The owner of Lebanon Cheese Company, who knowingly purchased condemned milk and used it to make cheese which was sold to a food market in Wyomissing Pa., has been ordered to serve four years probation and pay a $10,000 fine. The company has also been ordered to pay a fine of $200,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Joseph G. Lotito, of Annandale,NJ, and Lebanon Cheese pleaded guilty to the interstate shipment of adulterated ricotta cheese, a violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, on May 31, 2012 and were sentenced July 31, 2012. From 2008 through July 2009, Lebanon Cheese purchased for a reduced price at least 20 loads of condemned milk from D.A. Landis Trucking, Inc. and used it to make cheese which it later sold.
D.A. Landis Trucking and its owner Dean Landis were charged separately. Landis pleaded guilty to falsifying driver logbooks and was sentenced to probation and fined. During 2008 and 2009, D.A. Landis Trucking hauled milk from about 700 dairy farms in southeastern Pennsylvania. Upon arrival at dairy processing centers, at least 20 of these loads tested positive for antibiotics, were condemned and ordered by the processor to be destroyed, according to court documents.
But rather than dumping the milk in a local farmer’s manure pit as instructed, the drivers for D.H. Landis drove the condemned loads back to D.H. Landis where they were pumped into another truck. The loads of condemned milk were then delivered to Lotito at Lebanon Cheese who paid the drivers in cash $4 per 100 pounds rather than the going rate which ranged between $12 and $23 per 100 pounds. According to the University of MInnesota Extension, milk trucks hold between 4,000 and 8,000 gallons. A gallon of milk weighs between 8.5 and 8.8 lbs, which means getting someone to sell you a truckload of condemned milk costs $1,400 – $2,800 per load.