Noncompliance with USDA’s meat inspectors moved only a nudge last quarter as the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) reorganized its enforcement agencies. The nation’s meat police folded the international inspection functions of the Office of International Affairs (OIA) into the Office of Field Operations, and OIA’s export and equivalency functions were moved to the Office of Policy and Program Development (OPPD). OIA’s international audit function was integrated with the existing domestic and state audit functions in the renamed Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit (OIEA), which was formerly the Office of Program Evaluation, Enforcement and Review (OPEER). Finally, OIA’s Import Surveillance Liaison Officers (ISLOs) were moved into OIEA’s Compliance Investigation Division (CID). The reorganization took effect on May 5, about halfway through the federal government’s third quarter, which ended June 30. During the period, the USDA meat inspectors performed 1.711 million inspection procedures, documenting 26,624 instances of noncompliance by the nation’s meat and poultry industries. That translates into a compliance rate of 98.4 percent, down by one-tenth of a percent from both the previous quarter and the yearly average. Also during the April to June period, meat and poultry establishments falling under FSIS jurisdiction filed 338 appeals of noncompliance records (NR). A total of 89 appeals were granted, 165 were denied, 45 were pending at the end of the period, and 39 resulted in a modified NR. USDA accepted meat and poultry imports totaling 855,581,728 pounds, the highest level of the past three quarters. It initially refused entry to 3,983,984 pounds of meat and poultry, but eventually cleared 2,777,883 pounds of that amount. In 90 separate actions during the quarter, the new OIEA detained almost two million pounds of meat, poultry and egg products as part of its ongoing enforcement actions. That was up from the two previous quarters before the reorganization. So-called “prohibited activity notices” went out to 14 companies for mishandling recall activity. These can involve failure to notify consignees or customers, or just going ahead and selling a product that should be properly recalled. On that list for the quarter are Big Tree Market, Arnold, CA; Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District, Orosi, CA; Davis Dairy Products, Providence, RI; Glens 1525, Petoskey, MI; Ingles Markets, Black Mountain, NC; King Soopers, Centennial , CO; Lindbergh, Lynwood, CA; Meijer 233, Allen Park, MI; Nash Finch, Lima, OH; Price Chopper, Watertown, NY; Ridley’s Family Market, Morgan, UT; The Continental Shop, Santa Monica, CA, and Walmart #3455, Richmond, CA. During the quarter, FSIS was taking administrative action against 221 federally regulated meat and poultry establishments. These can include a variety of control actions, withholding actions, and suspensions. It initiated 95 actions during the period and closed 90. Among the nation’s three largest meat producers, Tyson was facing administrative actions at four plants, Cargill at five, and JBS at one. One of more serious enforcement actions FSIS can take is to move to withdraw or deny inspection services to a company. This typically can occur only after a hearing, but it means that the business cannot sell meat or poultry products because they are not USDA-inspected. On May 7, the owners of Rubio’s Ranch in Miami, FL, entered into a two-year Consent Agreement with FSIS that holds the withdrawal of meat exemption privileges in abeyance. The agreement requires, among other things, that Rubio’s Ranch develop and maintain an effective sanitation program and implement pest control and employee training procedures to ensure that operations are conducted in a sanitary manner. The Consent Agreement says Rubio’s is not to produce adulterated products, and FSIS served a Notice of Ineligibility (NOI) to the firm and co-owners Gilbert and Arquimedes De Armas to terminate customs-exempt operations. And, with a civil injunction, Alston, MA-based Yi Soon Bakery was permanently enjoined from engaging in conduct in violation of the Federal Meat Inspection Act after repeated violations. Criminal action was taken against Norfork, NE-based Roman’s II on May 1, 2013. Owner Cory D. Alemang entered into a plea agreement for one misdemeanor count of representing uninspected meat as inspected by USDA. He had been indicted for three misdemeanor counts for intent to defraud by representing uninspected meat as USDA inspected. Finally, FSIS reported sending out 286 warnings during the quarter for prohibited acts or conduct. Usually if a company responds to such warnings, they can avoid being referred to a U.S. District Attorney for prosecution. The current fourth quarter of the federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.