[First Reprint]

 

ASSEMBLY, No. 1919

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

209th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 6, 2000

 

 

 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman ALFRED E. STEELE

District 35 (Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

    Prevents consumer fraud in the preparation, distribution and sale of food represented as halal.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

    As reported by the Assembly Consumer Affairs and Regulated Professions Committee on May 22, 2000, with amendments.

 

 


An Act preventing consumer fraud in the preparation, distribution and sale of food represented as halal 1[, amending the title and body of P.L.1988, c.154,]1 and supplementing P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.).

 

    Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

    1. (New section) Sections 1 through 6 of this act shall be known and may be cited as the "Halal Food Consumer Protection Act."

 

    2. (New section) As used in this act:

    "Dealer" means any establishment that advertises, represents or holds itself out as selling, preparing or maintaining food as halal, including, but not be limited to, manufacturers, slaughterhouses, wholesalers, stores, restaurants, hotels, catering facilities, butcher shops, summer camps, bakeries, delicatessens, supermarkets, grocery stores, nursing homes, freezer dealers and food plan companies. These establishments may also sell, prepare or maintain food not represented as halal.

    "Director" means the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety or the director's designee.

    "Food" means a food, food product, food ingredient, dietary supplement or beverage.

 

    3. (New section) a. Any dealer who prepares, distributes, sells or exposes for sale any food represented to be halal shall disclose the basis upon which that representation is made by posting the information required by the director, pursuant to regulations adopted pursuant to the authority provided in section 4 of P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-4), on a sign of a type and size specified by the director, in a conspicuous place upon the premises at which the food is sold or exposed for sale, as required by the director.

    b. It shall be an unlawful practice for any person to violate the requirements of subsection a. of this section.

 

    4. (New section) Any person subject to the requirements of section 3 of this act shall not have committed an unlawful practice if it can be shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the person relied in good faith upon the representations of a slaughterhouse, manufacturer, processor, packer or distributor of any food represented to be halal.

 

    5. (New section) Possession by a dealer of any food not in conformance with the disclosure required by section 3 of this act with respect to that food is presumptive evidence that the person is in possession of that food with the intent to sell.

 

    6. (New section) Any dealer who prepares, distributes, sells or exposes for sale any food represented to be halal shall comply with all requirements of the director, including, but not limited to, recordkeeping, labeling and filing, pursuant to regulations adopted pursuant to the authority provided in section 4 of P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-4).

 

    1[7. The title of P.L.1988, c.154 is amended to read as follows:

An Act [to revise the kosher food law] concerning the preparation, distribution and sale of various foods, supplementing chapter 21 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes and repealing section 23B of P.L.1981, c.290.

(cf: P.L.1988, c.154, title)]1

 

    1[8. Section 1 of P.L.1988, c.154 (C.2C:21-7.2) is amended to read as follows:

    1. As used in this act:

    a. "Advertise" means engaging in promotional activities including, but not limited to, newspaper, radio and television advertising; the distribution of fliers and circulars; and the display of window and interior signs.

    b. "Food," "food product," or "food commodity" means any food, food product or food preparation, whether raw or prepared for human consumption, and whether in a solid or liquid state, including, but not limited to, any meat, meat product or meat preparation; any milk, milk product or milk preparation; and any alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage.

    c. "Food commodity in package form" means a food commodity put up or packaged in any manner in advance of sale in units suitable for retail sale and which is not intended for consumption at the point of manufacture.

    d. "Kosher" means prepared under and maintained in strict compliance with the laws and customs of the Orthodox Jewish religion and includes foods prepared for the festival of Passover and represented to be "kosher for Passover."

    e. "Halal" means prepared under and maintained in strict compliance with the laws and customs of the Islamic religion.

