Con­cernsover kosher­meat­plant reachCongress

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BYNATHANGUTTMAN WASH­ING­TON

THE UP­ROAR over work­ing con­di­tions in Amer­ica’s largest kosher meat­pro­cess­ing plant reached Congress last week, as a dozen Jewish law­mak­ers sent a let­ter to the own­ers of Agripro­ces­sors de­plor­ing the com­pany’s prac­tices.

“The treat­ment of its work­ers and the an­i­mals raise se­ri­ous ques­tions about the com­pany’s com­pli­ance with US law and the high­est stan­dards of Jewish law and tra­di­tion con­cern­ing kashrut,” the let­ter read.

Fol­low­ing a May raid by im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment of­fi­cers on the meat-pack­ing plant in Postville, Iowa, Agripro­ces­sors came un­der the scru­tiny of gov­ern­ment agen­cies, as well as the Jewish com­mu­nity, re­gard­ing its treat­ment of em­ploy­ees — many of them un­doc­u­mented aliens — as well as over their use of child labour, safety prac­tices and in­hu­mane treat­ment of an­i­mals.

Agripro­ces­sors, try­ing to field crit­i­cism from all walks of Jewish life, ap­pointed a new chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer who is ex­pected to cor­rect prac­tices and move the kosher meat pro­cess­ing gi­ant away from its trou­bled im­age.

The Agripro­ces­sors af­fair has moved Re­form and Con­ser­va­tive move­ments in the US to stress the value of a “hec­sher tzedek” which will add the need for fair treat­ment to the kosher cer­tifi­cate.

The Or­tho­dox Union, which holds one of Amer­ica’s largest kashrut op­er­a­tions, threat­ened to pull its ap­proval from Agripro­ces­sors prod­ucts if the com­pany did not re­place its lead­er­ship and cor­rect flaws that were pointed out by the gov­ern­ment, watch­dog groups and the press. Agripro­ces­sors has de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

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