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N.y.c. Firm Fined over $1 Million for Mislabelling Non-kosher Meat As Kosher

A Brooklyn firm has been fined over $1 million for selling non-kosher meat products as kosher in violation of State law, Governor Mario Cuomo’s office here announced Wednesday.

The State Department of Agriculture and Markets levied the record civil penalty of $1,012,400 against Rachleff Kosher Provisions of 5378 Kings Highway in Brooklyn.

In a letter to the firm, Commissioner of Agriculture Joseph Gerace stated that “evidence has been offered by this bureau (legal bureau of the Department of Agriculture and Markets) indicating that during the year 1984 your establishment bought large quantities of non-kosher beef tongues, briskets and livers and sold the same as kosher meat products.” There was no immediate comment available from the firm.

The investigation was initiated last year when the firm failed to pay a $17,500 fine for possessing seven cartons of non-kosher boneless beef briskets. After subpoenaing the records of suppliers, the investigators charged that the practice of mislabeling meat was one of long standing on the part of the firm.

The records indicated that more than 33,000 pounds of tongues from one supplier, more than 14,000 pounds of briskets from a second supplier and more than 1,000 pounds of brisket and livers from a third supplier — all non-kosher — were ordered by Rachleff and offered for sale as kosher. The firm was fined $400 for each article of non-kosher food.

“It is imperative that we protect the more than one million consumers in New York State who purchase kosher food each day from those who might attempt to sell them, intentionally misleading, non-kosher food as kosher,” the Governor’s Office said. “As Passover approaches, consumers should be ensured that the kosher products they are buying are indeed kosher.”