(cf: P.L.1988, c.154, s.1)]1

 

    1[9. Section 2 of P.L.1988, c.154 (C.2C:21-7.3) is amended to read as follows:

    2. a. A false representation prohibited by this act shall include any oral or written statement that directly or indirectly tends to deceive or otherwise lead a reasonable individual to believe that a non-kosher food or food product is kosher.

    b. The presence of any non-kosher food or food product in any place of business that advertises or represents itself in any manner as selling, offering for sale, preparing or serving kosher food or food products only, is presumptive evidence that the person in possession offers the same for sale in violation of this act.

    c. It shall be a complete defense to a prosecution under this act that the defendant relied in good faith upon the representations of a slaughterhouse, manufacturer, processor, packer or distributor, or any person or organization which certifies or represents any food or food product at issue to be kosher, kosher for Passover, or as having been prepared under or sanctioned by Orthodox Jewish religious requirements.

    d. A false representation prohibited by P.L.1988, c.154 (C.2C:21-7.2 et seq.) shall include any oral or written statement that directly or indirectly tends to deceive or otherwise lead a reasonable individual to believe that a non-halal food or food product is halal.

    e. The presence of any non-halal food or food product in any place of business that advertises or represents itself in any manner as selling, offering for sale, preparing or serving halal food or food products only, is presumptive evidence that the person in possession offers the same for sale in violation of P.L.1998, c.154 (C.2C:21-7.2 et seq.).

    f. It shall be a complete defense to a prosecution under P.L.1988, c.154 (C.2C:21-7.2 et seq.) that the defendant relied in good faith upon the representations of a slaughterhouse, manufacturer, processor, packer or distributor, or any person or organization which certifies or represents any food or food product at issue to be halal or as having been prepared under or sanctioned by Islamic religious requirements.

(cf: P.L.1988, c.154, s.2)]1

 

    1[10. Section 3 of P.L.1988, c.154 (C.2C:21-7.4) is amended to read as follows:

    3. A person commits a disorderly persons offense if in the course of business he:

    a. (1) Falsely represents any food sold, prepared, served or offered for sale to be kosher or kosher for Passover;

    (2) Removes or destroys, or causes to be removed or destroyed, the original means of identification affixed to food commodities to indicate that same are kosher or kosher for Passover, except that this paragraph shall not be construed to prevent the removal of the identification if the commodity is offered for sale as non-kosher; or

    (3) Sells, disposes of or has in his possession for the purpose of resale as kosher any food commodity to which a slaughterhouse plumba, mark, stamp, tag, brand, label or other means of identification has been fraudulently attached.

    b. (1) Labels or identifies a food commodity in package form to be kosher or kosher for Passover or possesses such labels or means of identification, unless he is the manufacturer or packer of the food commodity in package form;

    (2) Labels or identifies an article of food not in package form to be kosher or kosher for Passover or possesses such labels or other means of identification, unless he is the manufacturer of the article of food;

    (3) Falsely labels any food commodity in package form as kosher or kosher for Passover by having or permitting to be inscribed on it, in any language, the words "kosher" or "kosher for Passover," "parve," "glatt," or any other words or symbols which would tend to deceive or otherwise lead a reasonable individual to believe that the commodity is kosher or kosher for Passover; or

    (4) Labels any food commodity in package form by having or permitting to be inscribed on it the words "kosher-style," "kosher-type," "Jewish," or "Jewish-style," unless the product label also displays the word "non-kosher" in letters at least as large and in close proximity.

    c. (1) Sells, offers for sale, prepares, or serves in or from the same place of business both unpackaged non-kosher food and unpackaged food he represents to be kosher unless he posts a window sign at the entrance of his establishment which states in block letters at least four inches in height: "Kosher and Non-Kosher Foods Sold Here," or "Kosher and Non-Kosher Foods Served Here," or a statement of similar import; or

    (2) Employs any Hebrew word or symbol in any advertising of any food offered for sale or place of business in which food is prepared, whether for on-premises or off-premises consumption, unless the advertisement also sets forth in conjunction therewith and in English, the words "We Sell Kosher Food Only," "We Sell Both Kosher and Non-Kosher Foods," or words of similar import, in letters of at least the same size as the characters used in Hebrew. For the purpose of this paragraph, "Hebrew symbol" means any Hebrew word, or letter, or any symbol, emblem, sign, insignia, or other mark that simulates a Hebrew word or letter.

