The owner of a company that supplied meat to popular Southern California grocery stores admitted to selling products that falsely bore the USDA mark, which indicated that federal authorities had inspected them, officials announced on Wednesday.
Commerce-based AA Meat Products Inc. sold meat to Ralphs, Vons, 99 Ranch Market and other chains, according to a 2017 Los Angeles Times profile of the company’s owner, Pat Yan.
Yan and his wife, Lianjie Kitty Jiang, each pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of offering to sell misbranded meat (pork uteri) and poultry products (duck feet), the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said.
Jiang served as the plant manager of the company’s Maywood facility, the agency said.
AA Meat Products Corp., also known as Golden Key Food, Inc., pleaded guilty to a felony offense of offering to sell misbranded meat—specifically beef tripe—with intent to defraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The company falsely branded its products with the USDA mark in 2012, prompting the U.S. Department of Agriculture to seize about 568,000 pounds of meat and poultry, officials said. The agency also issued a recall of another half a million pounds of meat, which were destroyed.
The Class I recall, court documents said, 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 cooperated in the recall, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Yan, 47, and Jiang, 44, both lived in Temple City.
Prosecutors recommended that the company be ordered to pay $1 million in fines with a sentence of five years of probation. They agreed to recommend a $20,000 fine for Yan and a $5,000 fine for Jiang, in addition to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service.
The defendants were scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 17.