LOS ANGELES – A meat processor that supplied Southern California grocery chains, the company's owner and a plant manager have pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the sale of “misbranded” beef, pork and poultry products that illegally bore the official USDA mark and falsely indicated the meats had been inspected by federal authorities.
As a result of the illegal conduct related to a facility operated by AA Meat Products in the City of Commerce, investigators with the United States Department of Agriculture seized approximately 568,000 pounds of meat and poultry products, and the USDA issued a Class I recall led to the recovery of another nearly one-half million pounds of meat – all of which had to be destroyed. A Class I recall, according to court documents, is based on a “health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences, or death.” AA Meat voluntarily participated in the massive Class I recall to protect public safety.
AA Meat operated a processing facility in Maywood, which was operating under a USDA grant of inspection, where the meat and poultry food products were properly federally inspected, as well as a second facility in Commerce, which was not. The illegal conduct in this case occurred in 2012 when AA Meat misbranded its meat and poultry food products and intended to defraud its customers by falsely claiming that meat processed at its Commerce facility had been federally inspected.
The three defendants who pleaded guilty Tuesday in United States District Court are:
- Golden Key Food, Inc., operating under the business name of AA Meat Products Corp., which pleaded guilty to a felony offense of offering to sell misbranded meat, specifically beef tripe, with the intent to defraud;
- Bai Zhi Yan, who is also known as Pat Yan, 47, of Temple City, the owner of AA Meat, who pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of offering to sell misbranded meat (pork uteri) and poultry products (duck feet); and
- Yan's wife, Lianjie Kitty Jiang, 44, also of Temple City, the plant manager at AA Meat's Maywood facility, who pleaded guilty to the same counts as her husband.
The defendants admitted in court documents that the Commerce facility was not operating under a USDA grant of inspection, and they were preparing and selling millions of pounds of misbranded and uninspected meat and poultry food products.
All three defendants pleaded guilty before United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner, who ordered the defendants to appear for sentencing on September 17.
Prosecutors have agreed to recommend that AA Meat be sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $1 million fine. The company has agreed to be subject to a food safety compliance plan. As for Yan and Jiang, prosecutors will recommend a sentence of two years of probation and 100 hours of community service, as well as a $20,000 fine for Jiang and a $5,000 fine for Yan.
This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture's Office of the Inspector General (USDA-OIG) and the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda M. Bettinelli of the Environmental and Community Safety Crimes Section.
Component(s): USAO – California, Central
Contact: Thom Mrozek Spokesperson/Public Affairs Officer United States Attorney's Office Central District of California (Los Angeles) 213-894-6947
Press Release Number: 18-123 Updated August 1, 2018
Southern District of California DOJ / 18-123 / August 1, 2018