There could be some trouble on the horizon for ConAgra Foods Inc., the company that makes Hebrew National hot dogs.
The company is facing a lawsuit that questions the product’s kosher status.
ConAgra has replied saying that the suit is “without merit.”
The complaint, which was filed in federal court in the state of Minnesota, claims that Hebrew National charges premium prices for a kosher designation that it does not deserve.
The lawsuit, which was filed by 11 consumers and which seeks class action status, alleges that ConAgra uses dirty animals for its meats. To be deemed “kosker,” a manufacturer must use healthy and clean livestock.
Some employees at one of ConAgra’s meat processing plants complained that their beef preparation methods weren’t up to snuff, according to the suit – but those employees were allegedly either retaliated against or fired.
In a statement on its website, Hebrew National pledged to “stand behind our kosher status:”
In light of the recent lawsuit, we want to assure our fans that we stand behind our kosher status. Hebrew National products are kosher, and this lawsuit is without merit. Hebrew National’s kosher status is certified by a well-recognized and authorized third-party. There is close rabbinical supervision of the food preparation process and packaging equipment. For more than 100 years, Hebrew National has followed strict dietary law, using only specific cuts of beef that meet the highest standards for quality, cleanliness, and safety with no by-products, artificial flavors, or artificial colors.
In fiscal 2012, annual revenue from Hebrew National products exceeded $5 million in the United States, according to the lawsuit.
“We’re not saying that they’re passing off pork as kosher products,” said Hart L. Robinovitch, lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “We went through the different elements and the different requirements for meat to be considered kosher…and based on our investigation, there were certain things that weren’t conducted properly, in a systematic way – from the way cows were slaughtered, to the way the lungs were inspected or not inspected for imperfections – as is required to meet the standard that the meat is 100 percent kosher.”
“This is an invisible fraud,” Robinovitch added. “How does a consumer who thinks he is buying kosher meat really know he is buying kosher meat? It’s a very, very difficult thing for a consumer to detect, unless someone investigates.”
- Suit says Hebrew National’s products not kosher (sfgate.com)
- Hebrew National’s Hot Dogs Aren’t Actually Kosher, Claims Lawsuit (newsfeed.time.com)
- Hebrew National sued over non-kosher allegations (cnn.com)