HARTFORD, Conn. – The US Attorney for the District of Connecticut and FSIS Administrator Carmen Rottenberg announced on Aug. 20 that the owner of New England Meat Packing LLC in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, pled guilty to falsifying multiple E. coli test results.
Memet Beqiri pled guilty to one count of making and using a false document and aiding and abetting. The maximum sentence for the crime is five years in prison. He was released on $25,000 with sentencing scheduled for Nov. 12.
USDA approved Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) requires New England Meat Packing (NEMP) to perform one generic E. coli carcass swab for every 300 animals slaughtered along with periodical collection of ground beef samples for E. coli testing.
Between Nov. 3, 2016 and Sept. 9, 2017, the FSIS found that Beqiri authorized preparation and submission of 36 documents related to 52 separate carcass cases and ground beef samples to the company’s Lab Sample Report binder. The documents said that all NEMP’s samples were negative when all of them were fraudulent tests.
While under investigation, Beqiri admitted to the USDA-FSIS that documents were fraudulent and that he did not collect and submit the samples to the certified laboratory.
“After this defendant’s fraudulent conduct was uncovered, he admitted to an investigator that he ignored the USDA’s meat testing requirements because he considered the process to be an inconvenience and a nuisance,” said US Attorney John Durham. “Such reckless conduct seriously endangers public safety and will be prosecuted.”
The government said there were no known instances of illnesses reported by anyone who consumed the meat. The plea agreement does not cover potential civil lawsuits for New England Meat Packing and its failure to test meat.