CHICAGO — Three companies accused of selling thousands of pounds of non-kosher poultry as kosher to customers in up to 22 states have agreed in a legal settlement to get out of the kosher business, officials said Friday.
The agreement also specifies a monetary settlement that cannot be disclosed.
"We wanted to make sure something like this never happened again," said Rabbi Victor Segal, president of Goldman-Segal Kosher Caterers of Chicago, which had accused the three companies of fraud in a federal lawsuit. "It was a nightmare."
Segal said it potentially affected Jewish families in 22 states where the companies' kosher poultry products were sold.
Jewish religious law restricts the type of meats that can be eaten and mandates a ritual for butchering the meats and removing as much blood as possible to make them kosher. "The process is lengthy and more expensive" than traditional butchering processes, Segal said.
In mid-December, Segal's catering company sued the Chicago-based companies--United Poultry Inc., Aspen Foods Inc. and Shelat Kosher Foods Inc.--and two of their officers in federal court, accusing them of false advertising, fraud and deceptive trade practices. The catering company had bought kosher poultry products from United Poultry, Segal said.
A month earlier, the Illinois attorney general had filed a state lawsuit against the companies as well as Sheldon Terman, president of the three firms, and Michael Terman, the companies' secretary, for allegedly mislabeling their products as kosher.