Kosher consumers in Los Angeles are still reeling from the scandal at Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats, in which non-glatt meats (and possibly non-kosher products) were passed off as glatt, or premium kosher. This is hardly the first time kosher purveyors have been caught in the act of deception.
In 2006, wholesaler Shevach Meats of Monsey, N.Y., was caught stocking shelves at Hatzlocha Grocery with non-kosher chickens that had been repackaged and labeled as kosher. The fraud, which had gone undetected for at least 10 years, prompted kashrut organizations to create a tighter system of checks and compelled kosher consumers in the area to re-kosherize their kitchens.
The scandals have not been unique to America. In 1928, a crowd of 1,000 people threatened to storm Dubowsky restaurant in London, charging that the meat being served was non-kosher. Police were called to disperse the crowd. In 1934 under the regime of the Third Reich, rabbis warned that German Jews were being given non-kosher meat that had been made to look kosher and advised that the community might need to forego meat for the time being.
In 1964, a French court sentenced two people for selling non-kosher meat as kosher. Though the punishment was relatively minor (the perpetrators were fined 100 francs), it marked the first time that French Jews had obtained legal redress in a kosher fraud case. Until then, the community had relied on unofficial punishments including blacklisting. American courts have taken a stricter and more punitive stance on cases of kosher fraud.
In 1986, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets levied a record civil penalty of $1,012,400 against Rachleff Kosher Provisions in Brooklyn, N.Y. The company had fraudulently labeled more than 33,000 lbs. of non-kosher tongue, 14,000 lbs. of treif brisket and 1,000 lbs. of non-kosher brisket and livers.