After Decades, ‘Shor Habor’ Undergoes Hechsher Change

In a major move in the world of Lubavitch kashrus, the famous ‘Shor Habor’ line from AgriStar slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, will no longer bear the CHK hechsher, assuming instead a new Lubavitch hechsher.

By reporter

In a major move in the world of Lubavitch kashrus, the famous Shor Habor line from AgriStar in Postville, Iowa, will no longer bear the CHK hechsher, assuming instead a new Lubavitch hechsher.

The Shor Habor line of meat, started by the Rubashkin family in Postville, traditionally carried the Lubavitch hechsher of the Crown Heights Badatz. For decades, that was the meat of choice for those seeking meat with the CHK hechsher. While recently, the Badatz recently began certifying other meat, Shor Habor was still under their hechsher.

In a recent development, the kashrus of the Shor Habor meat will not continue under the CHK, but will instead be under a new Lubavitch hechsher. The new hechsher, known as “Kashrus Lubavitch,” is under the leadership of three well known Lubavitch rabbonim: Harav Shlomo Segal of Crown Heights, Harav Gedalia Oberlander of Kingston, PA, and Harav Aaron Lieberman of Inverary, FL.

In a public notice, the new hechsher assures to provide top level of kashrus, expert shochtim and bodkim and regular visits to the plant.  They specify Rabbi Yossi Deren as the rosh hashochtim for livestock, and Rabbi Nissim Ben Atar as the rosh hashochtim for poultry.

They also make sure to note of the good relationship they have with Rabbi Menachem Meir Weissmandl, Av Beit Din of Nitra, Monsey, and the head of the general kashrus team at the Agri-Star slaughterhouse.

In a public letter by the CHK, signed by Harav Yosef Braun and Harav Avraham Osdoba, they cite a “strained relationship and inconsistent adherence to proper procedures” as the reason for their discontinued hechsher.

The following is the full text of the letter:

To Members of the Crown Heights Community, and Anash and consumers all over,

We hope this letter finds you well.

As the Rabbonim of the Bais Din of Crown Heights, it is our duty to ensure the highest standards of kosher supervision within our community and beyond.

We are writing to address the AgriStar plant. For some time, there have been significant kashrus challenges at the AgriStar plant. Despite our diligent efforts to maintain proper kashrus standards, we encountered resistance from the management at the plant.

The management’s lack of support for our representatives made it increasingly difficult to ensure compliance with kashrus protocols. For example, after one of the recent Rabbinic visits to the plant, we requested numerous adjustments to procedure, including serious issues regarding the deveining of the animals. Despite efforts to implement these adjustments, not all requested changes were fully enacted at AgriStar. Some were initially ignored, then disputed, and even after prolonged delays, not all items were fully instituted.

Other requests like the desire to accommodate consumers who desire only Lubavitcher Shechita, and better inspection of chickens were deemed “impossible” to implement.

This strained relationship and inconsistent adherence to proper procedures have created an environment detrimental to our kashrus supervision efforts.

The AgriStar plant has a long history of being associated with the CHK, and its current owners have invested a great deal to create a state-of-the-art plant and to promote the Hechsher. However, trust and the human factor are the keys to kashrus. Despite our longstanding relationship with AgriStar and our extensive efforts to address these issues, we regret to inform you that we can no longer maintain our kosher certification at AgriStar. Thus, going forward, the Shor Habor brand, and other AgriStar beef and poultry will no longer be under our hechsher. This decision is made with a heavy heart, but it is necessary to uphold the integrity of our kashrus standards.

You may continue to use AgriStar Shor Habor beef and poultry products produced before this decision; however, any AgriStar and Shor Habor products produced from today onwards will no longer bear our supervision.

Rest assured that all other meat and poultry products bearing the CHK logo are produced with our high kashrus standards and are Lubavitch Shechita. The Vaad Hakashrus is working with existing and new sources to increase the supply of CHK meat and poultry in the market.

We urge the members of our community, Anash elsewhere and all consumers, to insist on the highest standards of Kashrus and to use CHK products wherever possible.

In keeping in line with the Rabbonim's policies for websites, we do not allow comments. However, our Rabbonim have approved of including input on articles of substance (Torah, history, memories etc.)

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  1. BS”D

    Mr. Yaakov Labowitz ,

    New Hashgocho letter has NO Boruch Hashem or Kayoitzay Bozeh !!!!
    No date
    No Signature -signatures
    No Phone #
    No address

    Explanation warranted. For your great JOY.

    May we all be joyous with the Geulah Hoamitis V’HaSheleimo NOW!

    Cirel Lipskier

    1. I’m sorry to inform you but if you actually look at the letters there is a ב”ה on top of both letters, and the only one that matters is the kashrus certification document, which clearly has a date signatures…. Ty

      1. There actually is none on the agri letter–the letters are כז – the Hebrew date. (and happens to be also not on the first לk one).

  2. Can the public be told how the concerns of the badats of crown heights with be addressed, checked and corrected with this new set of overtime rabbonim and system?

    Certainly, the Rabbonims names of speak for themselves.

    But after the public has been informed that there was a problem, some of us would like to know how that problem will be addressed in the future.

    1. The Badatz letter doesn’t say that there were any real halachic problems. All they say is that they didn’t want to implement their chumros and procedures.

      Different rabbonim will have different chumros and procedures. Perhaps the new rabbonim can tell us what kind of chumros and procedures they will implement.

      1. The chk letter describes that they tried upgrading the standards to only Lubavitcher shechita, and that was denied and deemed impossible. The new hechsher claims that they will do that. What the fellow above is asking, is how exactly will they do that?

      2. As a Kashrus administrator for a small vaad, in my book what matters is the fact that a company manager resisted, period. It makes no difference what “degree” of resistance has been encountered. When a rabbi says he wants his salt, sugar or spring water from an approved supplier (not a “real” kashrus need), or he wants the rap radio with profanity turned off (not a “real” kosher issue) and the restaurant manager says “But” – I’m done with that restaurant. Non compliance is a breach of contract no matter what it is and is the most important if not the only litmus test to determine my restaurant is clean. Go get a sticker from somebody else.

  3. 4 years ago when the bd”tz made peace a friend of mine’s approached rabbi Braun and asked him now that you’re involved with the CHK will you make sure there is lubavitch shchita in Agri? his reply was “it’s not a priority for me”

    1. And since 4 years ago it was not in the Rov’s list of urgent priorities and 4 years later it became a priority that’s an issue? Obviously there were more pressing matters. Who are you to question rabbonim?

  4. The very first letter that I commented on, which was before the other 2 letters came on, is still on this site, and still without a Boruch Hashem.
    I do see the next 2 have it. B”H.
    Cirel Lipskier
    I also hope all issues get resolved
    Peacefully. And Easily.
    As we know from when The Rebbe MH”M was in France, he would only eat from a Butchery-
    After the Rebetzin went to check it out and said it was to their standard of Kashrus !
    Cirel Lipskier

  5. Klotz question
    Howcan the products meat from before the letter be ok?
    Before the letter the kashrus standards were ok and only later not?

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