In Rem Lawsuit Filed Against 3,100 Pounds of Meat After Farm Neglects Inspections

The United States filed an Eastern District of Pennsylvania complaint on Monday against about 3,100 pounds of poultry, beef, and hog carcasses and carcass trimmings, including one beef carcass and two beef heads alleging that they did not receive the proper federal inspections and should not be sold to consumers. 

According to the complaint, the meat was in violation of the Poultry Products Inspection Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act. The plaintiff claimed that it is allowed to size and proceed against the meat under these laws. The meat was produced by Miller’s Organic Farm in Pennsylvania, and is reportedly currently detained at the farm by the plaintiff. 

The complaint explained that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Undersecretary for Food Safety administers and enforces the Meat and Poultry Acts, and that the lawsuit was filed on behalf of the department’s Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA FSIS).  The plaintiff asked the court to issue an arrest warrant against the meat so that it can take possession of the products. 

In 2019, the United States filed a lawsuit under the Federal Meat Inspection Act against Miller’s Organic Farm, and the court approved summary judgment in November 2019 against the defendants.  That matter is still ongoing, the court ruled after a hearing on Wednesday that Amos Miller, the owner of the farm, should be held in contempt for not following the court’s orders and continuing to sell illegal meats

The USDA argued in Monday’s complaint that Amos Miller and Miller’s Organic Farm should not be allowed to continue selling meat for human consumption without allowing federal inspections. The plaintiff alleged that the farm needs to comply with requirements for inspection, labeling, sanitation, pathogen testing, and hazard systems. It noted that the court in the other lawsuit enjoined the defendants from selling meat while failing to comply with the requirements. 

The complaint noted that Miller told USDA FSIS investigators on May 25 that they did not have records of purchase or invoices for the livestock, specifically for the carcass associated with one beef head which had “‘probably’ been further processed, cut up, and sold to his customers.” The investigators came back on May 28 to oversee the freezing of the meat which they had possessed and get further information about the meat to see if it contained Specified Risk Materials, and found that they have “reason to believe” that the farm could have prepared and sold meat which was not fit for consumption. 

The United States is represented by its own attorneys and the USDA Office of the General Counsel. Miller’s Organic Farm and Amos Miller are represented in the 2019 lawsuit by The Lafuente Firm.