Meat plant vows to cooperate in probe

America’s largest kosher slaughterhouse says it takes immigration laws seriously and will cooperate with government investigators.

Agriprocessors responded to federal charges Tuesday, the day after authorities arrested 390 of its employees on immigration violations in the largest workplace raid in U.S. history.

“Our company takes the immigration laws seriously,” the statement said. “We cooperated with the government in the enforcement action. We intend to continue to cooperate with the government in its investigation. Agriprocessors will also inquire further into the circumstances that led to today’s events.”

The company said its facilities were operating after the Monday shutdown. It extended “our heartfelt sympathies to the families whose lives were disrupted and wish them the best.”

Also on Tuesday, members of the Conservative movement’s Hekhsher Tzedek Commission, which is pushing for an ethical kashrut certification, condemned the company.

“The actions of this company have brought shame upon the entire Jewish community,” the commission said. “Yesterday’s discovery, along with the other violations of the ethical standards set forth by our Torah and our tradition underscore the need for Hekhsher Tzedek. To be sure, Halacha has never limited its concern to the ritual elements of Kashrut alone.”

The Conservative movement has been moving towards the introduction of Hekhsher Tzedek as a means to ensure that kosher meat production adheres to ethical standards regarding treatment of workers and animals and environmental sensitivity, in addition to traditional ritual concerns.

The initiative is in part a response to past allegations of misconduct at Agriprocessors, the country’ largest producer of kosher meat.

 

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