The Kosher Chinese Express restaurant of Manalapan, New Jersey, formerly supervised by the OK Kosher Certification organization, has permanently closed in the wake of an investigation that found serious questions about the kashruth of the restaurant, resulting in a recommendation that recent diners kasher any personal utensils that were used with the food.
The owner of the restaurant, located on Route 9 in Manalapan Township, was filmed purchasing non-kosher meat and chicken; the footage was sent to the OK Kosher Certification organization that was supervising the restaurant.
The supervision agency investigated and promptly pulled its certification, according to a letter issued by the “O-K” on its website.
“After intense and careful investigation into recent allegations surrounding Kosher Chinese Express of Manalapan NJ (“Chinese Express”) we wish to inform the public that OK Kosher is no longer supervising the restaurant and we have been informed that they are no longer operational,” the letter began.
The agency advised in the letter, “In consultation with Poskim it is recommended that customers of Chinese Express that have purchased any of their products in the past 6 months and used any of their personal utensils are advised to Kasher those utensils. Please reach out to your personal Rav for guidance and further instructions.
“We are deeply saddened by this revelation and we are thankful and appreciative to the keep observer who brought this to our attention,” the letter concluded.
Elan Kornblum, CEO of the Great Kosher Restaurants organization and founder of its associated Facebook page, Great Kosher Restaurant Foodies, warned in a post on Monday that consumers should not jump to conclusions.
“This investigation is by no means over and I’m sure there will be lots of legal issues for everyone concerned, especially if allegations come to be true. So this is the statement they put forth today, I’m sure they’ll be another one down the road,” Kornblum write.
“In general I tell you this, unfortunately if a restaurant owner wants to deceive the mashgiach and supervision, it can happen. I know that as soon as the video came to light an immediate investigation was conducted.
“The OK has told me while [the owner’s] story about this latest incident of buying non Kosher meat had panned out (and it wasn’t brought into the store), it led to other questions and investigation where they obviously found or learned about something that was serious enough to come down with this letter,” Kornblum continued.
Kornblum noted in a separate, earlier post that the restaurant owner had told the O-K the non-kosher meat and chicken were purchased for another store.
“Perhaps the 6 months is for something specific, it could be an arbitrary time and it could be out of abundance of caution. I don’t know yet. But please allow the process to happen before we cast assumptions or admonishment on any person, or organization. Actions, consequences and retribution should happen if it should be proven. Let’s wait and see.”