U.S. Obtains Court-ordered Relief Against Queens Slaughterhouse Selling Uninspected Poultry to the Public
Court-Approved Decree Establishes Safeguards To Protect The Public From Purchasing Poultry Products That Have Not Been Properly Inspected And Approved
Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, today announced that the United States has entered into a Consent Judgment and Decree with a poultry slaughterhouse, 44th Avenue Halal Poultry Corporation (“44th Avenue”), and its President, Hakim Abdul Mazumder. The Consent Decree permanently enjoins 44th Avenue and Mazumder from selling uninspected poultry to the general public, and provides for a series of penalties, including escalating monetary fines, if 44th Avenue engages in additional violations of the Poultry Products Inspection Act (“PPIA”). The Consent Decree was approved by United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.
The government’s claims arose from an investigation conducted by the Food and Safety Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. This investigation revealed that 44th Avenue and Mazumder, who operate under an exemption to the PPIA which allows them to sell uninspected poultry products to individuals for consumption in their own home, repeatedly violated the company’s exempt status by diverting thousands of pounds of uninspected poultry to grocery and other retail stores for direct sale to the general public. By so doing, they completely bypassed the required USDA inspections for poultry sold to the general public. Despite repeated warnings, the defendants persisted in these illegal sales of uninspected poultry, exposing the general public to risk. The government began proceedings against the defendants with the filing of a suit alleging violations of the PPIA. On September 27, 2011, the court granted the government’s motion for a preliminary injunction enjoining the defendants from distributing uninspected poultry or poultry products to the general public, or from otherwise violating PPIA. The litigation culminated with Judge Garaufis’s entry of the Consent Decree.
“Our food inspection system exists to protect the public from products that may endanger them. The defendants flouted vital USDA inspection procedures and placed uninspected poultry directly into grocery and other retail stores, despite repeated warnings. By their actions, they placed their economic interests ahead of public health and safety. This behavior will not be tolerated. With the successful resolution of this matter, a significant health risk to the public has been remedied,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We are committed to working with the United States Department of Agriculture to ensure that all meat and poultry products sold to the general public are properly inspected and are safe for consumption.” Ms. Lynch thanked the Evaluation and Enforcement Division of the United States Department of Agriculture for its investigative work, as well USDA’s Office of General Counsel for its assistance throughout the case.
“FSIS is dedicated to protecting the public heath, and ensuring that meat and poultry products are safe, wholesome and accurately labeled,” said Scott C. Safian, Director of the Evaluation and Enforcement Division of the United States Department of Agriculture.
The government’s case was litigated by Assistant United States Attorney David M. Eskew.
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