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Illinois Firm Alleged to Be Distributing Non-kosher Poultry

The Illinois attorney general filed suit Wednesday against a Chicago poultry processing and distributing company for marketing poultry falsely labeled as kosher.

Named in the suit were Sheldon Terman and Michael Terman, respectively president and secretary of Shelat Kosher Foods Inc., United Poultry Inc. and Espan Food Inc. Their products are distributed nationally under the “Shelat Kosher Foods” label.

According to Dave Curry, administrative assistant to Attorney General Neil Hartigan, the attorney general’s office is working closely with representatives of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations (O.U.) and the Chicago Rabbinical Council.

As a result of the suit, a Cook County circuit court order has been entered prohibiting Shelat from processing and distributing kosher food while representatives of the attorney general and the O.U. examine company records and stock. The attorney general is seeking a $50,000 civil penalty and restitution to consumers under the Illinois Consumer Protection and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

Sheldon and Michael Terman could not be reached for comment.

On Tuesday, the O.U., which supervises the processing and packaging of kosher products, terminated Shelat’s certification after laboratory tests confirmed a report from a Shelat employee that kosher “shields” were being applied to poultry in a facility other than the one supervised by the O.U.

According to Rabbi Menachem Genack, rabbinical coordinator for the O.U. Kosher Division in New York, the O.U. has contacted all distributors of Shelat Poultry and notified rabbis across the United States that the company’s certification has been terminated.

Genack said that a position paper would be available this week determining whether consumers of Shelat poultry would need to re-kasher their kitchens.

The attorney general’s office is directing inquiries to O.U.’s New York office at (212) 5640330.

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