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St. Paul, MN - Lawsuit Claiming Hebrew National Not Kosher Dismissed

Published on: January 31, 2013 08:04 PM
By: Reuters
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St. Paul, MN -  ConAgra Foods Inc has won the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by consumers claiming the company’s Hebrew National hot dogs and other products are not kosher.

U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in St. Paul federal court ruled on Thursday that he does not have jurisdiction over a dispute that he described as “intrinsically religious in nature.”

Eleven consumers filed the lawsuit last May, asserting that ConAgra misled customers into believing that its products were kosher according to “the most stringent” Orthodox Jewish standards by including a symbol on its packaging.

The lawsuit alleged that ConAgra’s contractors, meat processor AER Services Inc and kosher supervisor Triangle K, failed to follow proper religious procedures. The plaintiffs sought unspecified damages and an injunction against the labels as well as class-action status for consumers who have bought Hebrew National products since 2008.

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But Frank said he was constrained by clear Supreme Court precedent barring civil judges from resolving faith-based disputes.

“Any judicial inquiry as to whether defendant misrepresented that its Hebrew National products are “100% kosher” (when Triangle K, an undisputedly religious entity, certified them as such) would necessarily intrude upon rabbinical religious autonomy,” Frank wrote.

He noted that ConAgra, the only named defendant in the lawsuit, is a secular entity, while the plaintiffs chose to leave Triangle K and AER out of the lawsuit.

“It is Triangle K and its Orthodox rabbis who make such determinations,” Frank said. “Naturally, therefore, this court cannot determine whether defendant’s Hebrew National products are in fact kosher without delving into questions of religious doctrine.”

Calls for comment to a ConAgra spokeswoman and Hart Robinovitch, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, were not immediately returned on Thursday evening.


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1

 Jan 31, 2013 at 08:11 PM REALIST Says:

Maybe it's time they meet their Higher Authority already?

2

 Jan 31, 2013 at 09:31 PM FinVeeNemtMenSeichel Says:

Please say it isn't only I who noticed the judge's last name

3

 Jan 31, 2013 at 10:18 PM yaakov doe Says:

If I remember correctly the suit was started by disgrunteled former employees. The products are kosher,but not glatt and not intended for heimish consumers. A big improvement in the kashrus from that of the former supervision.

4

 Jan 31, 2013 at 10:32 PM PaulinSaudi Says:

I can only imagine the confusion a civil judge would feel if asked to rule on a matter of religious law. The government ought to have nothing much to do with defining kosher.

5

 Feb 01, 2013 at 02:37 AM formercrownheightser Says:

Frankly, #2, I, too, noticed his name.

6

 Feb 01, 2013 at 02:47 AM REALIST Says:

FVNMS, Very good! Can't believe I missed that!!

7

 Feb 01, 2013 at 08:18 AM Materetsky Says:

I wish HN had a good hecksher but don't see why the gov. should be involved! That is a major slippery slope.

8

 Feb 01, 2013 at 09:03 AM Michel Says:

If this had gone forward we would have the government deciding what is kosher?Soon we would have all the different flavors of kashrus as Israel has. This judge was wise to avoid this pitfall.HN should sue the lawyers who brought the suit for bringing a frivolous lawsuit.

9

 Feb 01, 2013 at 09:48 AM DavidCohen Says:

This is the right decision. In no way should the legal system be deciding what is kosher and what is not.

10

 Feb 01, 2013 at 11:05 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
FinVeeNemtMenSeichel Says:

Please say it isn't only I who noticed the judge's last name

Very funny!

11

 Feb 01, 2013 at 12:16 PM Anonymous Says:

I once heard that the baal hamchshir (I think its Ralba"g) says that the shoctim are not allowed to eat Hebrew national...

12

 Feb 01, 2013 at 01:31 PM ShmuelG Says:

Of course the judge doesn't have any jurisdiction over religious matters. Only Bloomberg does.

And what is the point of this lawsuit? Whoever would confuse triangle K for something kosher?

13

 Feb 01, 2013 at 02:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
REALIST Says:

Maybe it's time they meet their Higher Authority already?

Maybe it's more fitting that it's time that YOU do?

What's your problem with them? or are you just trying to show off?

14

 Feb 01, 2013 at 06:19 PM El-Haq Says:

Hebrew National is 100% kosher.

It is not glatt kosher.

My grandfather while learning in Slobodka who was a chabrusa of R Rudderman the founder of Ner Yisroel had no problem with non glatt meat.

Europe did not have enough cows to provide glatt meat to Jews who kep kosher.

Just because it is not to your standard does not mean it is not kosher.

Grow up folks. Your killing yiddishkeit.

They cover up and protect sex offenders,but their meat is glatt!!

15

 Feb 02, 2013 at 07:23 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

I once heard that the baal hamchshir (I think its Ralba"g) says that the shoctim are not allowed to eat Hebrew national...

you should rather eat traif than spread the loshon horah that have done here, especially quoting someone about whom you have absolutely no idea whether he said what you "once heard". Keep your ignorant opinions to yourself instread of being motzi shem rah on others with no basis other than gossip.

16

 Feb 02, 2013 at 07:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
ShmuelG Says:

Of course the judge doesn't have any jurisdiction over religious matters. Only Bloomberg does.

And what is the point of this lawsuit? Whoever would confuse triangle K for something kosher?

and who are you to decide what hashgocha people are allowed to trust? and whoever would confuse you for anything other than a moron and am oretz?

17

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