A grand jury indicted an 80-year-old Washington girl and her since-shuttered firm Thursday for allegedly making and promoting rotten and tainted fruit juice merchandise.
The girl, Mary Ann Bliesner, and her firm, Valley Processing Inc. (VPI), allegedly conspired to distribute “tainted and probably unsafe” juice focus merchandise, in response to a Division of Justice (DOJ) press launch.
She now faces 12 felony counts of fraud, conspiracy, false statements and violating the Meals, Drug and Beauty Act.
The juice merchandise contained “probably dangerous ranges” of contaminants like arsenic and had been made below “insanitary situations,” the DOJ alleged in its launch.
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Bliesner and her firm allegedly offered juice merchandise in some situations that had been saved exterior for years, a few of which the indictment mentioned had been later offered to clients that provided the Nationwide Faculty Lunch Program, in response to the DOJ launch. The Nationwide Faculty Lunch Program supplies low-cost or free lunches to schoolchildren.
The indictment additionally accused Bliesner and VPI of mendacity to Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors about two services that the corporate used to retailer juice merchandise however didn’t register, in response to the DOJ.
Samples taken at a kind of services indicated juice product had been contaminated with animal feces, bugs, mould, yeast and different contaminants, the usAttorney’s Workplace for the Jap District of Washington alleged in one other press launch.
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Thursday’s fees come after the federal authorities filed a civil criticism in November 2020 to cease Bliesner and her firm from producing, storing or promoting juice merchandise.
In the identical month, lawyer Lillian Hardy mentioned VPI, which she was representing, had stopped working and liquidated its property, in response to The Related Press. The allegations made within the federal lawsuit towards Bliesner and her firm had been incorrect and lacked context, Hardy reportedly argued on the time.
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Bliesner and VPI agreed in early 2021 to a consent injunction requested by the federal government saying they’d stopped making, holding or distributing any meals varieties and wouldn’t achieve this sooner or later with out FDA approval, in response to the DOJ’s launch.
Bliesner faces as much as 20 years of jail time if convicted of the fees, whereas VPI faces doable fines of $500,000 or extra for every cost. Her first courtroom look scheduled for Oct. 5.