Federal Judge Edward G. Smith today signed a 39-page order imposing sanctions on Amos Miller and Miller’s Organic Farm, including a $250,000 fine and other penalties.
“In order to effect defendants’ future compliance, by making them aware of the seriousness of their violations and the consequences for future violations, defendants are ordered to pay to the United States, within 30 days of the date of entry of this Order — and pursuant to written instructions that the United States will provide to defendants—a fine of $250,000, or face further monetary and other penalties, possibly including imprisonment of Amos Miller,” the order says.
Smith also ordered Miller to reimburse USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) for its enforcement costs, totaling $14,436.26 Miller has 60 days to make the reimbursement.
Further, Miller and Miller’s Organic Farm are ordered not to slaughter any amenable animals in violation of the order or a $25,000 per day fine will be immediately imposed by the court.
Miller is also to “cease and desist all amenable meat and poultry-related retail operations, except to liquidate existing inventories unless and until Miller’s can demonstrate compliance with federal and Commonwealth laws.
“For each day that Miller’s conducts such retail operations in violation of law, and without a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania license, defendants shall be ordered to pay a fine of $1,500,” the order continues.
With 14 days, Miller must also place statements pre-approved by FSIS on his websites “explaining to (his) members and customers that:
(a) the Court has ruled that Miller’s has violated the Court’s Injunction Order and Consent Decree.
“For each day after fourteen days following the entry date of this Order — and until FSIS verifies that Miller’s has liquidated its existing inventory of amenable products — that such a statement does not appear on Miller’s websites, its associates’ websites, and Miller’s Facebook page, defendants shall be ordered to pay a fine of $1,500,” the order adds.
The Court on June 16, 2021, found Miller in contempt of the Injunction Order and Consent Decree following an in-person show cause hearing. Miller was shown to have “had knowledge of those orders and their contents,” and that he disobeyed the orders.
The current action against Miller goes back five years when FSIS asked the Court to enforce a USDA subpoena was brought against Miller for his denial of access to his records and his meat and poultry facilities.
Later, in two 2017 letters, FSIS warned Miller and Miller’s Organic Farm that they were still violating federal inspection, labeling, and FSIS right-of-access requirements in the Federal Meat Inspection Act.
With a 2019 Injunction Order, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of the United States and entered the requested permanent injunctive relief, enjoining defendants from committing continuing violations of the Acts.
Among the Court’s findings were these:
(a) Amos Miller and his wife owned and operated Miller’s, an unincorporated business located at 648 Mill Creek School Road, Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania;
(b) at its farm site, Miller’s had been slaughtering livestock or poultry, and then preparing, processing, storing, and/or distributing meat, meat food products, and poultry products;
(c) Miller’s sold its meat, meat food products, and poultry products that are subject to the Acts (known as “amenable products”) for commercial purposes and for human consumption to consumers in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States;
(d) federal inspection is required at such an establishment that slaughters livestock or poultry, and then prepares or processes amenable meat, meat food products, or poultry products that are capable of use as human food for interstate or foreign commerce, unless the establishment qualifies for an exemption from federal inspection;
(e) Miller’s had been operating its meat and poultry business without a USDA-FSIS Federal Grant of Inspection and (with rare exception) without taking its livestock and poultry for slaughter and processing to any federally inspected facility; and
(f) defendants had not yet changed Miller’s business model to attempt to qualify for an exemption from federal inspection under the Acts for any part of their operations.
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