The owners of a kosher butcher’s shop in Southend On Sea have vowed to ‘fight all the way’ against a landmark legal ruling that they are obliged by law to sell bacon and other meat products that are derived from the meat of a pig.
Herschell Lardonowitz, who has been running Lardonowitz Butchers in Fairfax Drive since 2010, told Southend News Network that he will continue to refuse to stock bacon, gammon and pork chops in spite of today’s outcome at the High Court in Southend On Sea.
He added: ‘Six months ago, a middle-aged gentleman walked into my store and he clearly didn’t understand the concept of a kosher butcher’s shop – he got very agitated when I explained why I wouldn’t be able to sell him a pack of smoked bacon rashers.’
‘I told him that they have plenty of bacon in Tesco and Asda, but he was adamant that he wanted to ‘buy local’ – he then went into a twenty-minute rant about why independent businesses are going under because they are not prepared to adapt to the needs of their customers.’
‘A few days later, I received a court summons stating that I am actively discriminating against non-Jewish people by my refusal to sell any sort of pig meat products, and the outcome this morning was that I will have my food hygiene licence confiscated by Southend Borough Council if I do not comply.’
‘While my case is being referred to the Supreme Court in Chelmsford, I have been forced to erect a special garden shed outside my shop purely for the purposes of selling bacon, gammon and pork.
Customers are not allowed to bring these items into the main store, and I have been forced to employ a temporary worker to deal with any transactions.’
A spokesperson for Southend Borough Trading Standards said: ‘While we sympathise with Mr Lardonowitz’s situation, a trader within our borough cannot be seen to be actively discriminating against any specific cultural or religious background.
By refusing to sell bacon and similar meats, he is effectively saying that he doesn’t want any non-Jewish customers in his shop, and this is incredibly dangerous ground.’
‘We are working both proactively, actively and reactively with the company owner to try and find an effective resolution out of court.
Our food tech researchers are investigating whether or not there is a way to make bacon kosher by only using pigs that eat grass and keep away from mud – we have already identified a possible farm in Manningtree where the pigs have been genetically engineered to have cloven hooves instead of trotters.’
‘Regretfully, if Mr Lardonowitz doesn’t comply with this latest court order, we will be left with no alternative but to close him down.’