May 01, 2018

 

 FDA bans feed importer for safety violation, fraud

​Posted April 11, 2018

A Canadian company is barred from exporting animal foods to the U.S. after perpetrating a fraud intended to cover up a shipment of unsafe feed.

The Food and Drug Administration implemented the five-year ban on shipments from Meunerie Sawyerville effective March 1, a Federal Register notice states. The company received $80,000 in fines and a year of probation after pleading guilty in 2015 to two felonies related to false statements on a shipping manifest and importation of an unsafe drug with the intent to defraud and mislead.

A Meunerie Sawyerville truck containing cattle feed crossed into Vermont in September 2012. Sampling at the border showed the feed contained a higher-than-approved concentration of monensin, an antimicrobial, and Customs and Border Protection officials told the driver to store the shipment elsewhere for further tests by the FDA, the notice states.

Company president and owner Yves Bolduc "instructed the driver to deliver the feed to a Vermont farmer as planned, without informing the farmer that the feed had been sampled and ordered held by FDA," the notice states. "Mr. Bolduc then engineered a plan that a sham shipment of similar-looking cattle feed cross the border under false Customs documentation to be stored on an unrelated piece of land in Vermont until requested for redelivery by Customs and Border Protection."

The company created a shipping manifest for a fictional importer, "Ted Taft," for the second truck, the notice states. When federal officials would call for redelivery, the second shipment would be presented as the first.

The FDA proposed the debarment in July 2017. Company officials argued in response that the adulterated feed was no longer a problem because they had stopped mixing monensin into cattle feed, plus no harm occurred, and debarment would hurt Meunerie Sawyerville.

FDA officials countered that company officials failed to address the causes of the crimes and provide assurance against similar conduct. They noted that Bolduc conceived the fraud and remained in charge of the company.

"In addition to adulteration, there are also many other reasons an unscrupulous importer might attempt to deceive Customs," the notice states.