Kosher Crusts

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A Georgia-based food company accused of putting pig fat into what were supposed to be kosher pie crusts has agreed to give $2.5 million to charity to settle a lawsuit.

Flowers Foods didn't admit to passing off pie crusts containing pork lard as kosher, but the company agreed yesterday to a settlement in Wake County, North Carolina, to end a class-action lawsuit filed this spring.

The company issued a letter of apology for what it calls an embarrassing incident.

The plant in Pembroke, North Carolina, has closed and Flowers no longer owns Mrs. Smith's bakeries or makes pie crusts.

If the allegations are true, Orthodox Jews who ate the crusts inadvertently violated their religious principles while eating Mrs. Smith's pie crusts in 2000 and 2001.

Jews who follow kosher diet rules are strictly prohibited from eating pork products.

The Mrs. Smith's plant made regular pie crusts with pork lard, and crusts stamped kosher by the Orthodox Union, a New York organization that certifies kosher foods. The kosher crusts contained no milk or meat products.