Fast-breaks during pre-trial period leave a lot to follow in Kruse case

It’s early in the pre-trial stage for the second attempt to prosecute former Blue Bell Creamries boss Paul Kruse, but the pace is like a fast-starting NBA game. He stands accused — again — of conspiracy and fraud. One motion to dismiss is already pending and another challenges the fitness of the Grand Jury that indicted Kruse.

As expected, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed its written arguments opposing the defense motion to dismiss the indictment as barred by the statute of limitations.

The defense first got the charges against Kruse dismissed on July 15, 2020, because they were brought by information, not by a Grand Jury indictment. The government says it was within the statute of limitations when first filed on May 1, 2020.

Dismissal, according to DOJ, “triggered a six-month statutory tolling period. A grand jury returned an indictment on the same seven felony counts on … Read more

FSIS Quarterly Enforcement Report cites criminal actions related to food safety

Criminal convictions top the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS’s) final quarterly enforcement report for 2020.

Flavor Trade LLC and owner Shannon Kimball, of Kansas City, MO,; and, New England Meat Packing LLC, and HAACP manager Debbie Smith, and president Memet Beqiri of Stafford Springs, CT, entered guilty pleas.

Flavor Trade and Kimball pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri for the sale of uninspected meat and misuse of an official device. The court imposed a three-year probation with an order to pay restitution of $33,053.86 to victims.

Smith and Beqiri are awaiting sentencing by U.S. District Court for Connecticut after each pleads guilty to one felony count of making and using a false document and aiding and abetting.

The FSIS quarterly enforcement report is for the three-month period ending Sept. 30, the final date of the federal fiscal year (FY). In … Read more

GAO delivers 3 recommendations to make CDC better

Steve D. Morris is a name many may not recognize, yet he is a major national food safety decision maker. And he just writes letters with many of them addressed to Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who is more engaged on food safety than anyone else in Congress.

Steve Morris, GAO
Morris is director of Natural Resources and Environment at the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). When Congress wants information on food safety, the job of investigating to find answers usually goes to Morris.

And he’s usually writing to DeLauro because the Connecticut Democrat is one of the most senior members of House. She chairs the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

His latest letter to DeLauro is part of a 60-page GAO report on how the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could “further strengthen its efforts to identify and respond to foodborne … Read more

Report on food controls in Catalonia details non-compliances

Authorities in Catalonia have published details of official controls on food quality and food fraud during 2019.

The Government of Catalonia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Food in Spain conducted more than 900 inspections in 133 companies this past year. Most inspected firms were in the meat products sector, followed by wine producers as well as processed meat and fishery product companies.

Types of control related to traceability and labeling, processes, and checking product quality and authenticity. Officials checked 438 labels of 114 products and found 341 of them to be non-compliant. Operators inspected pose a medium or high risk of infractions so figures do not reflect the overall industry situation, according to officials.

The action involved more than 250 exploratory controls, mostly in meat but also for wine, processed meals and flour, cereals, and other products. These controls provide information to assess the risk in companies.

Results of Read more

FDA policy change on retail lists takes final step

The FDA is out with “final guidance” for industry and agency staff for the release of retailers that receive recalled foods so they might be more easily identified by consumers.

Current FDA policy prohibits the release of such retailer lists to protect the disclosure of “confidential” business ties.    USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) routinely releases retail lists and has done so since 2007 when Dr. Richard Raymond was Under Secretary for Food Safety during the Bush Administration. 

FDA Friday announced  the availability of  final guidance  entitled “Public Availability of Lists of Retail Consignees to Effectuate Certain Human and Animal Food Recalls; Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff.” 

FDA says it intends to focus on recalls where there is a reasonable probability that the use of, or exposure to, the food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals (Class I recalls), 

FDA may also … Read more