The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service regulates about 6,200 private establishments with something called progressive discipline. It’s where to look for everything from a minor infraction involving a slaughter operation to criminal prosecutions. The FSIS quarterly enforcement report pulls these actions together into one document.
The FSIS Quarterly Report for the third federal fiscal quarter ending June 30 was released Wednesday. In addition to the enforcement data, activity during the quarter continued at high levels.
FSIS personnel inspected more than 40 million livestock and more than 2.4 billion poultry carcasses during the quarter. Since the year began, FSIS has seen these higher-than-normal production levels.
FSIS re-inspected more than one billion pounds of meat and poultry submitted during the period. The 1.17 billion pounds in the third quarter topped the previous two quarters.
FSIS refused entry to 10 million pounds of imported meat and poultry during the quarter, also a record for the year.
There were 76 detentions totaling 212,923 pounds of meat, poultry, and egg products during the quarter by the FSIS Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit (OIEA).
The OIEA conducts surveillance and investigation of meat, poultry, and egg products due to foodborne illness outbreaks, natural disasters, and intentional contamination. It is responsible for FSIS enforcement, including criminal, civil and administrative actions.
The agency tracked verification producers during the quarter, a total of more than 1.8 million actions. The number of documented noncompliance procedures was 25,133 for a compliance rate of 98.6 percent.
About 25 primarily retail businesses received “prohibited activity notices” from FSIS during the period. FSIS also took administrative action against 41 establishments in the third quarter and closed out executive actions against 50 businesses.
And only seven of the large establishments regulated by FSIS were targets of administrative actions. FSIS took action against Swift Pork Co. in Ottumwa, IA, for inhumane treatment during slaughter.
Smithfield Fresh Meats in Smithfield, VA, and Preferred Freezer in Elizabeth, NJ, were charged twice with violating regulatory controls.
JBS in Bouder, PA, was cited for inhumane treatment during slaughter, sanitation issues, and sanitation standard operating procedures.
Butterball in Carthage, MO, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef in Arkansas City, KS, and Don Miguel Foods in Dallas were also targets of administrative actions involving HACCP and sanitation issues.
The FSIS and E.L. Blood and Son in West Groton, MA, agreed to a Consent Decision and Order. The company must name a humane handling coordinator for establishing procedures for humane retraining and stunning animals. Before the May 2, 2021 agreement, FSIS had withdrawn inspection services from Blood. Meat cannot be sold for human consumption without USDA inspection.
FSIS also agreed to a Consent Decree with Memet Beqiri and New England Meat Packing in Stafford Springs, CT. FSIS was withdrawing federal inspection from New England because Beqiri was involved with false lab samples. In the 5-year agreement, New England Meat Packing promises to practice both ethics and food safety.
Civil complaints were filed during the quarter against Miller’s Organic Farm in Bird-in-Hand, PA; the Rainbow Food Group in Little Falls, NJ; and Yin Gong Corp. in New York, NY,
Amos Miller, who owns Miller’s Organic Farm with his wife, was fined $250,000 after being found in contempt of court. Robert Kalkan agreed to pay a $20,000 civil penalty for the sale of misbranding meat and poultry by Rainbow Food. And Vin Gong signed a Consent Decree, promising to cease breaking the law,
Finally, the quarterly enforcement summary reported on the indictment of Rhode Island Beef and Veal for multiple violations of the Federal Meat Inspection Act.
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