Amish farmer Amos Miller is holding up his third agreement with the federal government. It means his appearances in federal court are over.  USDA enforcement of federal food safety regulations has prevailed.

Miller proved to be a difficult assignment for USDA’’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which first took civil action against Miller’s Organic Farm and the Amish farmer himself in 2017—the most recent action re-opened litigation from 2019.

Often depicted as a small Amish farmer, Miller has farming operations in multiple states, and his sales club has distributed meat and poultry products across state lines. He is based in Bird-in-Hand, an unincorporated community in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County. The community has a large Amish and Mennonite population.

After imposing at least $ 55,065,72 in fines on Miller, the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania approved the “Third Consent Decree,” allowing the case to be closed as 2023 ends.  Miller also had to pay various costs for the Court’s agricultural expert, the U.S. Marshal’s Office, and FSIS.

Here are some of the significant provisions that, through his attorney, Miller agreed to with U.S. Attorneys:

1. To clarify that Defendants may now market and sell amenable meats and poultry from third-party, USDA-inspected establishments to Defendants’ customers, Paragraph 118 of the Court’s Second Contempt Sanctions Order is modified to permit Defendants to take, to send, or to have sent/delivered to any USDA/FSIS-inspected establishment (and only to USDA/FSIS-inspected establishments) amenable livestock and poultry for slaughter and processing for human consumption.

  1. Under that same Paragraph 118, Defendants remain precluded from conducting livestock/poultry slaughter and processing that are intended. For sale, resale, offer for sale, transportation, donation, or distribution to Defendants’ customers or elsewhere. This does not preclude, however, slaughter and processing that is for Amos Miller or his family members’ consumption to the extent consistent with 9 C.F.R. §§ 303.1(a) and 381.10(a)(3) because such personal-use slaughter and processing remains permitted under the Court’s orders.

3. Under Paragraph 118 of the Second Contempt Sanctions Order, Defendants also remain precluded from receiving, handling, and storing any amenable meat or poultry products intended for sale, resale, offer for sale, transportation, donation, or distribution to Miller’s customers or elsewhere. The amenable products to which this continuing injunction applies include but are not limited to (a) meat and poultry products produced as permitted in Paragraph 1 above, (b) non-federally inspected meat and poultry products, and (c) “exempt” meat and poultry products. This continuing injunction applies regardless of whether such amenable products are marked “Private Membership Association,” “Not for Sale,” “Not for Resale,” or “Exempt(ed) P.L. 90-492.”

4. For any USDA/FSIS-inspected and passed meat, poultry, meat food products, and poultry products produced for or on behalf of Miller’s, only a federally inspected establishment or an adequately licensed distributor—such as a state-licensed warehouse or distributor—may store and distribute the articles or products. This requirement applies, for example, when such an establishment or distributor fulfills orders from Miller’s customers.

5. No amenable meat, poultry, meat food products, or poultry products produced for or on behalf of Miller’s (including any unwanted or condemned articles such as lungs, “specified risk materials,” and other condemned items) may be returned or transported to, or stored at, any Miller’s location for purposes of further distribution, offer for sale, sale, or donation to Defendants’ customers. As used in this paragraph, “any Miller’s location” includes, but is not limited to, Miller’s properties at 648 Mill Creek School Road and 672 Mill Creek School Road in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, and any other location owned by or leased by Defendants, any successor in interest, or their agents or employees. This Paragraph 5 does not preclude Defendants from contracting with other individuals and entities for distribution, offer for sale, sale, or donation of Miller’s amenable meat, poultry, meat food products, and poultry products to Defendants’ customers.

6. Paragraphs 118 and 119 of the Second Contempt Sanctions Order are modified to allow Defendants and their agents to advertise and market USDA/FSIS-inspected and passed meat, poultry, meat food products, and poultry products on Defendants’ and their agents’ existing web platforms, but only on condition that all such articles and products are produced, handled, and distributed by the above paragraphs. Further, these modifications do not affect Defendants’ independent responsibility for complying with relevant provisions of the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

7. The limited modifications to the Second Contempt Sanctions Order stated above will remain in effect only on the condition (and to the extent) that. Defendants provide to the United States, in writing, advance written notice explicitly identifying: (a) the name and address of any federally inspected establishment that Miller’s will be used for slaughter or processing under Paragraph 1, above; (b) the names and addresses of distributors where such articles and resulting products will be held and stored and from which they will be distributed; (c) the name and address of any person/entity that will be taking Miller’s online orders for amenable meat, poultry, meat food products, or poultry products; (d) the method(s) for customer ordering of the articles and products (in-person, call-in, fax, etc.); (e) who (or what entity) will be shipping the articles and products from federal establishments to distributors; (f) who (or what entity) will be recording and maintaining the inventory of the articles and products; and (g) who (or what entity) will be creating and maintaining all related records and contracts. Such written notice may be emailed and must be provided to the undersigned Assistant United States Attorneys at least ten business days before the first use of each such establishment, distributor, entity, person, and method.

8. The above-stated, limited modifications to the Second Contempt SanctionsOrder is effective only on the further condition that Defendants create, maintain, and make immediately available to USDA/FSIS upon the agency’s request, contemporaneous records documenting all meat-and-poultry-related transactions and distributions as required under 21 U.S.C. §§ 460(b) and 642 and 9 C.F.R. §§ 320.1 and 381.175.

Miller and the government agreed the pact is “without prejudice,” meaning the government could go after non-compliance, and the farmer could defend future actions.

The Court contemplates that USDA/FSIS, within that agency’s jurisdiction, will continue to oversee Defendants and take appropriate product control and enforcement action in case of violations.  And Miller, under the Third Consent Decree,  agrees to cooperate with USDA/FSIS’ efforts to verify compliance.

And finally, non-compliance may result in a return to the Court for more “relief.”

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