Two cheese companies and an executive from a third company have pleaded guilty to charges relating to the manufacture and sale of adulterated and misbranded Parmesan cheese products. The companies, Universal Cheese & Drying, Inc. and International Packing, LLC, were charged with conspiracy to introduce misbranded cheese products into interstate commerce and to commit money laundering, while Michelle Myrter, an executive at Castle Cheese Co., pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of aiding and abetting the introduction of misbranded cheese.
“The Department of Justice prosecutes people and companies who introduce adulterated or misbranded food into interstate commerce,” U.S. Attorney David Hickton said in a February 26, 2016, press release. “In this case, the fraud was perpetrated on consumers who purchased Parmesan and Romano cheeses that were inferior to what they believed they were buying.” Additional details about the Castle case and the ensuing media attention about the cellulose content in grated cheese appear in Issue 595 of this Update. See Department of Justice Press Release, February 26, 2016.