A criminal plea agreement with a Nebraska deer meat processor is the most serious infraction disclosed by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service in the agency’s final quarterly enforcement report for fiscal 2013.
Cory D. Allemang, owner of Roman’s II in Norfork, NE, agreed to plead guilty to one count of a three-count indictment for intent to defraud by falsely representing deer meat he processed as having been inspected by USDA. Under the agreement, he was sentenced to one year of federal probation and paid a $25 assessment. However, he was also barred from ever being connected with any business involving FSIS-regulated products.
Also during the period, Bay Valley Foods, LLC, of Pittsburgh, PA, agreed to pay an $8,960 penalty in exchange for an agreement for no prosecution of an incident involving misbranding canned products.
During the final quarter, FSIS’s Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit (OIEA) sent off 238 warning notices of possible infractions to meat and poultry industry companies. For the year, OIEA warning notices went to 1,009 companies. Most of the notices for both the quarter and the year came out of the agency’s Northeast region.
The only civil action FSIS took during the quarter was to persuade a court to enjoin from future infractions a Puerto Rican cash-and-carry company with frequent violations of the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act.
Gardena, CA-based Paisano Meats, Inc., voluntarily agreed to the withdrawal of a grant of inspection after FSIS filed a complaint Sept. 25, 2013, to cease inspections at the company because of the felony conviction of owner Jose Cruz Lopez for selling adulterated meat products.
In October, an administrative law judge signed an “order suspending action” for not less than 120 days involving Nebraska’s Finest Meats, located in Randolph, NE, over a pending federal district court case. FSIS previously filed a complaint to indefinitely suspend inspection services over acts of intimidation and interference against federal meat inspectors by owners Paul and Kelly Rosberg.
Federal meat inspectors performed 1.81 million “verification procedures” during the quarter and found 28,905 instances of noncompliance in the nation’s meat and poultry processing facilities, for a compliance rate of 98.4 percent. For the year, there were nearly 6.9 million compliance procedures performed and 105,308 instances of noncompliance, for a 98.5-percent compliance rate.
Livestock and poultry carcass inspections continued at the pace set earlier in the year. USDA inspected about 36.5 million head of livestock during the quarter and condemned 53,581 animals as unfit for human consumption. For the year, about 147.7 million head of livestock went to slaughter and 220,388 were condemned as unfit for human consumption.
Poultry inspections during the final period totaled about 2.3 billion, with about 8.2 million birds condemned as unfit for human consumption. For the fiscal year, nearly 9 billion birds were inspected and about 36.2 million condemned.
During the period, there were 90 detentions by OIEA involving 762,616 pounds of meat, poultry and eggs. The most detentions by weight occurred in the Southwest. For the year, there were 305 detentions by OIEA involving almost 3.4 million pounds.
FSIS administrative actions totaled 210 during the quarter, when it initiated 74 cases and closed 85. For the year, the agency took administrative action 826 times, began 338 new cases and closed 322.
Only two “prohibited activity notices” were issued during the quarter. They went to Kehe Food Distributors in Romeoville, IL, and Tayyib Foods Inc. in Atlanta, GA.© Food Safety News