Faye Slye, a 37-year old Cold Spring, MN, woman, was sentenced to 90 days in the Stearns County Jail after being convicted of two felony counts of causing damage to property in the first degree.
She also has to pay $200,000 in restitution to GNP Company, which in June 2016 had to recall almost 28 tons of chicken products because of contamination with extraneous materials.
Pilgrim’s Pride bought GNP Co. in late 2016. Pilgrim’s is owned by Brazil-based JBS S.A.
At the time of the recall, GNP said some of the “Gold’n Plump” and “Just BARE” branded products, produced between June 6 and 9, 2016, were found with sand and black soil contamination. It immediately called in the Cold Spring-Richmond Police Department, which was assisted by the FBI in investigating the incident.
Slye confessed after the investigation turned up both surveillance footage and forensic evidence implicating her. GNP’s surveillance footage for both June 7 and 8 pointed to her suspicious behavior.
Slye said she collected sand and dirt from the parking lot in a plastic bag before using it to contaminate the chicken. Her sleeves also contained the substance.
The former poultry worker can serve the 90-day jail term in 30-day increments during the next three years. She will be on probation for five years.
The chicken products contaminated by Slye were shipped nationwide for both foodservice operations and retail distribution. The company initiated the recall after the second time in 2016 that ash or dirt turned up in tubs of chicken meat.
The Minnesota court did not prohibit Slye’s future employment in the food industry.
The incident at GNP Company occurred about one month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule on food defense to protect food from acts of intentional adulteration like Slye initiated.
The final rule on Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration with requirements for covered facilities to prepare and implement food defense plans is intended to help avoid such threats in the future.
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