Letter from the Editor: The actual Amos Miller faces some meals security justice

 Opinion

USDA’s Meals Security and Inspection Service typically profiles its workers on the job to assist the general public perceive the company’s complicated mission. Two FSIS workers who advantage profiles are Paul Flanagan and Scott C. Safian.

They’re each officers with the FSIS Workplace of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit (OIEA). They’ve what stands out as the most flustrating meals security jobs in America — bringing Amos Miller and Miller’s Natural Farm into compliance with the meals security legal guidelines and the meals security laws of America.

The actual Amos Miller has lastly come to gentle due to the work of Flanagan and Safian.

In late June, Miller was present in Contempt of the Courtroom for violating an April 2020 Consent Decree, and the Courtroom’s November 2019 Injunction.

And Decide Edward G. Smith isn’t permitting Miller to disregard this Courtroom’s order. Miller is up in opposition to a 30-day deadline to pay a $250,000 fantastic for contempt and to reimburse $14,436.26 to FSIS for the current investigative work by Flanagan and Safian.  If he ignores this court docket order, as he has so typically previously, a keep on the Greybar Resort aka jail will probably be in Miller’s near-term future.

When all this started someday earlier than 2016, Miller, by some meals freedom activists, was mentioned to be only a easy Amish farmer defending the faith’s butchering strategies. That was an insult to Amish farmers who do adjust to USDA laws.

Courtroom actions through the previous six years or extra have proven there’s nothing easy about Amos Miller and his funds.

Miller’s Natural Farm is Miller’s “alter ego” and information its tax returns below Miller’s identify, based on the lengthy factual report that’s been put collectively by the FSIS investigators.

Miller’s “personal membership affiliation” is a purchaser’s membership whose members don’t share within the farm’s earnings or have voting rights in selections concerning the farm’s enterprise and that:

  • has a decision-making “board” comprising solely Miller and his spouse;
  •  situations membership solely on a person’s signing a membership contract and paying a small one-time price; and
  • doesn’t display members for his or her views or beliefs.

At the very least till the Injunction Order, Miller’s offered its meat and poultry merchandise solely to Miller’s personal membership affiliation members, together with to meals Cooperatives that participated or have been in any other case members in Miller’s personal membership affiliation.

Miller’s fulfilled phone, e-mail, fax, and web orders by itself transporting—or by arranging supply providers to move—bought merchandise.

As an alternative, the farming operation that Miller runs from Chicken-in-Hand, PA, is proven to be “important and interstate” with interstate gross sales of meat, poultry, and different meals merchandise.

“Along with his authentic Chicken-in-Hand, PA, farm, Mr. Miller owns an adjoining farm that he bought for $1.45 million in September 2020, through the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Miller testified that he financed $1.4 million of the acquisition worth. He thus apparently put down $500,000 on the time of buy final 12 months,” based on court docket paperwork.

Additionally disclosed is Miller’s 50 % co-ownership of Burke’s Backyard Farms in Tazewell, VA. He bought possession of the Virginia farm in 2015 for $2.5 million.

Miller has a $200,000 line of credit score and is presently making “important capital enhancements” on the Chicken-In-Hand farm, together with a big constructing to accommodate his daughters’ upcoming weddings. Miller testified constructing for the weddings will value $100,000 to $200,000.

The injunction from the Division of Justice (DOJ) discovered:

  • Amos Miller and his spouse owned and operated Miller’s, an unincorporated enterprise situated at 648 Mill Creek College Street, Chicken-in-Hand, Pennsylvania;
  •  at its farm website, Miller’s had been slaughtering livestock or poultry, after which getting ready, processing, storing, and /or distributing meat, meat meals merchandise, and poultry merchandise;
  •  Miller’s meat, meat meals merchandise, and poultry merchandise offered for business functions and human consumption to shoppers in Pennsylvania and all through the US;
  •  federal inspection is required at such an institution that slaughters livestock or poultry after which prepares or processes amenable meat, meat meals merchandise, or poultry merchandise which can be able to use as human meals for interstate or overseas commerce until the institution qualifies for an exemption from federal inspection;
  •  Miller’s had been working its meat and poultry enterprise with no USDA-FSIS Federal Grant of Inspection and (with uncommon exception) with out taking its livestock and poultry for slaughter and processing to any federally inspected facility; and (f) defendants had not but modified Miller’s enterprise mannequin to aim to qualify for an exemption from federal inspection below the Acts for any a part of their operations

Meals security is essentially based mostly on voluntary compliance. As soon as regulators are sure that the best way to comply is known, the settlement to take action typically includes little greater than a handshake  If everybody performed the system the Amos Miller did, the entire system would grind to a halt.

You can not put sufficient meals security cops on the beat to police everybody, particularly if evildoers are in all places. We might be glad that’s not the case, however we may also be grateful that gifted investigators like  Paul Flanagan and Scott C. Safian. are on the job.

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