July 14, 2024

Owner of New England Meat Packing Admits Fabricating E. coli Results

According to the Justice Department, Memet Beqiri, also known as Matt Beqiri, pleaded guilty today in a Hartford federal court to falsifying E. coli test results for his business, New England Meat Packing, LLC. That company is located in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Mr. Beqiri waived his right to be indicted.

New England Meat Packing Admits Fabricating E. coli Results

According to the USDA’s approved Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan for New England Meat Packing, the company must perform one generic E. coli carcass test for every 300 animals slaughtered. They must also periodically collect ground beef samples for E. coli testing.

Between November 3, 2016 and September 9, 2017, Beqiri authorized the preparation and submission in the company’s Lab Sample Report binder 36 documents relating to 52 separate carcass swabs and ground beef samples. The document stated that the required E. coli testing had been conducted and completed, and that all samples tested negative for E. coli.

In fact, none of the 52 carcass swabs and samples had been submitted or tested by the laboratory identified in the report, or any other laboratory. The 36 documents were fraudulently prepared using lab letterhead obtained from previous testing conducted with that lab.

Beqiri admitted to a USDA FSIS investigator that the documents were fraudulent, and that his business didn’t collect and submit the samples because “he did not correlate the potential impact on food safety with his sampling program and wanted to create the appearance he was compliant with all USDA HACCP testing requirements.”

There have been no known illnesses reported by anyone who ate the meat in any of the states where it was sold.

U.S. Attorney John Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, said in a statement, “After this defendant’s fraudulent conduct was uncovered, he admitted to an investigator that he ignored the USDA’s meat testing requirements because he considered the process to be an inconvenience and a nuisance. Such reckless conduct seriously endangers public safety and will be prosecuted.”

Beqiri pleaded guilty to one count of making and using a false document and aiding and abetting. This charge carries a maximum term of 5 years imprisonment. He will be sentenced on November 12, 2019.

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