The OU, OK, KSA, etc. on the Monsey Chicken Scandal

The JTA reports:

A recent case of retail fraud could lead to wholesale changes in the kosher meat industry.

The changes were discussed at two recent meetings of high-level rabbis and kashrut supervisors, one at the Orthodox Union headquarters in Manhattan and another in the heavily Orthodox neighborhood of Borough Park in Brooklyn. The meetings came after a kosher grocery in Monsey, NY, was found selling non-kosher chickens under a kosher label in early September.…

The implications of the supervision breakdown that allowed the Shevach Meats mishap have rocked the kosher world, said Rabbi Chaim Fogelman, head of kashrut supervision for OK Kosher, which supervises some 240,000 kosher products in 68 countries.

“This is probably the biggest kashrut disaster since Mount Sinai,” Fogelman said.

The problem is that supposedly credible merchants took advantage of a system built on trust.

“In Monsey, it was a respectable person in the community,” Fogelman said. “And in general, even though it wasn’t our supervision, it could have happened under our watch. It’s an extremely painful story in kashrut.”…

[Head of OU kashrut Rabbi Menachem] Genack attended the Yiddish-language meeting in Brooklyn – held the week after Shevach Meats was outed – which included representatives from numerous Chasidic kashrut supervising organizations. Another meeting, at O.U. headquarters, included the owners of several kosher slaughterhouses, including Empire Chickens, Aaron’s Rubashkin and International Glatt, as well as the rabbis that supervise their plants, Genack said.…

“We have to create some kind of global accounting system so that we can verify the source of the product,” said Genack, who has consulted with several large corporations about how they avoid retail fraud. But, he noted, “This isn’t going to take a week to fix.”…

Then, we have this (which may be what the Jewish Press was referring to in a cryptic editorial, and the Jewish Star had as a banner headline):

Barry Rosenbaum of Empire Chickens said his company long has been concerned about product counterfeiting.

“We’re well aware that buyers buy just a little” Empire chicken, “then buy cheaper” kosher “products from our competitors, just to put our sticker in their window,” Rosenbaum said. He said Empire receives reports nearly every week of such fraud, especially as many retailers unpack the whole chickens Empire sells them so they can cut them into smaller pieces that are sold separately.…


Filed under Kosher Business?, Kosher Meat Scandal

6 responses to “The OU, OK, KSA, etc. on the Monsey Chicken Scandal

  1. D

    Barry Rosenbaum of Empire Chickens said his company long has been concerned about product counterfeiting.

    “We’re well aware that buyers buy just a little” Empire chicken, “then buy cheaper” kosher “products from our competitors, just to put our sticker in their window,”

    Sorry to bust your bubble, Barry, but that is hardly “counterfeiting” unless the packages themselves are mislabeled. Just recently I put new tires on my car at a garage that had a large Cooper Tires sign over the doorway. However, the tires they sold me were Yokohamas. Presumably, the sign outside just meant that particular brand was available if I wished. Same applies to those stores who sell Empire AND other kosher brands; yours is available if I want it.

  2. John K. Diamond

    I can only repeat a recommendation I made in an earlier post, that the entire Kosher Meat and Dairy Industry needs to cleaned up so that ALL Torah Laws relative to animal welfare are obeyed. To do so, what is listed below would be a good first step:

    That a Petition be presented to the OU, KAJ, other Kosher certifying agencies and those who oversee the Kosher Meat and Dairy Industries DEMANDING:

    1. That a phase-out period begin for accepting animals sent to Kosher Slaughterhouses and Dairy Farms from the cruel factory farms and replacing them with animals raised on Humane and Sustainable Animal Farms which meet all of the the Torah Laws regarding animal welfare.

    2. That all Kosher slaughtehouses use an upright pen and that they be monitored via random, unannounced visits by Dr. Temple Grandin or other non-Rabbinic experts in Kosher slaughter.

    3. That all workers in Kosher slaughterhouses and dairy production facilities be paid livable wages and have access to affordable health insurance.

  3. Anonymous

    John…….What does your comment have to do with article at hand?

    The article pertains to chicken, not meat and didn’t mention dairy. Unless I am misinformed, Empire doesn’t use any type of pen during Schechita of their chickens. Also,according to their website, their chickens are raised in large roomy barns, not ‘factories’.

    Enjoy Succos. I know I will with hot bowl of chicken soup, in that cold Succah.

  4. John K. Diamond

    My comment was not directed at any Kosher establishment, such as Empire Chicken, where, presumably, ALL Torah Laws are obeyed and Blackwings Kosher Bison and Rosenblatts Texas Kosher Beef. There are inhumane Kosher chicken facilities, such as Rubashkins in Iowa.

    This chicken scandal in Monsey points to the fact that the Kosher meat and dairy industries, as well as the Kosher poultry industry need a complete house cleaning from top to bottom to remove all traces of animal cruelty, greed, dishonest business practices and all other violations of Torah Law.

    Only in this way, can consumer confidence be restored.

  5. LA Yid

    In Brooklyn they were not selling NON-KOSHER meat rather it was non-Glatt that’s is what I heard from a Rabbi from Passiac (who happens to work in Kashrut).

  6. Ear to the Sidewalk.....

    Are you talking about the story from last year on Ave J?

    The jury is still out on that.

    ALthough the ‘official’ word was that it was non-glatt some Rabbis did tell people to Kasher their pots, etc..

    They only say this, if they thought it was non-kosher…..

    Not sure why you brougt this up, though.

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