Fines and probationary sentences for selling uninspected meat products top the enforcement report for the last quarter of enforcement activity by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS). USDA’s meat inspectors use criminal, civil and administrative actions to police the safety of America’s meat, poultry and eggs. FSIS issues a quarterly report on these activities, which it says provides a “snapshot in time of a dynamic process.” After their criminal convictions, two individuals associated with Finca El Novillo in Miami faced punishment during the quarter. First to be sentenced last Jan. 11 was Gelio Hernandez for two counts of the sale of uninspected meat and inhumane slaughter. He was placed on probation for two years, fined $1,000 plus a $200 fee, and ordered to provide 100 hours of community service. The court also said Hernandez cannot participate in any future meat sales. The related sentencing came on Feb. 4 when Angel Busurot was fined $100 and put on probation for two years. In other criminal action during the first quarter of 2013, Cory D. Alemang of Norfolk, NE was indicted on three federal misdemeanor counts for intent to defraud and for representing uninspected meat food products and various deer meat products as inspected by USDA. Alemang apparently runs a Nebraska business known as Roman’s II. During the Jan. 1 to March 31 period, FSIS performed more than 1.6 million verification procedures and documented 26,004 instances of “noncompliance” by the meat and poultry processes for a compliance rate of 98.5 percent. The Jan. 1 through March 31 period is the agency’s second quarter since the federal fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. Meat and poultry processors filed 280 administrative appeals during the quarter. FSIS granted 80 appeals, denied 115, and left 30 pending at the end of the period. Another 55 resulted in a modified ruling. There was a spike in imported meat and poultry arriving in the U.S. during the quarter as 818,658,598 pounds were presented for inspection, up from 690,369,432 from the previous quarter. Likewise, imported egg products reached 2,439,721 pounds, up from 1,876,477 during the earlier period. Domestic livestock and poultry numbers were off, with 36,280,239 carcasses inspected by USDA, down almost three million from the earlier period. The FSIS enforcement unit known as the Office of Program Evaluation Enforcement and Review (OPEER) took 71 detention actions in which 178,279 pounds of meat, poultry and egg products were detained. The Office of International Affairs took two detention actions in which 2,240 pounds of meat, poultry or egg products were detained. FSIS Field Operations unit reported it took no detention actions during the latest period. Another important enforcement area for FSIS involves so-called “prohibited activity notices” that go to establishments that the agency says have not taken responsibility to remove or control adulterated, misbranded, or other unsafe product in commerce or failed “to advise its consignees of product that is subject to recall.” For such recent failures, FSIS issued prohibited activity warnings during the quarter to Fry’s in Tucson, AZ; King Sooper’s in Denver, CO; Lion Meats in Naples, FL and Schwan’s Global in Hollywood, FL.