Trial postponed for talks over federal meat act felonies
USDA’s Quarterly Enforcement Report showed a criminal felony indictment headed for trial in June, but talks are delaying that.
A grand jury indicted Michael and Joel Quattrucci and Rhode Island Beef and Veal, Johnston, RI, Oct. 30, 2020.
Charges against the Rhode Island men and their company involve fraud for using the official mark of inspection on beef without authorization of the Secretary of Agriculture. They also knowingly represented beef as inspected and passed under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, when it was not. Finally, they were defrauding a customer with beef that was supposed to be capable of use as food but it did not comply with the Federal Meat Inspection Act.
The June trial, however, was called off earlier this week. “The Defendants, Rhode Island Beef and Veal Inc., Joel Quattrucci, and Michael Quattrucci, through their counsel, now move to continue the trial calendar call on this matter for sixty (60) days. The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island has consented to this motion,” the defense motion said.
“Counsel can report to the Court that the parties have entered into substantive discussions to resolve this matter, and counsel is also conferring with representatives of the Department of Agriculture to resolve pending administrative issues relevant to the case hopefully.”
Michael Quattrucci is president and treasurer of Rhode Island Beef and Veal Inc. Joel Quattrucci is the corporation’s vice president and secretary. Federal Judge Mary S. McElroy is assigned to hear the case.
USDA’s Quarterly Enforcement Report does not contain any other criminal activity. Little Falls, NJ-based Rainbow Food Group Inc. and its president Robert Kalkan are the subjects of a civil complaint filed in April.
The complaint in U.S. District Court for New Jersey seeks a permanent injunction against Kalkan to prevent him from future violations of the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act. The complaint alleges that the firm caused meat and poultry products to become misbranded, offered for sale and transportation and sold misbranded and non-federally inspected meat and poultry products and failed to maintain required records.
USDA’s Quarterly Inspection Report is for the second three-month period of the federal fiscal year, Jan. 1 to March 31, 2021. Enforcement for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service begins in the federally regulated establishments where personnel are assigned to provide continuous inspections.
“Each time inspection program personnel make a noncompliance determination, they complete a Noncompliance Record (NR). An NR is a written record that documents the noncompliance with FSIS regulations,” according to the report.
“An NR notifies the establishment that there is noncompliance and that they should take action to remedy the situation and prevent its recurrence. NRs reflect various determinations, ranging from non-food safety issues to severe breakdowns in food safety controls.
Noncompliance that occurs repeatedly resulting in contaminated product may result in withdrawal of inspection services.
For the second period, FSIS documented 23 212 events of noncompliance. FSIS inspection personnel verified 1,798,737 procedures were correctly performed, for a 98.7 compliance rate.
Administrative appeals of noncompliance are allowed. During the second period, noncompliance findings were appealed in 353 cases. Appeals were granted in 75 cases and denied in 115. In 75, the appeal was settled by FSIS with modifications. And 98 were pending at the end of the period.
Livestock and poultry slaughter continued at fairly high levels. Livestock slaughter was just under 42 million, slightly off from the 43,3 million head slaughtered during the first period. And the 2.370 billion birds slaughtered during the second period were almost identical to the 2.36 billion produced during the first period.
FSIS took administrative action against only 11 “large establishments” during the second period. Swiftpork Company in Ottumwa, IA, was twice cited for inhumane treatment. Smithfield Fresh Meats at Smithfield, VA, faced a suspension for violating regulatory controls.
PPL Food in Augusta, GA, JBS in Souderton, PA, and Smithfield Fresh Meat Corp. in Milan, MO, also faced inhumane treatment violations. Various sanitation violations made up the remainder of the large plant violations.
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