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ConAgra Faces Lawsuit Alleging 'Hebrew National' Hot Dogs Aren't Kosher

A lawsuit has been filed against ConAgra Foods Inc by customers who claim the company's products -- particularly the hot dogs -- aren't kosher as labeled.

The customers contend that the meat processing procedures don't meet the necessary requirements to label food kosher and thereby violate the religious sensibilities of unwitting customers and thus unjustifiably charge premium prices for the meat.

“Hebrew National products are not made from 100% kosher beef as defined by the most stringent Jews who follow Orthodox Jewish Law,” the lawsuit reportedly reads. “The food processing plants which Defendant purchases their meat from, including those in Dakota County Minnesota, fail to adhere to the kosher standards in numerous respects.”

Reuters has more information:

According to the complaint, Omaha, Nebraska-based ConAgra marks Hebrew National packages with a "Triangle K" symbol, and represents that the contents are kosher "as defined by the most stringent Jews who follow Orthodox Jewish law."

But the plaintiffs said in the complaint that AER supervisors "did little or nothing" to address employee complaints that the meat processed for ConAgra was non-kosher. They also said Skokie, Illinois-based AER fired or threatened retaliation against those who complained.

ConAgra has long used the phrase "we answer to a higher authority" to assure customers of the quality of its Hebrew National products, Reuters continues, and while reports do not indicate how much the company is being sued for, it is clear that the plaintiffs want an injunction against further mislabeling, if the claims turn out to be accurate.

On top of that, they also seek class-action status for U.S. purchasers of Hebrew National products over the last four years, claiming the company has been negligent, and in violation of state consumer fraud laws.

"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," Hart Robinovitch, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, explained.

Other ConAgra products like Chef Boyardee, Healthy Choice, Peter Pan and Reddi-wip and are not part of the lawsuit, and a ConAgra spokeswoman commented: “While we can’t comment on pending litigation, we stand behind the quality of Hebrew National and its kosher status.”

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