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Hebrew National: Answering to a higher power — the almighty dollar — alleges lawsuit

ConAgra Foods Inc., the maker of Hebrew National products, maintains the suit is “without merit”

Hebrew National is the subject of a lawsuit, alleging that ConAgra Foods Inc., the company that makes Hebrew National hot dogs and other products, uses dirty animals for its meats and therefore does not deserve the designation kosher as kosher standards dictate healthy and clean livestock be used. ConAgra Foods Inc. has stated that the lawsuit is “without merit.”

The lawsuit, filed in a Minnesota federal court by 11 consumers and seeking class action status, alleges that Hebrew National charges high prices for a kosher designation that is undeserved.

According to the suit, workers of a meat processing company used by ConAgra Foods Inc. complained that the methods used to prepare meats was not up to kosher standards but were either ignored, retaliated against or fired.

ConAgra Foods Inc. has stated that its products are marked with the Triangle K symbol, denoting strict kosher qualifications “as defined by the most stringent Jews who follow Orthodox Jewish Law.”

In a statement from the company, ConAgra Foods Inc. pledged to “stand behind our kosher status.” According to the company’s statement, the Hebrew National product line “is certified by a well-recognized and authorized third-party. There is close rabbinical supervision of the food preparation process and packaging equipment.”

The statement continues to state that the Hebrew National brand “has followed strict dietary law” for more than a century, “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.”

According to the complaint, annual revenue from Hebrew National products exceeded $5 million in the U.S. during the 2012 fiscal period.

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