraining order against the plant.
[Hat Tip: Zoosh.]