    d. (1) Displays for sale in the same show window or other location on or in his place of business, both unpackaged food represented to be kosher and unpackaged non-kosher food, unless he:

    (a) displays over the kosher and non-kosher food signs that read, in clearly visible block letters, "kosher food" and "non-kosher food," respectively, or, as to the display of meat alone, "kosher meat" and "non-kosher meat," respectively;

    (b) separates the kosher food products from the non-kosher food products by keeping the products in separate display cabinets, or by segregating kosher items from non-kosher items by use of clearly visible dividers; and

    (c) slices or otherwise prepares the kosher food products for sale with utensils used solely for kosher food items;

    (2) Prepares or serves any food as kosher whether for consumption in his place of business or elsewhere if in the same place of business he also prepares or serves non-kosher food, unless he:

    (a) uses and maintains separate and distinctly labeled or marked dishes and utensils for each type of food; and

    (b) includes in clearly visible block letters the statement "Kosher and Non-Kosher Foods Prepared and Sold Here" in each menu or sign used or posted on the premises or distributed or advertised off the premises;

    (3) Sells or has in his possession for the purpose of resale as kosher any food commodity not having affixed thereto the original slaughterhouse plumba, mark, stamp, tag, brand, label or other means of identification employed to indicate that the food commodity is kosher or kosher for Passover; or

    (4) Sells or offers for sale, as kosher, any fresh meat or poultry that is identified as "soaked and salted," unless (a) the product has in fact been soaked and salted in a manner which makes it kosher; and (b) the product is marked "soaked and salted" on the package label or, if the product is not packaged, on a sign prominently displayed in conjunction with the product. For the purpose of this paragraph, "fresh meat or poultry" shall mean meat and poultry that has not been processed except for salting and soaking.

    e. (1) Falsely represents any food sold, prepared, served or offered for sale to be halal;

    (2) Removes or destroys, or causes to be removed or destroyed, the original means of identification affixed to food commodities to indicate that same are halal, except that this paragraph shall not be construed to prevent the removal of the identification if the commodity is offered for sale as non-halal; or

    (3) Sells, disposes of or has in his possession for the purpose of resale as halal any food commodity to which a slaughterhouse mark, stamp, tag, brand, label or other means of identification has been fraudulently attached.

    f. (1) Labels or identifies a food commodity in package form to be halal or possesses such labels or means of identification, unless he is the manufacturer or packer of the food commodity in package form;

    (2) Labels or identifies an article of food not in package form to be halal or possesses such labels or other means of identification, unless he is the manufacturer of the article of food;

    (3) Falsely labels any food commodity in package form as halal by having or permitting to be inscribed on it, in any language, the words "halal" or "helal," or any other words or symbols, not limited to characters in Arabic writing, which would tend to deceive or otherwise lead a reasonable individual to believe that the commodity is halal; or

    g. Sells, offers for sale, prepares, or serves in or from the same place of business both unpackaged non-halal food and unpackaged food he represents to be halal unless he posts a window sign at the entrance of his establishment which states in block letters at least four inches in height: "Halal and Non-Halal Foods Sold Here," or "Halal and Non-Halal Foods Served Here," or a statement of similar import.

    h. (1) Sells or has in his possession for the purpose of resale as halal any food commodity not having affixed thereto the original slaughterhouse mark, stamp, tag, brand, label or other means of identification employed to indicate that the food commodity is halal; or

    (2) Displays for sale in the same show window or other location on or in his place of business, both unpackaged food represented to be halal and unpackaged non-halal food unless he:

    (a) displays over the halal and non-halal food signs that read, in clearly visible block letters, "halal food" and "non-halal food," respectively, or, as to the display of meat alone, "halal meat" and "non-halal meat," respectively;

    (b) separates the halal food products from the non-halal food products by keeping the products in separate display cabinets, or by segregating halal items from non-halal items by use of clearly visible dividers; and

    (c) slices or otherwise prepares the halal food products for sale with utensils used solely for halal food items.

(cf: P.L.1988, c.154, s.3)]1

 

    1[11.] 7.1 This act shall take effect on the 180th day following enactment.