Labor Dept. hits kosher poultry plant with $317K fine


(JTA) — The U.S. Department of Labor is seeking to fine a Pennsylvania kosher poultry manufacturer $317,477 for a string of safety and health violations.

Birdsboro Kosher Farms was cited by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration last month for maintaining unsafe and unsanitary practices at its production plant. OSHA began the inspection in April after a Birdsboro employee lost a thumb while operating a mixing machine.

OSHA’s report detailed 10 violations, including problems with signage, sound level, gas cylinders and protective equipment for workers’ bodies and feet. Inspectors found that some workers wore trash bags to protect their bodies.

Birdsboro, according to its website, provides kosher-certified chicken, turkey and duck raised free of antibiotics. The poultry is raised by area Amish and Mennonite farmers.

The company, which is located in Birdsboro, an eastern Pennsylvania borough of 5,000 near Reading, did not comment to JTA regarding the inspection.

“Birdsboro Kosher Farms is leaving its employees vulnerable to a variety of safety and health hazards that can cause serious injuries,” said Timothy Braun, OSHA’s acting area director in Harrisburg. “It is critical that the company take appropriate steps to ensure worker protection at its facility. Anything less is unacceptable.”

This is not the first time the government has fined Birdsboro. Last year, the Department of Agriculture fined the manufacturer $34,000 for failing to pay poultry dealers on time.

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