Texas processor settles labeling case

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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‪LUFKIN, Texas –John Soules Foods Inc. entered into a settlement agreement on Aug. 22 with the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas and the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to settle an alleged mislabeling case, according to the US Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Texas. As a result, the company will pay $392,000 to the US Treasury General Fund as a monetary payment to resolve the pending investigation and for the purpose of reimbursing the costs of the investigation. ‬‬

The company further agreed to adopt additional procedures designed to assure continued compliance with the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act. It also agreed to review existing procedures, books and records and policies to assure such continued compliance.

This settlement agreement concludes a three-year investigation into allegations that in late 2006 and early 2007, some wholesale buyers John Soules Foods beef trimmings may have received some portion of that product in an adulterated and/or mislabeled condition.

USDA investigators found that during that time period, the processor experienced problems getting some of its beef trimmings product to freeze properly. In order to minimize the risk of any potential problems, the company sold some boxes of their beef trimmings to an independent meat broker who agreed to sell the product as pet food. But the processor allegedly did not change the product labels to reflect the new “pet food” designation.

What’s more, the broker allegedly violated the agreement and sold the boxes of pet food beef trimmings to another meat broker for human consumption. A subsequent meat broker later re-sold some of the pet food beef trimmings to the Federal Bureau of Prisons for human consumption.

There is no evidence that anyone who ate the suspect beef trimmings suffered any ill effects. Thanks to the agreement, the government will not bring any criminal, civil, or administrative action against John Soules Foods Inc., in connection with the allegedly adulterated and/or misbranded meat food products.

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