FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   CIV
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 1995                                     (202) 616-2765
                                                         TDD (202) 514-1888


     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A federal grand jury in Detroit has
returned a 19-count indictment against the owners and employees
of a honey processing firm today, charging that they blended corn
syrup with some of their honey then sold the mixture as USDA
Grade A, or "pure," honey, the Department of Justice announced
     The scheme enabled Groeb Farms Inc., a firm with plants in
Onsted, Michigan, and Belleview, Florida, to save more than $1
million between 1988 and 1992, according to the indictment
returned Thursday.  Most  of the honey was sold to food product
companies for use as an ingredient in various food products. 
     "In the past the government has won cases against people who
adulterated fruit juices, olive oil, and seafood.  The indictment
today sends a clear message that the government is continuing to
vigorously pursue those who it believes have deliberately
adulterated foods," said Frank Hunger, Assistant Attorney General
in charge of the Civil Division.  
     Brenda J. Holman, Director of the Food and Drug
Administration Detroit's district, said, "Adulterated products
not only cheat consumers, but also undermine fair competition and
impair the integrity of the marketplace."
     Named as defendants in the indictment were the owners of 
Groeb Farms, Ernest L. Groeb Jr., Ernest L. "Ernie Lee" Groeb,
and Troy L. Groeb and two employees, Thomas M. Kalvin and Jeffrey
M. Neely.  In 1990 Groeb called itself "the largest industrial
packager of honey in the US," the indictment said.  
     According to the indictment, the defendants, between 1984
and 1992, falsely labeled as USDA Grade A Honey, and otherwise
falsely represented to be pure honey, Groeb Farms products that
were in fact adulterated.    
     The indictment charged all of the men with conspiring to
commit wire fraud and to violate the Federal Food, Drug, and
Cosmetic Act.  It also charged the Groebs with using interstate
wires to further a scheme to defraud buyers of honey.  
     The Groebs were further charged with shipping adulterated
and misbranded honey in interstate commerce, and giving customers
false guaranties that the company's honey complied with the
requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  The
indictment also charged Kalvin and Neely with one count each of
making false statements to a grand jury.
     If convicted, each of the Groebs could be sentenced to over
65 years imprisonment and fined not more than $4 million.  Kalvin
and Neely each face up to 10 years imprisonment and a $500,000
     The case was investigated by the United States Food and Drug
Administration and is being prosecuted by the Department's Office
of Consumer Litigation.  
     The public is reminded that an indictment is only a charge
and not evidence of guilt.  Despite indictment, every defendant
is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt following a trial at which the defendants have
all of the trial rights guaranteed by the United States
Constitution and federal law.