There will be no punishment for a company that failed to correctly label raw meat intended for dog food, which wound up being served to prison inmates in Texas.
John Soules Foods Inc., which bills itself "America's Leading Fajita Brand" on its website, was the subject of a lengthy, six-year investigation by the USDA. The government ultimately forwent handing down any criminal, civil or administrative consequences, but the company did agree to pay $392,000 in reimbursement to the U.S. Treasury for the cost of the investigation and to conclude it.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, the company had experienced problems getting some of their beef trimmings product to freeze properly:
In order to minimize the risk of any potential problems, John Soules Foods sold some boxes of their beef trimmings to an independent meat broker who agreed to sell the product as pet food. With the understanding that the specified boxes of beef trimmings would be sold as pet food, John Soules Foods did not change the labels on the boxes to reflect the new “pet food” designation. However, the broker 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.
No evidence suggests that any prisoners who ate the meat experienced any ill effects from it. The meat had been sold to the prison and consumer in late 2006 and early 2007.
Courthouse News Service writes that as part of the settlement, John Soules will adopt new procedures to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.
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