Miller’s Organic Farm and owner Amos Miller have lodged some objections to an order sanctioning it for being in contempt of court. To no one’s surprise, Miller wants to pay less over a longer-term when it comes to fines.
“A $250,000 fine will further complicate Miller’s ability to come into compliance,” Miller’s defense attorney, Steven Lafuente of Dallas, writes. “Defendant suggests a $25,000 fine.”
“Defendant objects to the amount of time within which to reimburse FSIS for enforcement costs,” he continues. Since Miller will need to pay the fine within 30 days, Miller seeks 60 days to reimburse FSIS.
It’s up to federal Judge Edward G. Smith of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to decide if Miller is going to get away with negotiating with the government over the sanctions. The judge has scheduled the issue for a telephonic conference for 10 a.m. on July 19.
Miller owns farming interests in multiple states and controls a buyer’s club for consumers. In his response, Miller goes on the record for some of his business practices. For example, he acknowledges 95 percent of the beef and pork he supplies consumers comes from Miller’s Farm but claims 50 percent of the poultry comes from other farms.
He also explains some of his business practices, including the fact that live chickens are shipped before they are invoiced.
His explanations for his meat busiess are closely followed by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service because Miller’s is the only known source of illegal meat in the United States.
Prosecutors explained is this way: “At the center of this action is defendant Amos Miller, a farm business owner who, by virtue of his singular, historic willingness to flout democratically enacted federal food safety laws of general applicability, was — until enjoined in this action, and according to some of his customers — the only known United States-based source of the sorts of illegal meat and poultry products that those customers have sought to purchase. Unfortunately, Mr. Miller has continued to attempt to supply his customers with such illegal products.”
Miller claims his religion prohibits the use of computers required to create and maintain records required by FSIS. “The implementation of the sort of records sought by FSIS is very difficult for an Amish farmer,” his lawyer says.
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