The maker of Hebrew National has been sued by consumers who contend that the company’s hot dogs and other meat products are not kosher.
The lawsuit alleges that meat processing services provided to ConAgra by privately held AER Services fell short of the standards necessary to label Hebrew National products as kosher, yet ConAgra was able to charge customers premium prices for its supposedly kosher product.
According to the complaint, company packages are marked with a "Triangle K" symbol, which is taken to mean that the contents are kosher "as defined by the most stringent Jews who follow Orthodox Jewish law."
The lawsuit says the animals used to make Hebrew National products do not meet kosher standards and that unclean and unhealthy animals are often selected to be slaughtered for kosher meats.
“Pressure is put on the employees inspecting and slaughtering the cows to maximize kosher meat production by slaughtering unclean cows,” the suit states.
The plaintiffs also allege that AER supervisors "did little or nothing" to address employee complaints. They also allege that the third-party certifier, AER Services Inc., fired employees or threatened to have them transferred.
ConAgra, however, claims that there is “close rabbinical supervision” of its food processing and packaging.
The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages and an injunction against further mislabeling. Their lawsuit seeks class-action status for U.S. purchasers of Hebrew National products over the last four years, and alleges negligence and violations of state consumer fraud laws.