Thursday, June 21, 2012

Suit Charges Hebrew National With Misrepresenting Its Level of Kosher Compliance

The Forward yesterday reported on a class action lawsuit that has been filed against ConAgra Foods, the parent company of Hebrew National, claiming that the company has violated various state consumer protection laws by falsely claiming that its products are 100% kosher "as defined by the most stringent Jews who follow Orthodox Jewish law." The 65-page complaint (full text) in Wallace v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., originally filed May 18 in state court, but removed by defendants on June 6 to a Minnesota federal district court, contends that Hebrew National fails in a number of ways to comply with the "most stringent" kosher slaughter practices. Hebrew National's kosher certifying agency, Triangle K, issued a statement (full text) calling the allegations in the complaint  "outrageously false and defamatory." Anticipating one defense, plaintiffs' complaint (Paragraph 8) alleges:
The lawsuit does not seek to have the Court create or define what the applicable standard for kosher meat is....The Court is only asked to hold the Defendant to the standard established by its own representations to the public. Holding the Defendant to its own representations would not create a fusion of government and religious functions and would further not require the Court to place its imprimatur on the religious views of one branch of Judaism to the exclusion of others.