FSIS food detectives find violations in Amos Miller’s meat and poultry shipments

FSIS food detectives find violations in Amos Miller’s meat and poultry shipments

by Sue Jones
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Amos Miller, the Amish agribusinessman from Bird-in-Hand PA, is due back in federal court today.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) investigators have filed 42 pages of supplemental evidence  that could, after today, leave Miller in a world of hurt.

Specifically, three FSIS investigators support a government motion filed on Nov. 9 that asks the court to impose a permanent injunction on Miller, who may by  then again be found in contempt for violating the court’s orders.

Until he decided to fire his Dallas attorney, Steven LaFuente, and request that he be represented by “an unlicensed, third-part entity espousing sovereign citizen political beliefs.” Miller seemed close to the exit doors in this civil case. LaFuente had persuaded the judge that Miller was close to compliance, and Smith was even holding off on collecting a $250,000 fine imposed on the Amish farmer for the first contempt of court ruling.

Now the worm has turned.

A “purge” of  the $250,000 fine may no longer be on the table and Miller’s sovereign citizens won’t be permitted in court to defend him, and his more recent activities will not likely help his cause.

FSIS Compliance Investigator Paul Flanagan filed a 26-page affidavit documenting meat shipments by Miller and Miller’s Organic Farm that likely don’t pass muster with federal meat and poultry laws. State officials confiscated some shipments, and others lacked any ice or cooling packs

.Flanagan was intercepting meat shipments as recently as during November but did note one in July, on the same date Judge Smith imposed the $250,000 fine.

Director Scott C. Safian, with the Enforcement Operations Staff at FSIS’s Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit (OIEA), said multiple shipments of dairy, cheeses, and meats have been shipped to “Miller’s food club agents.”

At the time of these shipments, Miller had failed to “provide FSIS with subpoenaed and requested records regarding its slaughter, processing, sales, distribution and/or other activities involving meat and poultry.” Four of the six subpoenas remained unanswered as of Dec. 14.

Two of Miller’s food clubs or agents did provide records to FSIS investigators. Many of those orders were for meat and poultry.

Sufian wrote:  “It is my understanding that many, if not all, of the processes necessary to produce these products ( i.e., cooking, smoking, curing ) would require federal inspection if produced by an outside source for Miller’s to resell, or (b)licensing by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services if produced by Miller’s.”

FSIS Compliance Investigator April E. Humbles filed the third affidavit in support of the government’s motion for a permanent injunction against defendants that she said should include “Amos Miller and miller’s Organic Farm, and their agents, employees or assigns, including but not limited to Bird in Hand Meats, Bird in Hand Grass Fed Meats and David Lantz (collectedly Miller’s).”

Humbles detailed her investigation of a North Carolina “drop-off” for Miller’s meat, poultry, meat food, and /or poultry products in commerce…”   Her expertise is in conducting in-person “verification reviews” of meat and poultry facilities regulated by FSIS

FSIS found some Miller shipments that were marked as “Exempt,” but exempted meat and poultry products are prohibited from being distributed in interstate commerce, which Miller was doing, according to the documentation the investigators provided the court.

The new evidence appears to show Miller with continued violations involving the slaughter and sale of meat and poultry that conflict with earlier court orders. The government points to Miller’s most recent behavior as justification for re-activating the $250,000 fine and imposing a $25,000-a-day penalty for each day Miller illegally slaughtered animals for food.

Miller owns farms in at least two states and court documents show he and his wife are the sole owners of the food clubs used for national distribution.

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