OMAHA (CN) – Federal prosecutors say a Nebraska meat wholesaler is selling meat without having it inspected. Mark Gies dba Sugar Valley Sausage Co. and Marky’s Meat Market has not had his meat federally inspected since 2006 and is still selling it, according to the federal complaint.
The United States sued Gies and his companies, saying the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that he is “repeatedly exceeding the set dollar limitation for non-household sales since 2006.”
The USDA sets annual limits on how much meat a retailer can sell without federal inspections. The limit was $55,100 in 2006 and increased to $56,900 in 2008.
Gies exceeded the limit by $115,000 in 2006, by $147,000 in 2007, by $205,000 in 2008, and has exceeded the limit by $23,000 this year already, according to the complaint.
“In March, 2007, defendant applied for approval for federal meat inspection, but has failed to complete the steps for such federal meat inspection to begin,” the complaint states. The Department of Agriculture says Gies has not been federally inspected since 2006, and is still selling meat without inspection.
Millions of pounds of meat have been recalled in recent years, including the largest such recall in history, 143 million lbs., in February 2008.
Another 95,000 lbs. was recalled in May this year after reports of E. coli contamination.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths occur each year in the United States from foodborne diseases. The problem has escalated, consumer groups say, in the era of low regulation and reduced budgets for health inspections.
Prosecutors want Gies enjoined from selling meat until complies with federal inspection guidelines.