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Ethical food guidelines released

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Conservative movement has released detailed guidelines for earning approval from its ethical food certification initiative.

The guidelines for earning a Magen Tzedek, or seal of justice, were released last week, the Forward reported. The guideline’s 175 pages detail standards in five general areas: treatment of employees, animal welfare, consumer issues, corporate integrity and environmental impact.

Among the specific requirements is that food producers must pay their lowest-paid employees 115 percent of the federal minimum wage, and provide those same employees with benefits equal to at least 35 percent of wages. 

The ethical food initiative, which is run by the Hekhsher Tzedek commission in coordination with the leadership of the Conservative movement, was begun by Minnesota Rabbi Morris Allen in response to revelations of worker mistreatment at what once was the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa. 

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