Hebrew National Faces Lawsuit Over Non-Kosher Hot Dogs

A new consumer lawsuit against Hebrew National and ConAgra stirs up questions about kosher certification and truth in labeling
 Hebrew National Faces Lawsuit Over Non-Kosher Hot Dogs

Truth in advertising: its importance cannot be stressed enough. Especially in this modern age, when information flies between consumers at record speed. If there is one thing that consumers are proving time and time again in recent months, it’s that they don’t like being misled through their food labels. Now Hebrew National has attracted their collective gaze. After all, one might expect something with a brand name like “HEBREW NATIONAL” to be Kosher-approved and all that jazz. But parent company ConAgra is under fire in the form of a lawsuit from consumers alleging that Hebrew National’s hot dogs and other products are not so kosher after all.

The Associated Press reports that eleven consumers originally filed a lawsuit against ConAgra in Minnesota state court in May, with ConAgra just recently moving the case to federal court in St. Paul. The reasoning behind the lawsuit apparently stems from employee complaints at AER, a meat processing factory for ConAgra and by proxy Hebrew National. While factory employees reportedly complained that the meat being processed for Hebrew National hot dogs was decidedly unkosher, those complaints went unheard (or punished).




Yet, in spite of all that, Hebrew National products are sold with the K stamp of kosher approval and a marketing campaign that the company answers to “a higher power.” The consumers behind the lawsuit suggest that the kosher branding is more about charging higher prices than meeting religious and cultural standards.

But is all of this true? That much is not yet clear. Obviously ConAgra is dismissing these claims:


ConAgra spokeswoman Teresa Paulsen said in a statement on Monday: "While we can't comment on pending litigation, we stand behind the quality of Hebrew National and its kosher status."


Meanwhile AER President Shlomoh Ben-David told the AP that the allegations are “completely and utterly false,” and Gawker notes that Kosher certifier Triangle K has also issued a statement of outrage at the “false and defamatory allegations” of the consumers who have drawn up the lawsuit.

It’s pretty tough to hate on a delicious hot dog, so we’re hoping these claims end up being unfounded and that investigations into the matter prove that Hebrew National is as kosher as the day is long. But it’s also pretty tough to remain naïve about the food production industry. If the consumer allegations wind up being justified, hopefully this will serve as yet another reminder to other businesses that the power of consumer curiosity and concern is huge – and when information travels as fast as it does these days, the best way to avoid scrutiny as a business is often to avoid doing things that would warrant scrutiny in the first place.


[SOURCE: Associated Press; Gawker]

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