Statement from the Rabbinical Council of California on Doheny Meats

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doeOn Sunday March 24th, the RCC received video footage alleging kashrus violations at Doheny Kosher Meats, a store under its supervision. Within hours of receiving the information including time stamped surveillance videos, leading members of the Vaad Hakashrus met and, assessing the evidence of policy violations as compelling, ordered the immediate removal of our certification. Later that afternoon, a large group of community Rabbis and lay leaders met to review the known facts and to question the owner of Doheny. After initially denying any wrongdoing, he admitted to bringing unauthorized products to the store on two to three occasions.

After discussion, the meeting’s participants unanimously confirmed the decision to remove the RCC certification from Doheny Kosher Meats. In implementing that decision and determining to immediately publicize the RCC’s decision before Pesach, the rabbinical authorities for the RCC consulted with Rav Yisroel Belsky, Rosh Yeshiva of Torah V’Daas and Posek for the OU Kashrut Division, and a nationally recognized kashrus authority. At 8pm, Rabbi Belsky issued his ruling, based on the application of normative Halachic principles, permitting the use of products purchased from the store prior to the suspension of the certification. This ruling was immediately disseminated to the public.

In recent days, many allegations have surfaced which are factually incorrect. Over past years, the RCC received complaints from competitors of Doheny accusing Doheny of kashrus violations. The RCC investigated each and every one of these complaints at the time they were made but found no evidence of wrongdoing. To the contrary, each investigation showed Doheny to be in full compliance. In addition to asking these competitors to provide evidence of violations, the RCC took a number of steps to augment the security systems in place, in addition to the Mashgiach Temidi (full-time kosher supervisor) at Doheny.

Among them:
The RCC implemented a system whereby all boxes of meat and poultry from Doheny were numbered and logged by the on-site Mashgiach.
The RCC also painstakingly reviewed invoices of product received and sold.
Only the Mashgiach had keys to the establishment, which were Mul-T-Lock industrial keys that cannot be duplicated.
There are allegations that Doheny possessed fraudulent Agri labels, which the RCC is currently investigating. The serious lapse we did discover in the RCC supervisory system was the human error of an otherwise dedicated Mashgiach who absented himself for prayers, contrary to explicit protocols. The Mashgiach has been suspended and the RCC is exploring ways to ensure this mistake does not repeat itself including better protocols to monitor Mashgiach compliance.

The RCC deeply regrets this circumvention of its kashrus standards. Unfortunately, even the most sophisticated systems can be breached. The RCC’s dedicated Kashrus staff and full Rabbinic membership share the public’s outrage and sense of betrayal that a vendor schemed to subvert our policies and abused the community’s trust. Legal action is now being considered.

The RCC, a non-profit community kashrus organization, will continue to work diligently to provide our community with quality kashrus.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


23 COMMENTS

  1. Its impossible to have a perfect system if someone is out to do no good he can get around anything i dont think the RCC can be blamed for this

  2. If the mashgiach tamidi who RCC says was a “dedicated mashgiach” can go awol to daven mincha or visit his schver or whatever his excuse was, what does that say about the quality of mashgichim the RCC employs. If they used only “sophisticated systems” for their supervision, why wasn’t there 24×7 video suveilance that would have revealed the problem? I still don’t understand how meat that was “glatt’ at 2:59 PM became treifus, non-glatt or whatever at 3:01 PM?

  3. But the owner admits that he broke the relationship of trust with the customer and with the RCC. If a doctor says “I only killed a few patients deliberately,I really don’t do it often,” he should not be allowed to continue practicing. This evidently has lots of factors involved, but how can one trust the man? And no large operator does this kind of thing just occasionally, and the fact that the private eye (probably hired by competitors) knew where to look for the other warehouse owned by Doheny/Engleman makes one wonder. Presumably since we are still waiting for the full report on the Finkel’s treifene chickens, we can assume a long, long wait for the full story on Doheny

  4. I agree with you eric55 , this could have happened to any hecsher, its unfortunate it had to happen to a choshuve hecsher like the RCC

  5. Gadolhadorah:
    The 3pm switch from kosher to treif may be based on halachic principles such as rov, chazaka & rei’usa – remember the gemara where you have 9 kosher meats & one treif one & you are allowed to eat all 10 because of the halachic principal of rov. The conditions to apply these principals are complicated, therefore they asked Rav Belsky.

  6. A sign of a good kashrus agency is one that seriously looks into issues and then fixes them. The RCC is showing they are a good kashrus agency and I would have NO problem trusting the RCC on anything.

    Remember, if a kashrus agency tells you they don’t have issues that have to be dealt with, THEY ARE LYING!

  7. I believe that the reason that the meat is deemed to be kosher before 3PM and traif afterwards has to do with when the hashgocho was pulled. Since Doheny was apparently using Glatt Kosher meat beforehand, although mixed in with either Kosher non glatt meat or traif, we go basur the rov, and here most of the meat was determined to be of glatt status. After 3PM the store had no Hashgocho, therefore rov no longer applies and all the meat is considered to have no kashrus validity.

  8. I hope that Doheny’s Market gets shut down or sold. It would be a terrible unjust if they are able to stay open and receive a certification from one of the LA Kashrus, especially if RCC decides to just give him a slap on the wrist and overlook the infraction. One thing for sure, if I lived in LA that would be the last time I’d shop there regardless of who’s certification was on it.

