Guilty pleas lead to January 2021 sentencing date in the ‘Choice’ turned into ‘Prime’ beef scheme

Howard Mora and Alan Buxbaum, co-owners of Stein Meat Products Inc. in Brooklyn, NY, are scheduled to be sentenced next year after recently entering  guilty pleas for a scheme to turn “Choice” beef into “Prime.”

Mora, 68, and Buxbaum, 66, must appear for sentencing at 11 a.m., Jan. 7, 2021, in federal court in Brooklyn before Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto. The judge earlier this week accepted their guilty pleas. 

 Each entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud by using counterfeit U.S. Department of Agriculture stamps to sell misbranded lower quality beef at inflated prices to consumers. At sentencing, each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison and criminal forfeiture of $250,000.

Mora and Buxbaum were originally indicted by a grand jury in September 2019. The defendants were both released on $250,000 appearance bonds with some restrictions on their travel. Judge Matsumoto granted most Read more

FDA action on ‘high risk’ foods settles lawsuit brought by Center for Food Safety

When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this week issued a proposed rule naming certain high-risk foods, it also settled a 2018 lawsuit with the Center for Food Safety that requires FDA to meet deadlines and reporting requirements as mandated by the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

FDA’s proposed rule establishing additional traceability record keeping requirements for certain high-risk foods such as leafy greens, freshcut fruits and vegetables, some types of fish, shell eggs, nut butter and others was accepted by CFS as settlement. 

“We are pleased FDA has now released this important rule, as required by the Court order and settlement in our litigation to compel compliance with FSMA,”said Ryan Talbott, CFS staff attorney. “It should not have taken litigation for FDA to publish this proposed rule but now that it is out, we will be analyzing the merits of the proposal closely and continue to … Read more

Letter from the Editor: Kiecker speaks out after rising to the top as FSIS Administrator

Opinion

The Meat & Poultry Daily News recently did a question and answer session with Paul Kiecker, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator since last March 12.  It’s worth reading in its entirety at M&P,  and I am going to steal some quotes here.

Kiecker certainly deserves the attention for rising to the top of one of these civil agencies as it is no small feat.

I lived in a Seattle suburb for several years where our mayor was the retired top administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He was my all-time favorite as a mayor because he feared nothing, supported his department heads, and made timely decisions.

At its core, the federal civil service is supposed to reward and promote based on merit. Those who rise to the top should be the “best of the best.” And the system produces some really interesting people.   

We saw that … Read more

FDA floats rule for tracing records on some foods, from some sources, some of the time

The FDA continues to chase a paperless paper trail with the announcement of a proposed food traceability rule. The agency will be taking comments on the proposal for two months.

The proposal is tentatively set to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. Comments will be accepted for 60 days after publication. Click here for directions on how to comment.

One part of the food industry that’s been in the outbreak hot seat in recent years was quick to respond to the Food and Drug Administration’s rulemaking announcement. Officials with the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) issued a “been there, doing that” statement just hours after the FDA announcement Monday.

“This has been part of the LGMA requirements since the organization was formed in 2007,” according to a statement from the voluntary industry group. “It appears the members of the LGMA in California and Arizona are already in … Read more

USDA food safety agencies announces plan to reduce Salmonella

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Food Safety (OFS) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has a plan to decrease Salmonella, one of the leading causes of foodborne illnesses.

The Roadmap to Reducing Salmonella: Driving Change through Science-Based Policy outlines programs and policies that are science based, data driven, and promote innovation to reduce Salmonella in meat, poultry, and egg products.

“This roadmap represents FSIS’s commitment to lead with science and data in all that we do. It puts us on a course to aggressively target Salmonella and other foodborne pathogens,” said USDA’s Under Secretary for Food Safety Mindy Brashears. “I look forward to a continued partnership with the food safety community in driving a science-based approach to protecting public health.”

OFS and FSIS will discuss the Salmonella roadmap at a virtual public meeting next week. Also scheduled to participate  in the meeting are the … Read more