Four people have been indicted for practices which federal authorities say endangered public safety.
The indictment issued yesterday alleges that owners, operators, and employees of certain cheese companies were purposely selling a cheese product that failed to meet the standards of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The four people are being accused of taking cheese returned by customers because of the presence of mold and then washing off the visible traces of mold before reselling it to other consumers. Tests of the cheese allegedly proved the presence of E. coli and salmonella, as well as other bacteria.
The persons indicted are facing conspiracy charges and committing violations against food safety law. The moldy and fungal cheese was distributed under the name Queso Cincho de Guerrero. This cheese was imported by a company based out of Illinois and then distributed across the country by a Wisconsin company. Each of those companies is owned by one of the indicted parties.
The cheese, which came in 35 and 40 pound wheels, was recalled in 2007. Until that point, it had been available for purchase in Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, Texas, and Indiana. Although 110,000 pounds of the compromised cheese was shipped across the country in 2007, the indictment doesn’t reference any reports of people becoming ill.
As a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles, I’m used to seeing recalls that come about because of a simple error, but if these charges are proven true, then it demonstrates a certain willingness to purposely imperil public safety. I hope as a Riverside personal injury attorney that no other companies out there are utilizing these kinds of business practices.