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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Cheese and Dairy Importers face criminal charges

According to AP, a Miami couple and their company face federal charges of importing cheese and other dairy products into the U.S. that were contaminated with Salmonella and other bacteria.

jail.JPGFederal prosecutors say 41-year-old Yuri Izurieta and 46-year-old Anneri Izurieta are charged with smuggling and conspiracy. Their company Naver Trading Corp. was also charged.

An indictment says the couple knew they couldn’t sell dairy products under a Food and Drug Administration probe was completed, but did so anyway. Prosecutors say they knowingly sold cheese contaminated with E. coli, Salmonella and other harmful bacteria.  There’s no indication anyone was sickened.

An attorney for the couple says Anneri Izurieta has pleaded not guilty, but her husband has not yet entered a plea. 

Chapter III of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act addresses prohibited acts, subjecting violators to both civil and criminal liability. Provisions for criminal sanctions are clear:

Felony violations include adulterating or misbranding a food, drug, or device, and putting an adulterated or misbranded food, drug, or device into interstate commerce. Any person who commits a prohibited act violates the FDCA. A person committing a prohibited act “with the intent to defraud or mislead” is guilty of a felony punishable by not more than three years or fined not more than $10,000 or both.

My guess is if they face jail time they will not be staying at the hotel I am in here in Istanbul.  It was renovated from a notorious jail into a 5 Star Hotel.  See incription from an inmate in photo above.

  • Bill Anderson

    So when is the FDA going to lift its ban on French raw milk cheeses? Is America too good for Brie de Meaux or Camembert de Normandie? Both have stellar safety records, yet because they are not aged 60 days the FDA will not allow them into the country. It hasn’t stopped importers from sneaking them in anyways since there is such a demand for them… perhaps we’d be better off making and regulating those varieties of cheese domestically, so we can verify they are being produced under hygenic conditions?
    Don’t count on the FDA to change its stance… they are controlled by big agribusiness corporations.

  • “If there was a food-safety Zodiac, 2010 would have been the year of the cheese,” Marler said. – http://bit.ly/gMnbyo

  • Gabrielle Meunier

    Senator Leahy’s legislation will make this Felony a 10 year punishment instead of a slap on the hand 3 year. If food sellers and manufacturers are to take food safety laws seriously, they have to be enforced seriously.

  • Dog Doctor

    Mr.Anderson, I thought you had turn over a new leaf with your comments elsewhere on politics in Wisconsin which were surprisedly sound and I thought we had a point of agreement. But you are back here raving about raw milk cheese again. If you were research the Europeans have had their fair share of cheese related outbreaks. see the following articles.
    Human Listeriosis Outbreaks Linked to Dairy Products in Europe in the J. Dairy Sci. 87:(E. Suppl.):E6–E11
    Raw milk cheeses and salmonella BMJ 1996; 312 : 67 (Published 13 January 1996)
    An outbreak of Salmonella dublin infection in England and Wales associated with a soft unpasteurized cows’ milk cheese
    Epidemiol. Infect. (1992), 109, 389-396
    A community–wide outbreak of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium infection associated with eating a raw milk soft cheese in France.
    Epidemiol. Infect. (2000), 124, 1±7.
    Pathogens in cheese
    Increasing incidence of listeriosis in France and other European countries
    Emerg Infect Dis. 2008 May; 14(5): 734–740.
    I could go on all day with Peer Review Journal articles about outbreaks in Europe or in most places in the world even where they don’t have large operations but all the small herds and small producers that you think will solve the problem.
    I will debate you on making cheese but from your writings it is clear that you have never completed a college level microbiology course and have no medical training what so ever. Raw milk cheese may taste wonder to you, I know people who think cigars are wonderful as well and worth literally dieing for but I have wonder if it is worth the risk for most people. Also there have been several open hearing on the matter as I have pointed out to you. Input was recieved by from all sides including the cheese makers but also the people who back ill and lost parents and unborn children.
    Mr. Anderson, have you ever had to tell some one that their love one has passed on? Especially from a preventive cause? Think about that before you jump and say raw milk is safe and tell me what you will say to the parent? Who’s child has died or needs a kidney transplant.

  • Dog Doctor

    a few corrections to my last post. It was too late when I wrote.
    Mr. Anderson, you apparently have made a career of making cheese so I will not debate on how to make a cheese. But I do wonder about your knowledge of microbiology.