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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 20, 2017

Slippery Rock Cheese Companies Sentenced for Selling Adulterated Products

PITTSBURGH - Two companies located in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, have each been sentenced in federal court to 36 months’ probation and have each been ordered to forfeit to the United States $500,000 on the companies’ convictions relating to their introduction of adulterated and misbranded cheese products into interstate commerce, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.

United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak imposed the sentences on Universal Cheese & Drying, Inc. and International Packing, LLC.

According to information presented to the court, the defendants packaged and sold cheese under various labels at the Castle Cheese facility in Slippery Rock, PA. The cheese was distributed through retail, food service, and wholesale customers throughout the United States. The defendants had knowledge of the Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA”) regulations and standards of identity for Parmesan and Romano cheese products and were aware that the products did not conform with FDA standards of identity for real Parmesan and Romano cheese, but represented to customers that the products contained one hundred percent real Parmesan and Romano cheese. The defendants also knew that the cheese products were misbranded because they did not bear labels that accurately reflected the products’ ingredients. The defendants likewise knew that the cheese products were also adulterated in that certain ingredients had been substituted or omitted and other ingredients had been added. The defendants used proceeds from the sale of
the misbranded and adulterated cheese products to continue the operation of the cheese manufacturing and packaging at the Slippery Rock facility.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Hornak stated that the sentences are appropriate under applicable provisions of the Sentencing Reform Act and fulfill the purposes of sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorney Tonya Sulia Goodman prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Acting United States Attorney Song commended the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Universal Cheese & Drying, Inc. and International Packing, LLC.

Updated January 20, 2017