Allegations of Non-Kosher Catering at Kosher L.I. Weddings

Here’s a decidedly unromantic wedding story for Valentines day: A kosher caterer stands accused of passing off non-kosher food at around 200 upscale Jewish weddings on Long Island, The Jewish Week reported.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Morrell Caterers of Woodbury, L.I., prepared shrimp, lobster, pork and other non-kosher food in the same kitchen as kosher food.

Chris Munzing, a spokesman for Rice, said the investigation started this week after it was reported that two of Morrell’s former employees filed a civil suit alleging that Morrell started a non-kosher business in the kitchen of Temple Beth Torah in Melville, L.I. They said it was begun in September 2010 in conjunction with a high-end event planning company, Pat Glenn Productions.

Kosher rules generally prohibit the consumption of pork and shellfish, and the mixing of meat with dairy products. Utensils used for meat cannot be used for dairy.

News of the allegations against Scott Morrell, president of Morrell Caterers, has caused great distress in Long Island’s Jewish community, The Jewish week reported.

Morrell Caterers has its offices at the Woodbury Jewish Center, where it operates a glatt kosher catering facility whose kosher supervision is provided by the Vaad Harabonim of Flatbush. Rabbi Raphael Adler, the congregation’s spiritual leader, called the allegations “troubling, of great concern and deeply offensive.”

“We have been flooded with calls from families that have booked parties,” he said. “There is angst and concern from families, who are paying top dollar [for a party]. These allegations have shaken the trust of myself, my congregation and the greater community because hundreds of thousands of people have patronized [this caterer] expecting the highest level of kashrut. We hope these allegations will be proven false.”

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