  9. gadolhadorah said:
    ” I still don’t understand how meat that was “glatt’ at 2:59 PM became treifus, non-glatt or whatever at 3:01 PM?”

    Little you know,
    maybe thats why you are not the gadol hador
    this psak was by Harav yisroel Belsky shlita and any ben torah can relate to these complex sugyos of roiv and kol kevua that this psak is based on.

    Have you ever even learned gemara before to open your mouth against rabbonim such as Rabbi Yisroel Belsky???

  10. For the RCC to sidestep the fact that as the overseeing agency THEY ARE FULLY RESPONSIBLE is abominable!! Yes, you could fire the mashgiach. The Rabbinic administrative board needs to be fired as well! Where is the public to recognize that when an individual states there MAY be a problem when it comes to the kashrut for the community and RCC makes light of it as a simple investigation that a private investigator is able to expose; then RCC did not do their job! How can they shirk responsibility by saying: we got a pisak from the OU. Why didn’t they consult authorities to investigate when the community’s kashrut was in “question” not when their behinds are being challenged?? The audacity to allow a man to contaminate a community and they the RCC say even the best system is not fool proof. It is not fool proof ONLY WHEN ALL Options available for clarification were executed. Moshe Finkel of New York and Chaim Spero of Cleveland were not enough of a warning for RCC to take the allegations seriously to invest in the community’s best interest?
    For Shame!!!!

  11. This is not a ‘snarly’ question.
    As i remember, he was in the hospital in critical condition recently.
    Is Rav Belsky shlit”a well?

  12. Softwords:
    The RCC has completely revoked the hasgacha. As an LA resident I can tell you they will never put it back on Doheny.

    Unfortunately he is still in business,mostly because of the large amount of not-frum and very modern orthodox- which were always his main base of customers- that don’t really care much about hasgacha. But time will tell. I think eventually he will sell the business and the end. I heard rumors that a well known choshuve Balabus in LA might buy it, but we will have to wait and see…

  13. With all that said, that the meat from 2:59 is kosher because of Rov or what ever, if you had meat from 2:59 would you actually give it to your family to eat?! i think not, thats why its a weird psak to give, unless there is something concrete that we dont know

  14. Same old same old! Of course, its NEVER EVER the Kashrus agency’s fault! They are all Tzaddikim Gemurim, Kidoshem Vitehorim! They are all Lishem Shomayim mamesh! They are all competent & well trained! Its NEVER about the money $$$ or nepotism! How dare you criticize a Kashrus Organization!
    Ok, you can put your heads back in the sand!
    As far as eating the meat that was sold at 2:59, there is a famous Mashal. Someone gets stranded in the desert. He finaly meets someone who has water. He is dehydraded & he see’s 10 paper cups filled with water. The fellow tells him, 9 cups are pure & clean but 1 has a deadly poison in it that if you drink it, you will die instantly! He thinks to himself, well, “rov” (9 are good) are ok, so what’s the problem! Would anyone say that??? Would any sane person take such a chance??? Yet, when it comes to Kashrus, I see you gullible people are suddenly so brave! As long as you keep giving these Kashrus Organizations 2nd chances, these CRIMES will continue!

  15. bgzunt you should be gzunt but you don’t have a clue about kashrus or this situation at all it seems. The RCC did not just shrug off responsibility, nor did it make light of the investigation. they thouroughly investigated every allegation .they specifically wrote in their statement just some of the many ways they reacted to the allegations- go read it before you say shame on them! shame on you! They have the backing and guidance of many very great rabanim.

    not getting involved- your comparison makes absolutely no sense. the halacha of rov that was applied here is a halacha from the gemara, not some random people making some things up. anyone who follows it is not gullible, they are having emunas chachamim and following what our rabanim told us!!!

  16. I don’t like that moshul. If Rov mattirs it then it is no longer poison – all 10 pieces of meat are considered kosher. That is the power of the Torah and Rabbanim to change metzius, with regular poison you can’t do that.
    Rav Belsky doesn’t need my haskama nor anybody else’s here. But if you need an explanation, here it goes. According to the facts I have read, the mashgiach neglected his job 2 or 3 times and during those times they were able to possibly switch some meat. So it sounds to me like a very big rov that anything bought before 3pm is Kosher.

  17. Not getting involved:
    no need for your long megilas. you should have just posted

    “I AM A COMPLETE AM HA’ARAETZ AND KNOWS NOTHING IN REGARDS TO HALACHA, GEMARA, RESHONIM AND THE SORT. BUT NEVERTHELESS I WILL OPEN MY LITTLE MOUTH AGAINTS RABBONIM”

    poison? halacha? man, you need help….

  18. eric55 says:”if you had meat from 2:59 would you actually give it to your family to eat?! i think not, thats why its a weird psak to give….”

    who are you to say that it is a “weird psak”,you think they just made it up??!! and yes i would eat meat from 2:59 because i have emunas chachomim!

  19. To No. 12

    Who mentioned Rav Belsky or any other rav by name??? We were talking about the RCC as a hashgacha agency and its institutional failure to follow best practices, a point made by several chashuve rabbonim since eruv yom tov when this whole sordid affair became public. For some yidden, even the thought of having served their families treifus for the sedorim may be upsetting so its not a joke. The comment about Rav Belsky being critically ill was made by some other poster…I have no clue as to his health.

  20. Shame on you RCC….Shame on you RCC…..Shame on you RCC…..Shame on you RCC….Shame on you RCC….Shame on you RCC……Shame on you RCC…..Shame on you RCC…..