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Suit claiming Hebrew National not kosher dismissed

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 31, 2013 at 9:19 pm •  Published: January 31, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A federal judge threw out a lawsuit Thursday that claimed Hebrew National's hot dogs and other meat products weren't entirely kosher, saying such a standard was "intrinsically religious in nature" and outside the court's purview.

U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank ruled that the First Amendment's protection of religious freedom bars the court from examining claims about whether the products completely meet Jewish dietary laws.

A group of 11 consumers had sued ConAgra Foods Inc., maker of Hebrew National, claiming the Omaha, Neb.-based company charges premium prices for meats that aren't really 100 percent kosher. The lawsuit alleged that employees at a third-party kosher certifier for ConAgra complained of witnessing non-kosher procedures at meat plants, but that the certifier, AER Services Inc., did nothing to correct the problems and instead fired the employees or threatened to have them transferred.

However, the judge ruled that whether ConAgra's products were indeed "100 percent kosher" was a religious question outside the court's review.

ConAgra released a statement saying it was pleased by the ruling and has "always stood by" its kosher status.

"We know how important kosher quality is to our consumers, and we look forward to continuing to make Hebrew National 100 percent pure kosher beef franks and other kosher offerings," ConAgra said.

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