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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Criminal Indictments in Food Cases – “Rare as Hen’s Teeth”

Well, if asked that’s what I would have said.

hens_teeth.jpgMatt Campbell of the Kansas City Star reported this morning that two executives of now bankrupt, Hitchin Post Steak Co., were indicted Wednesday on charges of selling misbranded and adulterated poultry products across the country.

Craig Cunningham and Jason Cunningham indictment alleges incidents between March and December 2008 involving nearly 400,000 pounds of poultry products, including split broiler chickens, chicken leg quarters and whole chicken wings. The indictment says the two conspired to sell adulterated poultry products, meaning they were “unsound, unhealthful, unwholesome or otherwise unfit for human food” or were prepared under unsanitary conditions. Products were misbranded because they allegedly were processed outside the approved hours of USDA inspection. The two are also charged with unlawful use of a USDA inspection mark.

Conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Selling adulterated poultry products carries a maximum penalty of three years and a $250,000 fine. Unauthorized use of an inspection mark carries a maximum penalty of one year and a fine of $100,000.

Like I would have said – “rare as hen’s teeth.” One only needs to think about Peanut Corporation of America Salmonella Peanut Butter, Wright County Salmonella Eggs and the more recent Jensen Farms Cantaloupe Listeria to see that indictments are that rare.

  • Paul F Schwarz

    How can we, the people, make this happen? I really would like to know?

  • Lewis Kimble

    It starts with the expectation that the local public enforcement agencies in a count Environmental Health agency starts to write citations for violations of their state’s Health and Safety Codes.
    An example each food facility violation in California is a misdemeanor that can be cited, and a fine imposed.
    I agree it is time that we the people begin this type of approach of enforcement following inspections. The question is will we be supported, or torched for our perfectly legal approach to dealing with violations of food laws.

  • kerwin abels

    I beleive this company caused my gullian barre