NEW YORK (Jan. 7)
A Brooklyn man is being sought on a warrant charging that though he was not qualified to be a ritual slaughterer, he served in that capacity for a major meat distributor and allegedly labeled meat as kosher when it was not, two New York State officials announced today.
Attorney General Robert Abrams and J. Roger Barber, Commissioner of Agriculture, announced the warrant against Abrabam Novitzky, 48, who was employed last summer as a schochet at the Great American Veal Company in Newark, N. J.
Rabbi Schulem Rubin, director of the Kosher Law Enforcement division of the State Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM), said the “implications” of Novitzky’s work as a schochet “represent the most blatant perpetration of fraud against kosher consumers in modern history.”
Abrams and Barber said both Novitzky and the veal company were charged with misdemeanor violations of the state DAM law for allegedly misbranding a food product. They said Novitzky faces penalties of up to six months in prison and a $200 fine for each violation. The company could be fined up to $5,000.
Abrams said his office commenced an investigation after being informed by Rubin that large amounts of non-kosher veal, labeled as kosher, had been shipped by the veal distributor to a kosher butcher shop in Brooklyn. Two shipments of the allegedly bogus kosher veal were seized by DAM inspectors on September 4.
Barber said his department also was pursuing civil administrative proceedings, in cooperation with Abrams’ office, against the defendants. He said civil penalties could be as much as $73,000. Rubin said Novitzky had been employed as a slaughterer for at least two months before the September 4 seizure by the inspectors.