Pet Food Business Owners Plea to FDC Act Misdemeanors in Connection with Pet Food ScandalJune 17, 2009
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri announced three guilty pleas to misdemeanor violations of the FDC Act in connection with the "nationwide recall of pet food and the death and serious illness of countless pets across the United States in 2007."
Sally and Stephen Miller – husband and wife and the owners of ChemNutra Inc. – and ChemNutra itself each pled guilty to 2 misdemeanor counts "one count of selling adulterated food and one count of selling misbranded food."
Given the defendants' alleged role in this high profile case and the public outrage associated with the widespread death of pets, it seems a pretty safe bet that the U.S. Attorney's Office concluded that there was not evidence against these defendants of intent to defraud and mislead the public or the FDA, which would have made these offenses felonies. Assuming that there was no such evidence in this case, it is a reminder to all "responsible corporate agents" that the FDC Act imposes strict liability criminal penalties under U.S. v. Park, 421 U.S. 658 (1975).