California residents may have heard about the three cheese companies that have pleaded guilty to misbranding and adulterating their parmesan cheese products. Each faces a $500,000 fine, and an executive of one of the companies could be incarcerated.
The U.S. Department of Justice had previously filed a lawsuit accusing several companies of fraud. While many have denied the allegation, the three companies have entered a guilty plea to the fraud charges. The parties were alleged to have misbranded the cheese content when in fact the products contained up to 10 percent filler such as wood pulp.
The three companies that have admitted to the charges are Universal Cheese & Drying, Inc., International Packing LLC and Castle Cheese Company. In addition to the fines each of the named corporations is faced with, an executive of Castle Cheese Company is facing incarceration.
A Department of Justice representative said that corporations that sell misbranded or adulterated food products to the public face prosecution. In relation to the fraudulent cheese products the companies were selling, consumers were made to believe they were buying genuine Romano and parmesan cheese products when in reality, the products did not match the FDA’s level of quality for unadulterated parmesan cheese.
Allegations of misrepresentation and fraud against a corporation could not only damage a company’s reputation, but can also have a severe financial impact on its future. If a corporation has been named in a lawsuit for selling fraudulent products to the public, it may be in the best interest of the company to retain an attorney experienced in business litigation because these types of suits are generally complex.
Source: The Daily Meal, “Multiple Cheese Companies Plead Guilty to Parmesan Fraud”, Joanna Fantozzi, Feb. 29, 2016