The Orthodox Union had urged the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse to replace CEO Sholom Rubashkin.
Rabbi Menachem Genack, who heads the OU’s kosher supervision department, confirmed a report last week in the Long Island, N.Y.-based Jewish Star newspaper saying he had urged Agriprocessors to seek new management.
The company announced May 23 that it would replace Rubashkin following a massive federal immigration raid two weeks earlier on the company’s plant in Postville, Iowa, and subsequent allegations of underage workers, sexual harassment and other claims of worker mistreatment.
The situation has generated outrage from certain quarters of the Jewish world, with some calling for a boycott of Agriprocessors’ products.
Genack has said that if criminal charges are brought against the company, the OU would have to remove its supervision. Bringing in new management, Genack acknowledged, is an effort to head off that possibility.
“We don’t want to get to that stage, frankly,” Genack told JTA. “This is an important supplier. We want the company to succeed.”
Genack said that if Rubashkin is subsequently indicted, the OU wouldn’t necessarily have a problem continuing to supervise the company.
“I would think that if there’s new management, completely independent management, why would we withdraw supervision? Because of a history?” Genack said. “That wouldn’t make sense.”