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Kosher meat market at center of scandal to reopen next week

April 04, 2013|By Matt Stevens

A kosher meat market at the center of a recent scandal will reopen early next week, new owner Shlomo Rechnitz told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday.

When Doheny Glatt Kosher meat market reopens, it will do so under the supervision of the Rabbinical Council of California, a statement from the organization said.

Last week, the RCC pulled Doheny's kosher certification, following allegations the shop was selling meat that was not properly certified under kosher rules.

On Tuesday, The Times reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture also launched an investigation into the market.

The market was open Friday morning with kosher certification from two local rabbis. Two days later Rechnitz, a prominent local entrepreneur and philanthropist, purchased the market.

Rechnitz said the store has been closed since late Friday. The market was also closed when The Times visited Wednesday night and its interim certification had been removed from the window.

“I’m one who believes the more you give the more you get,” Rechnitz said in explaining his purchase. He said a nondisclosure agreement prevented him from revealing the selling price.

“We are planning on maintaining the customer service that Doheny Kosher Meats was known for,” the new owner said. “They were always known for high-grade meat, and that is something we’re going to maintain.”

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said the sale of the store does not change its ongoing investigation. In its statement, the Rabbinical Council of California said previous owner Michael Engelman “has no financial or operational interest in the store.”

Rechnitz was part of a meeting at which rabbis and other community members confronted Engelman about the meat scandal. Rechnitz, a businessman, quickly grasped the meat business, May said: "He saw what the need was and he moved."

May added that reopening Doheny would help ensure competition in the marketplace. He said Doheny controlled about 50% of the market before the scandal hit. 

Rechnitz said that after talking with Engelman and reviewing invoices, there’s no way to know exactly what happened.

“But if I had to put my money on it, there was never any non-kosher meat provided — it was just a lesser standard,” he said.

Rechnitz said he has offered all employees their jobs back and expressed confidence that they did not participate in the scandal. He said the store would open Monday or Tuesday with extra supervision and cameras to protect the integrity of the meat.

“God knows we’re going to do everything we can,” he said.

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Twitter: @MattStevensLAT 

Email: matt.stevens@latimes.com

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