Kosher slaughterhouse cited for violations

Agriprocessors, the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse, was slammed in a union’s report for committing scores of violations.

Among the most serious charges noted in a report by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union released Thursday was that Agriprocessors took inadequate protections against mad cow disease.

Agriprocessors, which makes products for brands including Aaron’s Best and Rubashkin’s, had been cited by federal investigators in late 2004 of engaging in acts of inhumane slaughter.

The union, which represents 250,000 food processing employees and bills itself as “a leading voice on industry issues,” obtained U.S. Department of Agriculture records that showed food safety inspectors found 250 instances of noncompliance from Jan. 1, 2006 to Jan. 24, 2007 due to issues such as rodents and fecal contaminations.

Ispectors found workers at the Iowa plant did not properly identify and isolate cows found to be over 30 months old, which are much more likely to contain the deadly mad cow disease.

Union spokesman Jim Blau said in a news conference that the union requested USDA documents after some workers complained about certain practices. The workers at the Agriprocessors plant are not unionized.

“Each of the claims brought forward by this labor union have been addressed,” Sholom Rubashkin, vice president of Agriprocessors, said in a prepared statement. Government regulators “verified that we are currently in compliance, and there are no current food safety issues associated with any of our products.”

Amanda Eamich, a spokeswoman for the Food Safety and Inspection Service, told the Forward that the Postville plant has addressed the issues and is currently in compliance.

 

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