Rabbis Debate Kosher Ethics at Meat Plant

An immigration raid at the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant has opened a wide rift among Jewish leaders over the company’s ethical conduct and led to new interest in a campaign to create wage and safety standards for workers producing kosher food. Illegal immigrants caught in a raid at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, [USA] told of lax safety rules and under-age workers. The Agriprocessors Inc. plant in Postville, Iowa, lost about half its work force when 389 illegal immigrants were detained there in May, causing shortages of kosher meat and poultry in butcher shops and supermarkets across the country. Immigrants caught in the raid told labor investigators of unpaid overtime, lax safety measures, and under-age workers at the plant. Their stories have troubled many kosher consumers and given impetus to a campaign known as Hekhsher Tzedek (which means “justice certification” in Hebrew) to create an additional seal of approval for kosher-certified products, indicating that the producers met certain standards for the treatment of workers. Read Article

By Julia Preston

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