Feed shipment sent to prison costs company
A Tyler-based meat manufacturer has paid a settlement to the U.S. government after some boxes of their product meant to be sold as animal feed inadvertently wound up at the Federal Bureau of Prisons and consumed by humans, according to a news release from the Eastern District of Texas.
Under the terms of the July agreement, John Soules Foods will pay $392,000 to the U.S. Treasury General Fund to resolve the pending investigation and for the purpose of reimbursing the costs of the investigation.
"The government will not bring any criminal, civil or administrative action against the company in connection with the allegedly adulterated and/or misbranded meat food products," the release stated.
But the company's chief financial officer said in a prepared statement on Tuesday that John Soules Foods sold some boxes of uncooked, frozen beef trimmings to an independent broker in late 2006 and early 2007 who agreed in writing to re-sell the frozen trimmings as pet food.
"Without our knowledge, the independent broker breached his contract by not selling the frozen trimmings as pet food. As a result of the investigation, the independent broker and his company pleaded guilty to federal criminal offenses in connection with the transactions," Phil Holcomb said in the statement.
There is no evidence that anyone who consumed the beef trimmings suffered any ill effects, according to the release from the Eastern District of Texas.
John Soules Foods, founded in 1975, is the leading fajita processing and marketing company in the U.S. and employs about 500 people, according to the prepared statement from Holcomb.
"... We have been deeply committed to assuring the safety and quality of all food products we manufacture, distribute and sell. The health and safety of consumers remain our top priority," Holcomb stated.
Under the terms of the agreement, John Soules Foods, Inc. will adopt additional procedures designed to assure continued compliance with the Federal Meat Inspection Act, and the Poultry Products Inspection Act and will review existing procedures, books and records, and policies to assure such continued compliance, the release from the Eastern District of Texas stated.
This case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of Investigations, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General also investigated the case, according to the press release from the Eastern District of Texas. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble represented the government.