Universal Cheese & Drying of Slippery Rock charged with selling imitation cheese as ‘real’
A Slippery Rock cheese manufacturer sold imitation Parmesan and Romano cheese as “real” versions of the same, federal prosecutors claim in three criminal cases filed Tuesday.
Universal Cheese & Drying Inc. and International Packing LLC are charged with conspiring to commit offenses against the United States.
Michelle Myrter, president of Castle Cheese Inc. and a corporate officer in both of the other companies, is charged with the misdemeanor of aiding and abetting the introduction of misbranded and adulterated food into interstate commerce.
Myrter has worked out a plea agreement that involves probation for her and $500,000 in restitution and forfeitures for each of the companies for a total of $1 million, said her attorney, Stephen Stallings.
The companies have fully cooperated with the Food and Drug Administration’s investigation into the mislabeled cheese and have remedied the problems, he said. Myrter is charged under a law that holds corporate officers strictly liable for violations by their companies regardless of whether the officer knew about the violations, he said.
“Ms. Myrter was, unfortunately, the corporate officer at the time of the relevant events, but has not been charged with any felony nor accused of any criminal intent,” he said.
Castle Cheese Inc. is in involuntary Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy, according to bankruptcy court records.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or [email protected].