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April 28, 2004 at 1:05:47p.m.

In our piece concerning the price of kosher meat, we mentioned that a shechita group had ceased working at one abbatoir and had issued a warning against others going there. Here is an update on the situation from Kosher Today:

PM Beef Holding has resumed schechita (slaughter) of glatt kosher beef despite an injunction by a number of Batei Din (rabbinical courts) barring rabbis, shochtim, and mashgichim from working there. Kansas City-based PM Beef Holdings, said that the company has an ample supply of glatt kosher beef under the supervision of Rabbi Moshe Heinemann and the Star-K of Baltimore.

Rabbi Heinemann rejected claims by the rabbis and shochtim of the Debreciner and Beit Din of the Vaad Mishmeres L’Mishmeres that the management of PM had interfered with kashrus supervision of beef. “We continue to enjoy a relationship with them and will also continue to ?Shecht’ and certify beef at their facilities,” Rabbi Heinemann said.

In a most unusual action, a group of leading batei din enjoined shochtim, mashgichim, and others involved in kosher schechita and processing from entering the premises of the PM Beef plant in Windom, Minn. They were joined by Rabbi Yona Metzger, Israel’s chief rabbi. Among the batei din to issue a “ktav ikul” (letter of injunction) were Even Hamishpot of Monsey, NY, the Bet Din Zedek of Karlsburg under Rabbi Yecheskiel Roth, the Agudas Harabbonim (Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada) and Kehillat Tartikov.

A spokesman for the Star-K stated: “The Star-K has received letters from a prestigious Bais Din, stating that they have examined all the pertinent documentation and since the Star-K is eager and willing to go to a Beit Din, on this basis they have issued permission for any Shochet, Bodak, or Mashgiach to work at the Windom facility.” As of this report, the Star-K had not named the “prestigious Beit Din.” The shochtim who walked out have summonsed slaughterers still working at PM to a Bet Din for taking their jobs. A spokesman for International Glatt Kosher, whose beef carries the hashgocho of the Debrecin, Bais Din of the Vaad Mishmeres L’Mishmeres, and the Orthodox Union (OU), said that it had already replaced the PM beef with “quality meat from other sources, which adheres to our strict standards for glatt kosher schechita.”

So, the question becomes, how will they use this as an excuse to further raise the price of kosher meat??