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O.U. dismisses kashrut violation charge

The Orthodox Union exonerated a chef who was accused of intentionally violating kashrut at a New York City steakhouse. In a statement from top officials, the union said allegations by kashrut inspector Isaac Bitton that a chef at Le Marais had intentionally violated kashrut — for example, by maliciously buying dairy margarine — did not stand up to scrutiny. “Over a period of months the O.U. carefully researched and investigated every accusation, and we spoke to all parties whom Mr. Bitton claimed had information,” O.U. officials said in the  statement, which they said they released ahead of Shabbat to forestall gossip at services based on misinformation. “The O.U. found no evidence of intent to compromise kashrus by this chef.”Bitton stood by his allegations, accusing the Orthodox Union of a “cover-up.”