The U.S. kosher slaughterhouse raided by federal immigration agents has launched its own investigation.
Agriprocessors, the largest kosher meat producer in the country, announced Thursday that it was conducting a probe into the circumstances leading to Monday’s raid. The company, located in Postville, Iowa, also said it was taking steps to improve compliance with federal immigration standards.
Agriprocessors was the target of what is being called the largest workplace raid in U.S. history, when federal agents surrounded its plant and took away 390 workers on immigration violations. A smaller number are being charged with criminal offenses as well, including identity fraud and using fake Social Security numbers.
“We are working with experts in immigration compliance to help us bolster our compliance efforts to employ only properly documented employees,” said Chaim Abrahams, a company representative, in a statement.
Rabbi Moses Weissmandel, the top supervising rabbi at Agriprocessors, told JTA Thursday that the government allegations were categorically false. He was addressing claims in an affidavit that the drug methamphetamine was being produced at the site and that rabbinic supervisors had abused plant workers, the bulk of whom are Mexican and Guatemalan.
“I categorically say it’s false, it’s not true, it’s a lie,” he said.
Weissmandel did not address claims that the workers were illegal.
“That’s not my department,” he said.