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Friday, March 29, 2013

L.A. - Kosher Meat Scandal: KTLA Says Device For Making Labels Found By Private Investigator

As Jews continue to celebrate Passover comes shocking news about the meat that may be on their dinner tables.

California’s Council of Rabbi’s has removed its supervision from one of the area’s most prominent glatt kosher meat distributors.

You’ve probably heard of kosher… glatt kosher more strict.

Strict religious guidelines for preparation…very expensive to buy.

One distributor who provides meat to restaurants, caterers, and customers in Southern California has lost its religious backing.

And this undercover video may explain why.

For Rabbi Shimon Kashani, and many of the Jewish faith eating glatt kosher meat is an important part of their religious practice.

So important, religious supervisors oversee every aspect of the food’s preparation and distribution.

And Jewish families pay up to triple the cost of non-kosher meat.

At Doheny Kosher Meat on Pico Blvd in Los Angeles undercover video and pictures show at first glance the rules are being followed, a supervisor called a Mashgiach unlocks the warehouse and inspects the deliveries.

“He’s looking to make sure products are coming from glatt kosher slaughter-house, proper labels, proper seals, all meat is coming from reliable glatt kosher source.”

But the pictures taken by private investigator Eric Agaki have raised serious concerns among rabbi’s throughout California.

On March 7th 2013… Agaki videotapes a vehicle at an unsupervised warehouse in Reseda at 5:58am.

The private investigator follows the vehicle to a McDonald’s parking lot…where it is met by another car…that car driven by Mike Engleman, the owner of Doheny Glatt Kosher. Pictures show both trunks open.

Next… video shows Englaman’s car at Doheny Glatt Kosher.

Engleman waits for the Mashgiach to arrive and unlock the door…and oversee the delivery of sealed Glatt kosher boxes…

But when the Mashgiach appears to leave the site, Engleman opens his trunk.

He signals workers to offload his car. When he takes the boxes out of the car you can see the box tops open flapping.”

The boxes offloaded from the SUV are labeled Glatt kosher….but their appearance troubles Rabbi Kashani…as does the apparent lack of supervision.

“To me they seem not properly sealed. They look ripped,” Kashani says.

“It seems that they’re bringing in boxes when Mashgiach isn’t there…very troubling,” Kashani adds.

We visited Doheny Glatt Kosher Meat Sunday night after we were told the Rabbinical Council of California-or RCC–was shown the undercover video.

No one would answer questions…except for this loyal customer.

“I would be surprised. I know the people, it’s a rumor.”

But just before 10pm Sunday night, many in the Jewish community received an email informing them… “The RCC announced….it removed its kosher supervision, for cause, from Doheny Kosher Meats located at 9213 West Pico Blvd.”

It went on to say that meat bought there until before 3pm Sunday “is permitted to be eaten and can be enjoyed on Yom Tov.”

The owner of Doheny Glatt Kosher…spoke to us on the phone…only to tell us an emphatic “no comment.”

But Rabbi Kashani tells us…he believes the group of religious leaders, made the right decision…to preserve trust in a costly way of life that carries deep spiritual importance.

The RCC is a religious authority…and there is no indication Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats has violated any government laws or regulations.

The private investigator did show us a box of glatt kosher labels–from a factory in Iowa and a device for making them he says he found at that warehouse in Reseda.

It’s unclear if the USDA is investigating.

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