USDA’s enforcement results for the new fiscal year that began last Oct. 1 for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) are now available. For Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, the kickoff period for fiscal 2023 finds FSIS on track for another busy year of enforcement activities
Livestock and poultry inspections again approached record production levels at more than 40 million head of livestock and nearly 2.5 billion on the poultry side. Inspections resulting in condemnations totaled 61,829 livestock and 2.3 million poultry.
During the quarter, FSIS meat and poultry inspectors performed thousands of enforcement procedures in federally inspected establishments each day to determine whether or not they are in compliance with regulatory requirements.
According to the quarterly enforcement report, each time inspection program personnel make a noncompliance determination they complete a Noncompliance Record (NR).
An NR is a written record that documents noncompliance with FSIS regulations. An NR notifies the establishment that there is noncompliance and that they should take action to remedy the situation and prevent its recurrence. NRs reflect a variety of noncompliance determinations, ranging from non-food safety issues to serious breakdowns in food safety controls.
During the first quarter of FY 2023, the compliance rate was 98.8 percent, or 22,080 noncompliance events recorded out of 1.844 million verification procedures being reported. There were 411 appeals resulting in 103 being granted and 163 being denied. Another 90 were modified and 55 were carried into the next period.
According to the enforcement report, FSIS conducts port-of-entry reinspection of imported meat, poultry and egg products. This activity is a reinspection of products that have already been inspected and passed by an equivalent foreign inspection system. Thus, imported product reinspection is a means of verifying the equivalence of a foreign country’s inspection system on an ongoing basis.
Imported meat and poultry accepted during the first quarter totaled 1, 201,801,458 pounds. Imported egg reinspections resulted in 1,784,039 pounds being accepted.
During the first quarter, FSIS’s Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit (OIEA) detained 249,923 pounds of meat in 89 actions.
Also during the period, the FSIS Office of Field Operations (OFO) issued two prohibited activity notices. Those warnings went to Abie’s Place in Abie, NE, and Walmart in Baden, PA.
During the first quarter, FSIS initiated 50 administrative actions and closed 64.
Among the nation’s largest meat processing and slaughter establishments, only four were involved with administrative actions during the period. They were Cargill Meat Solutions in Dodge City, KS; FPL Food in Augusta, GA; National Beef in Liberal, KS; and Tyson Fresh Meats in Waterloo, IA. The most serious was a withholding action against National Beef.
In Adjudicatory Actions, an administrative complaint dated back to Feb. 19, 2021, charged Nob Hill Pizza of San Mateo, CA. During the period, FSIS reached a Consent Order with the pizza company to clean up its sanitation issues and conduct third-party audits.
On December 16, 2022, FSIS filed a complaint against Cool Cat Fish Market and James Westerman, owner, and Valorie Lowe, plant manager In Stewart, TN, to refuse inspection services based on the owner’s four felonies for aggravated cruelty to animals under state statutes.
Simultaneously the firm entered into a Consent Decision and Order with FSIS, which will allow the firm to receive inspection services. The Order is effective for a three-year period and contains requirements to, among other things, ensure ethical business practices, compliance with a code of conduct, and food safety compliance.
An administrative hearing for King Of Basturma LLC and Abbas Hachem, owner In Westland, MI, was canceled. Previously, on Dec. 30, 2021, FSIS filed a complaint to refuse to provide federal meat inspection services to the respondent based on the owner’s felony conviction. FSIS filed amended complaints on Jan. 19 and Feb. 28, 2022, to update information, including a revised application for inspection.
FSIS entered into a Civil Penalty Stipulation Agreement with Daybreak Foods, Inc. Grant Park, IL, under which it agreed to pay the stipulated civil penalty of $1,425 for violations of the EPIA.
FSIS entered into a Civil Penalty Stipulation Agreement with Chung Wah Trading Inc. of Woodside, NY, under which it agreed to pay the stipulated civil penalty of $480 for violations of the EPIA.
In the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, New Chung Hing Meats Inc. aka New Chung Hing Meats Inc., Miao He Feng, Yiu Kwan Cheung, Wing Hong Cheung, and Tian Lun Feng of New York, NY, entered into a stipulation agreement resolving violations of a prior consent decree requiring them to comply with FSIS statutes and regulations. The agreement, approved and entered as an order by the court, requires the defendants to pay $250,000 as a civil penalty for the violations and other actions by the defendants related to future business activities.
In the U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island, the firm Michael A. Quattrucci and Joel Quattrucci was indicted for multiple violations of the FMIA. The indictment charges the parties with using an official USDA mark of inspection without authorization in violation of 21 U.S.C. 611, falsely representing that beef had been federally inspected in violation of 21 U.S.C. 611 and preparing beef without complying with the FMIA inspection requirements in violation of 21 U.S.C. 610.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here)