Lifestyle & Belief

Hebrew National hot dogs aren't kosher, lawsuit alleges


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Doug Pensinger

Many Jews have long enjoyed eating Hebrew National hot dogs, a brand of meat that is certified as kosher by the Triangle K symbol. "It's a symbol of integrity, representing the most trusted and reliable name in strict rabbinical food certification and supervision," Hebrew National proudly writes on its website.

However, the Hebrew National brand may not be trusted by rabbis for much longer. A class-action suit alleges that Hebrew National isn't following religious laws correctly. What's more, the suit also accuses the company of non-religious ethical violations--namely, of mistreating its employees, Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

Hebrew National products are owned by ConAgra foods. An outside firm called AER does the kosher slaughtering and inspection services. The lawsuit, against ConAgra foods, alleges that AER employees witnessed practices at the slaughterhouses that violated kosher laws. But when the AER employees complained about this to their superiors, they were fired or mistreated for speaking out, American Jewish World reported. As a result, unkosher meat made it into the assembly line and was incorrectly labeled as kosher, the lawsuit says.

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“Don’t get me wrong here: We’re not saying that they’re passing off pork as kosher products," Hart L. Robinovitch, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, told the American Jewish World. "But in the complaint, as you can see, we went through the different elements and the different requirements for meat to be considered kosher, in terms of the way the cows are slaughtered, and the meat is prepared; and based on our investigation, there were certain things that weren’t conducted properly."

Eleven individual consumers filed the complaint in May, although it is just making headlines this month, Reuters reported.

In addition to the kosher complaints, the lawsuit also alleges that AER employees were paid "in violation of American tax laws," according to the JTA.