The Quarterly Enforcement Report for April 1, 2023, to June 30, 2023, shows carcass inspections for livestock fell to 39,410 570. It was the first time in Fiscal Year 2023 that the number fell below 40 million. Poultry inspections remained at the 2.4 billion level where they’ve been all year.
Th e Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit (OIEA) conducts detention actions for Meat, Poultry and Egg products. During the third quarter, OIEA detentions totaled 106,520 pounds, much lower than the previous two quarters when detentions hit 281, 143, and 250,246 pounds. So far for the fiscal year, there have been 330 detentions for 637,909 pounds.
The pressure was off a bit due to slightly reduced activity during the federal fiscal third quarter that ended the third quarter. Still, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service remained busy with enforcement actions, including those where it pursued either civil or criminal actions.
The Office of Field Operations (OFO) is the largest FSIS unit. It issued two “prohibited activity notices” during the third period, bringing the total to seven for the year.
FSIS “prohibited activity notices” may include any of the following:
- Failure of a recalling establishment or firm to notify its consignees of a recalled product
- Failure of a consignee to notify its customers of the recalled product
- Recalling establishment, firm, or consignee found offering a recalled product for sale
When FSIS determines that an establishment or firm has not taken responsibility to remove or control adulterated, misbranded, or unsafe products in commerce or to advise its consignees of a product subject to recall, it may issue prohibited activity notices to the establishment or firm.
“Prohibited Activity Notices” during the third quarter were issued to Abie’s Place, Abie, NE; La Autentica Foods (two notices), Hialeah, FL; Old Town European Market, Springfield, MO; Prime Food USA, Edison, NJ; Walgreen Co. Store 7718, Fayetteville, AR; and Walmart, Baden, PA.
Through 10 district offices, OFO carries out FSIS’ food safety mission in processing and slaughter facilities across the country. OFO is also responsible for managing all certification work including export verification.
FSIS also took a variety of administrative actions against 34 businesses it regulates. And among FSIS’s “large establishments,” only seven faced administrative action and six of those involved inhumane treatment during slaughter.
On May 24, 2023, an administrative hearing found King of Basturma LLC and its owner Abbas Sachem, both of Westland, MI, as being unfit to receive federal meat inspection services. The reason is the owner’s felony and fraud convictions. He did not appeal and the decision became final.
In a civil injunction action, Ashif Saeed entered into a Consent Decree from the U.S. District Court for Eastern New York to resolve violations of the meat and poultry acts. The owner of a Jamaica, NY business, Saeed agreed to not misbrand products or offer misbranded products for sale. The decree includes enforcement provisions.
A Consent Decree was also agreed to in the District Court for the Southern District of New York involving the owners of N and M Wholesale Supply in New York, NY. It resolves alleged violations of the Meat and Poultry Acts. It requires the owners to get training and keep proper records. And its meat and poultry products must pass proper inspections.
Finally, a 2020 case that opted out of a jury trial appears to have settled with plea bargains that came together during the quarter. There remains an October sentencing hearing for Rhode Island Beef, but not owners Michael and Joel Quattrucci as individuals.
They were charged with defrauding customers by using an illegally obtained official mark of inspection, defrauding customers with claims that their beef was inspected and that it had passed, and falsely claiming it had met federal inspection requirements.
The owners were fined and placed on probation in exchange for plea agreements.
The probation term is 1 to 5 years, with fines of $10,000 each. The October hearing will be limited to Rhode Island Beef as a corporate entity.
Editor’s note: A previous reversion of this story carried the wrong byline. Editor Dan Flynn wrote this story.
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